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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Internet is an Example of Anarchy

A frequent criticism of anarchy is that there are no real-world examples of a functioning anarchy. I consider the Internet to be an example of a functioning real-world anarchy.

The Internet was designed to be a communications network that would withstand a nuclear attack. As such, it was highly decentralized. The protocol for the Internet is designed to be decentralized.

Even though the Internet is anarchistic, rogue sites aren't able to disrupt it. If you're an ISP that sends out a lot of spam, other sites will refuse to carry your traffic. This method has been SURPRISINGLY effective. The "spam site list" is maintained by a handful of techies who do a pretty good job. The "blocked spam site list" is not mandatory, although the custom is that everyone follows it. Since the "blocked spam site list" is not mandatory, the incentive is for the people maintaining it to do a good job. If they started abusing their power, then other people would start maintaining a competing "blocked spam site list". In this manner, an anarchistic society is MORE ORDERLY than one with a government, because someone who abuses their authority is replaced!

That is how people who misbehave will be disciplined in an agorist society. Someone who repeatedly cheats their trading partners will eventually find themselves unable to trade. In the present, government violence PROTECTS many people from the consequences of their misconduct. In many circumstances, if you are injured, pursuing justice in a government court is costly and ineffective.

The only centralized part of the Internet is the domain name registrar. Actually, this could have been implemented without a centralized registrar. Unfortunately, the registrars have a government-granted monopoly now. Fortunately, the price for registering a domain is cheap enough that the true cost is negligible.

In many ways, the Internet is TOO SUCCESSFUL. The red market is desperately looking for ways to censor or cripple the Internet. At the same time, the Internet has been one of the few areas of the economy that is growing. I predict that the bad guys will be unsuccessful in their attempt to ruin the Internet. I think the Supreme Leader of Humanity wants the Internet to exist, and it fits in with his plans.

Whenever someone says "There are no real-world examples of a functioning anarchy!", you can cite the Internet as a counter-example.

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