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I reserve the right to be wrong.

Progress in the human civilisation sense is the progress from primitive pastoralism to modern relative affluence and onwards to absolute affluence in the future, a time that will resemble The Jetsons or Star Trek. Let's look today at some ways in which anarchy has always been with us, and some encroaching ways in which we are discovering its fruits and its merits. First, let's lean out...


So, Lean. It's a way of organising an enterprise to eliminate waste, and redefines waste to mean anything that doesn't add value for the end user / customer. By funny coincidence the condition it creates, that of increasing business responsiveness to changing demands, makes the lean enterprise just a little more anarchic than the non-lean enterprise.

Responsiveness is an anarchic quality, as evidenced by the yawning gap in responsiveness between, say, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs on the one hand, and Apple or Gap or Google on the other. Private services will adapt to suit you in ways that state services will not, because the private service providers fear abandonment, and the state ones do not.

Lean is a difficult practice to introduce without profit and loss, supply and demand, and price, which is why any government attempt to introduce lean methodology into its working practices is laudable but of questionable value. First, when you want to undertake a root cause analysis, how will you know where the waste is and is not?

Without the anarchy of a market of customers on one side and a market of suppliers on the other, the organisation will have serious trouble getting to grips with such a methodology. Sure, some stuff might work, like working on user experience, but even that labour of love will be impaired in its effectiveness by the simple fact that you can't identify when people truly want your product and when they want someone else's.

Lean is actually a pretty tame example. If you really want to see the fruits of anarchism in daily life, you need to leap out of the enterprise and its processes to the customers and the neato stuff they get to play with in their lives today, not to mention how playtime has changed over the years.


News travels fast. But was it always so?

Communication over distance and extended time  has grown not only faster over the years, but ever more accessible to more and more people.


Autocracy means everybody abides by the un-asked for decisions of one powerful person or a few powerful people. Democracy means everybody abides by the un-asked for decisions of a few powerful people who were previously elected by everybody, generally by bribing everybody they could with whatever freebies they could think of*. Anarchy means the absence of this pointless political machinery in the first place.

That's pretty much the low-down on the difference between anarchy and the state. The state - more specifically, the government - is simply a big abrogator of morality and ethics, endowed with a legal monopoly on violence against its citizens, a situation which reduces all of us to little more than tax livestock.

We are regularly sheared and milked, with no say in when these things happen to us, and we are occasionally slaughtered too, if our tax farmers happen to disagree with the farmers over on another farm, or if we ourselves behave disagreeably. So this unit of livestock asks one little thing; abolish government.

Of course there is a more elemental, more simple and true form of anarchy at work every day of our lives, and in fact it's a part of our lives that we value deeply.


So what in real life is voluntary? Choice in personal life. Ding! Beat that, Statists! But apart from choice of friends, lovers, where to shop, where to live, what cafe or bar or nightclub to frequent, what car to buy, and what career to pursue...

Well, there is the Internet Society, the W3C, BSI Group, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the International Electrotechnical Commission, the International Organisation for Standardisation, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, and any NGO-style standards organisations out there.

Examples of actual standards arrived at through voluntary co-operation, not state coercion, include the British Standard Whitworth, the bevy of railway guages, and pretty much all standards governed by the bodies above.

This means, in practice, international standardisation of parts for the convenience of all market participants. Even Apple uses Intel x86 processors these days.

On top of this, progress in areas of human well-being has come about as a result of voluntary agreement between equals. I am referring to the improvement of working conditions in American and British factories in the late 19th century.

Even this Alternet article, though critical of working hours today and failing to account for why they are high, explains decently where the 40-hour working week comes from, the interplay of employers and unions in wage and hours bargaining, not the government and its working week laws.

Those laws just mean that people going over the 40 hour mark are breaking the law and can be fined, arrested, imprisoned, tried, and subsequently treated to the delights of gang-rape, shivving, constant fear and mind-numbing monotony that come with being in the can. No thanks.

So personal life is almost exclusively anarchistic; family life is almost exclusively anarchistic; standardisation of safety warnings is almost exclusively anarchistic; formulation and adherence to development standards is almost exclusively anarchistic; the web is almost exclusively anarchistic; pretty much everything except statutory lawmaking, military power projection, policing, healthcare and education accessibility and cost, and the creation of red tape for everybody to negotiate.

If those state reserves really seem so damned incredible, I defy the dear reader to illuminate why they are better than their alternative, freedom for two people or two groups to voluntarily contract or not contract with one another. Enjoy life!

* Course, there's no such thing as a free lunch. All those promises have to be made good or the politician can't get re-elected. And the government, which is a cabal of politicians, must agree on which promises to make good on and which ones not to. The money will be found through tax, borrowing, or printing money.

On the next ecomony blogtime; everything is orange! Help!


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