"[T]here are, at bottom, basically two ways to order social affairs, Coercively, through the mechanisms of the state -- what we can call political society. And voluntarily, through the private interaction of individuals and associations -- what we can call civil society. ... In a civil society, you make the decision. In a political society, someone else does. ... Civil society is based on reason, eloquence, and persuasion, which is to say voluntarism. Political society, on the other hand, is based on force." ~ Ed Crane
The 'Singapore' Factor: Towards Anarchy and the Market Order
A proper definition of anarchy is: 1) the absence of government, and 2) a political theory opposed to government.
That begs the question, "what is government?" Government is the POLITICAL means of social organisation and control - the political means of imposing order.
Anarchy does not mean NO order, it simply means no "political" order.
You can have order without a government--as in the way a company is run. If you work for Microsoft, or Ford, then you are working for an organisation. It is orderly. There are rules. The big difference is that you do not have to work for such a company if it is not to your liking. But once you sign on to it, you must either abide by its internal regulations or resign (or be fired). In other words, order--but not by government, by mutual consent.
Similarly, if you have purchased an apartment in a large complex, then you will have run into what is sometimes called the Body Corporate. Essentially, most freehold residential complexes are run by elected representatives of the owners--who set various rules and regulations to produce the best outcomes for those who live there.
Once again, there is order--but no government.
Government is the POLITICAL means of achieving order. The market is the VOLUNTARY means of achieving order.
The political process is entirely different from the market process. In a political order the power derives from the use of force. In a market order the power derives from the voluntary consent of the participants.
So, to use the Body Corporate analogy again, if you buy a condo in a classy complex--which has the rule that you cannot make undue noise after 11 p.m.--then the Body Corporate will enforce those rules. However, you agreed to them when you first purchased your property, as part of the contract you entered into.
It is this important element of "agreement" that is missing in the political ordering of things. Things happen WITHOUT your agreement. And they happen to YOU!
Oh sure, this is glossed over by reference to voting every three or four years. But this is a joke obviously, because you know that even if you vote, it makes no difference--especially if who you voted for doesn't gain power. Political voting is a charade, designed to give the cloak of respectability to an otherwise thoroughly despicable practice--rule by the mob.
And you certainly didn't enter into any "contract" with your existing nation of birth. Socialists like to talk of the "social contract," but that's just a red herring. To be born somewhere is a complete accident on your part, and cannot be construed as some sort of contract.
Political order is ultimately the rule of brute force. Market order is ultimately the rule of agreement and contract.
But what if someone reneges on an agreement or contract? In a market order, such situations would be resolved by arbitration and enforced, if necessary, by resort to various agents of the arbitration company.
When it comes to getting things done in this world, the verdict is already in. The market order delivers the goods in easily verifiable abundance, whereas the political order fails miserably. Soviet Russia and Maoist China, as the most extreme versions of the political order, presented irrefutable evidence of this fact.
Just one visit to your local supermarket should disabuse you of any notion that the government could do it better. Or another example: Who would you trust to manufacture your next new computer--the government or a company of your own choosing?
One of the perennial rebuttals of anarchy--or no political order--is that when push comes to shove, a third party must be able to intervene to enforce contracts and civil behaviour, if the parties to such an agreement cannot resolve a dispute. And in a market order society, this would be done by the private agents of law and order--including insurance and security companies and private arbitration courts.
The sceptic will then say that this would lead to multiple jurisdictions--where you may have your own legal environment and I may have mine--and never the twain shall meet.
But this is a straw man argument--because we already have a working model of such competing jurisdictions in the world today. I'm talking about the world community of nations. Each nation is a sovereign jurisdiction--and a crime in one may not be a crime in another. However, when it comes to major crimes, you'd be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't) how different nations and cultures agree--as in response to murder, rape and robbery, for example.
Nations get over this "problem" of different jurisdictions by setting up various forms of cooperation--a perfectly natural thing to do. That's why we have such things as extradition orders, Interpol etc.
If you are truly against the "anarchy" of multiple sovereign nation states--then you have nowhere to go, except to endorse and work for a WORLD government. Just one government. Just one jurisdiction.
Sure, there are many supporters of world government. But I believe that no thinking freedom lover would countenance such an idea. Why? Because a WORLD government would be a magnification of all the bad things that arise from government. Things like graft and corruption; inefficiency; incompetence, cronyism; inertia; and the sheer horror of having nowhere else to run, should you be targeted for any reason whatsoever. And I haven't even mentioned taxes!
But that's the choice. Either we "progress" to the logical endpoint of political governance--World Government--or we think outside the square and start to question the very notion of political order itself.
Just as the worst scenario is for us to move to a world state, the best scenario is for states to actually become smaller and smaller. This would increase the effective competition between states, and make possible the introduction of a true market order.
The template for such a type of order is already in place--the corporation. And by that I mean a company made up of CEO, board of directors and shareholders.
As an interesting aside, it's worth noting that Hong Kong's political leader is actually called Chief Executive Officer. A sign of things to come, perhaps?
The successful city-states of the world (including Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Monaco, Liechtenstein, and certain existing tax havens, etc.) point to a new way of doing things. They are small enough to be flexible in this fast changing age. They are small enough to be responsive to the actual wishes of people. They are small enough to get things done. And interestingly enough, they are all low tax jurisdictions--meaning they are fundamentally more competitive than the behemoth "old world" nation states--like the USA, UK, France, Germany, etc.
In fact, both Singapore and Dubai present an even closer model to the idea of a "corporation." Both have been created by the vision and single-mindedness of individuals--benevolent "dictators" if you will. Perhaps they were precursors of the CEOs of the city states of the future.
Imagine this FUTURE scenario:
You are an IT professional and have been considering seeing the world while you work. So you check out the many citizenship opportunities on offer. Basically, they mostly work the same--if you purchase a property in a particular city state, then you not only gain citizenship, but also become a shareholder. And if you don't want to become a citizen, you can always just become a resident, by taking out a lease on an existing property.
The internet has specific search engines designed for citizenship and residency searches, where you can do in-depth analysis of what each city state has to offer, and the cost of entry. It's fascinating stuff--like shopping for a new house or car!
These rapidly expanding city states are the "talk of the town." Not only do they have very low or non-existent levies, they also offer real benefits--and come in all flavours. But more importantly, they are causing a revolution in the way people think of themselves--and the very notion of "nations."
The economic impact of the emerging city states has been profound and has literally caused other old-world states to sit up and take notice. They can't afford not to--as they've witnessed an ever-growing "brain drain" to these upstart micro-nations.
The engine of their success is their very smallness, their economic management and style of leadership. Each of these city states is run like a modern corporation--with a CEO, CFO, Board of Directors--and with every property owner as a shareholder.
No more "elections" like in the old days--where politics was the name of the game, with different parties promising to benefit various segments of the population. This way of doing things had economically ruined the old world, which came crashing down in the wake of the "Great Crash of 2007." That was when the USA defaulted on its immense indebtedness and dragged the rest of the world into a widespread economic collapse.
It was like the Berlin Wall coming down. Suddenly, the pent-up frustrations of millions of people was released. New ways of doing things seemed the order of the day--and those nations which had remained solvent, small and flexible were first off the starting blocks of a true "new world order"--the market order.
Suddenly, politics, like socialism before it, was reviled and blamed for all the misery. People, looking for a new way forward, simply had to look with their eyes, as nimble city states surged forward--putting in place new ways of governance, and new ways for people to economically prosper. Being a shareholder of such a state was a vastly more inviting prospect than being a tax slave of some economic basket case!
It was like attracting bees to a honey pot. The motivated, able, talented of the world saw the advantages immediately--and from the ashes of the collapsed nation states rose the phoenix of the new world.
Of course, the "old" nations took some while to readjust--being monolithic and overly large--like dinosaurs from a previous age. But once their inhabitants got wind of what was going on in the world, the demand for immediate decentralisation got under way.
The USA reverted to its separate states--with the collapse of the federal government. And moreover, within such states, various cities peeled off on their own.
Europe was the same. The machinery of the EU simply could not compete with the economic tigers of the "new" world--and reverted back to its individual components, and then again into smaller units. It was the same the world over. Some countries tried to hold it together, with political repression and violence. But their cause was lost, and it was only a matter of time before the tide of history swept the old power structures away.
It was like a tsunami, flushing out all the dross from the chaos of the so-called democratic age of the nation states. One minute there were presidents, prime ministers, parliaments, dictators, and other assorted political parasites. Next minute they were out of a job--with nowhere to go. It happened that fast.
Meanwhile, your internet search is turning up some interesting possibilities. In fact, the choice is quite overwhelming. So you simply home in on what sort of things you like to do, what sort of culture you want to mingle with, and what sort of work opportunities you want to get involved with.
You find a great "rent-to-buy" opportunity in Dubai, which will allow you immediate residency and benefits, with the future option to buy the property you were renting--if you wanted to become a shareholder/citizen. This way, at least, you can test the waters of this booming city state and decide if it is for you in the long term. And if it isn't, no problem, back to that internet search again.
Yes, the future looks bright--and the world is literally your oyster!
And back to the present.
The political order is crumbling. The cracks are showing. The fingers are in the dikes--attempting to thwart the inevitable. And those with a vested interest in the status quo are working their big fat arses off to ensure their snouts remain in the public trough. But it's only a matter of time.