Full Title or Meme
Anarchy is pretty much the best antonym for the Rule of Law.
The early proponents of the World Wide Web (WWW) were attracted to the possibilities it provided for Anarchy. Even when they admit the need for Ethics.
- Information wants to be Free. John Perry Barlow perhaps quoting Stewart Brand. But the people that create information want to be paid for their efforts. A Movie can easily cost $100 Million Dollars, who pays for that?
- In the absence of the old containers, almost everything we think we know about intellectual property is wrong. We're going to have to unlearn it. We're going to have to look at information as though we'd never seen the stuff before.
- The protections that we will develop will rely far more on ethics and technology than on law.
- Encryption will be the technical basis for most intellectual property protection. (And should, for many reasons, be made more widely available.)
- The economy of the future will be based on relationship rather than possession. It will be continuous rather than sequential.
- In the years to come, most human exchange will be virtual rather than physical, consisting not of stuff but the stuff of which dreams are made. Our future business will be conducted in a world made more of verbs than nouns.
- While I believe that the failure of law will almost certainly result in a compensating re-emergence of ethics as the ordering template of society, this is a belief I don't have room to support here.
- What Is It About Peter Thiel?
In 1998, Peter Theil met a young cryptographer, Max Levchin, and invested in his startup. Within a year, Thiel was the C.E.O. of Levchin’s company, Confinity, which offered a money-transfer service called PayPal. For Thiel, the service had revolutionary potential: a digital wallet, he said, could lead to “the erosion of the nation-state.”
- Ethics certainly appears to be necessary to human society to stabilize, but it only works to constrain behavior when there is something like shaming in a small town to enforce it or law in a large town to enforce it.
- John Perry Barlow's faith in human nature seems to have been misplaced. Without law or shame humans seem to revert to the law of the jungle. This is the common behavior when central authority fails, ethics inevitable fails as well. One clear example of this is the lawless behavior in all of Europe after the Roman Empire failed.
- It has become evident that Ethics is not effective on the World Wide Web. In 2021 Francis Haugen told the U.S. Congress Facebook knowingly served content containing hate speech and misinformation to its users, since that increased engagement. And human appear to be willing to accept dishonest advice, especially when it comes from a machine.
- Consider the tensions create when crypto NFTs became a thing to be traded. Only the technology protected the NFT, but what about copies? The company "Open Sea" became huge by have no rules or fees from anyone to post an NFT. Pretty soon copies of any valuable work were everywhere. The value of a NFT became minimal. Since this was not good for business, the company tried to institute rules against copying. The backlash was fierce and the rules were relaxed. Ethics has no value here, the solution remains elusive. The balance between ethical behavior and accepted behavior is up in the air for not only Open Sea, but the entire digital Ecosystem.
See the wiki page on The Internet as Spoiled Child for more examples of bad behavior online.
The only solution found so far to the lawless behavior of Anarchy is a strong central government.
- John Perry Barlow The Economy of Ideas Wired Magazine (1994-03-01) https://www.wired.com/1994/03/economy-ideas/
- Logan Kuger, Technology's Impact on Morality CACM 65 No 4 p 15
- Gian M. Volpicelli, Chimp Change Wired Magazine (2022-04) pp 12-13