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[Nettime-bold] RE: Clay Shirkey on a Manhattan "Peace Park"...
R. A. Hettinga on Mon, 24 Sep 2001 18:32:48 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] RE: Clay Shirkey on a Manhattan "Peace Park"...

--- begin forwarded text

Status:  U
From: "Art Hutchinson" <cartegic {AT} mediaone.net>
To: <dcsb {AT} ai.mit.edu>
Subject: RE: Clay Shirkey on a Manhattan "Peace Park"...
Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2001 09:47:02 -0400
Sender: bounce-dcsb {AT} reservoir.com
Reply-To: "Art Hutchinson" <cartegic {AT} mediaone.net>

RAH wrote:

> I think, someday, we're going to have force without nation states,
> and that it will be cheaper, safer, and more peaceful that what we
> have now. More to the point, that it will enable more people to get
> more stuff cheaper. To actually live better, longer, happier, than
> they did before. That's progress.
> Someday, we'll have the ability to control assets and do finance
> without laws. I think, like most people on these lists, that internet
> financial cryptography will allow us to do exactly that. Until then,
> however, we control assets with laws, and that means force,
> monopolistic force in the form of a geographically bounded
> nation-state, and that means that when someone uses force in a
> fashion that pisses off the the entire planet -- except in places
> where children, from birth, are indoctrinated in patriarchical
> xenophobic racist totalitarianism -- some *nation-state* is
> responsible. Period.

What gives you such confidence that a bunch of free-floating
organizations, with solely financial motives, responsible only
to their shareholders and members, making their own laws, and
outside of the current nation-state structure won't also need to
appeal to force to survive?  Or that such force won't be mono-
polistic in other ways?  Or turned inward to keep "order"?  Or
that they can't easily finance themselves with market speculation,
kidnapping and extortion?  Or that they aren't already moving $$
around the world through what are effectively human-crypto on-
call 'bearer' instruments?  And how is it that the current state
structure is more monopolistic than the alternatives?  You have
plenty of choice today.  Many countries would gladly take you if
you asked.  Most people on this planet don't have that choice,
and they're starving in refugee camps as a result.

So consider the alternative 'endstates' in financial-crypto-
enabled world:

1) NGO's turn into de-facto nation states over time as they grow
in scale and complexity (Sealand being just a stalking horse for
an idea that barely touches the issues that a full-sized society
would need to deal with - raindrops and oceans *are* different)

2) NGO's as a system evolve to favor the most repressive, hostile,
and aggressive varieties over the benign liberty-loving types
There's this nettlesome fact - that Gibson would have us all
ignore - that physical mobility and location are absolutely
of prime relevance so long as I have a body.  99% of the world
can't just decide to uproot their family and hop on a plane to
switch insurance-company protectorates or tribes... Or if I do
stay in one place and they decide I'm too expensive to keep
protecting, I have no route of appeal. It's still a protection
racket, just with someone else in charge.  So why idealize it?
At least we have a constitution that's worked OK for >200 years,
rooted in other law that's been "market-tested" for almost 1000
years.  I'd trust that "software" (read: body of laws) over any
idealistic new set that someone might offer that's not yet even
in beta.

3) That the "good" NGO's hunker down in a myopic Wilson-esque
bunker whereby freedom for me is good enough, and the rest of the
world can rot... until the rest of the world comes knocking, as
it did on the 11th of Sept.  I seldom see a moral dimension in
any of these debates.  It's as if freedom were some kind of natural
default if government got out of the way.  Perhaps.  But history
doesn't offer much help in that regard.  Look at two of the places
in the world today  where the nation-state is weakest, or at least
very much on the run compared to here - Colombia and Somalia.
Neither example gives me much faith that NGO's will be happy,
peaceful or vibrant.  It's not an assertion but a fact that kid-
napping and murder become profit-centers in such an environment.
And why not?  Anyone with assets becomes a target, regardless of
how cleverly those assets are concealed with crypto.  Once they
have a gun to my head, my wife and my insurance company will gladly
withdraw my digital bearer instruments from my offshore accounts
in order to get me back - or at least I hope so.  ;-)

Yes there is a cost to exporting freedom, and to living under a
state structure, and no, the USA doesn't have a perfect track
record of doing so even-handedly.  But where else do you see it
coming from?  It strains credulity to see how the liberty we all
love just wells up and spreads as soon as we (along with the thugs)
all have strong crypto.  It doesn't take a lot of imagination to
envision some much nastier places this could all end up.

- Art

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--- end forwarded text

R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah {AT} ibuc.com>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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