The fact is, should we be able to push a button and suddenly render Earth a government-free planet, the first order of business wealthy, well-connected, well-organized individuals will do is band together to create gangs, then mafias, then governments, then supranational blocs, until they then move on to pursue global hegemony as they chaff against competing factions doing likewise – entrapping the rest of us within their self-serving struggle.
This of course does not render void the ideology of agorism or anarchy. Neither does it negate the positive, practical aspects of the modern nation-state. What it does is illustrate a matter of practicality versus principles and the necessity to balance them realistically.
Might Makes Right
The above scenario unfolds the way it demonstrably does on a daily basis and since the beginning of time because wealthy, well-connected, well-organized individuals are able to successfully hone and wield the tools of physical force better than any of their competitors.
Imagining again the scenario where the world is suddenly rendered government-free, these individuals would simply eliminate by force those attempting to impose upon them limitations preventing them from imposing their will involuntarily upon others.
Without a sufficient means of deterrence, gangs, mafias, governments, and supranational blocs will run roughshod over any and all who stand between them and greater wealth and influence.
Balance of Power
To prevent a gang, mafia, government, or supranational bloc from expanding further, it requires an equal but opposed center of organized power arrayed against it.
Imagining the scenario where the world is suddenly rendered government-free, in order to prevent wealthy, well-connected, well-organized individuals from imposing their will upon others, an equitable balance of power would need to be established.
This could entail various means of decentralization where individuals were able to possess equal but opposed means of self-defense, monetary exchange, manufacturing, communication, energy production, and all other essentials currently monopolized by the world’s existing centers of power.
Decentralization is Already Happening
In many ways this is already happening. Decentralization is unfolding on various levels. On a global level, competing centers of power are multiplying.
The United States is no longer the sole global hegemon as it was after the end of the Cold War.
Russia has reemerged, China is rising, the other nations of BRICS are increasingly competing across a broad spectrum of socioeconomic, military, and geopolitical areas. Developing nations are individually and collectively asserting national and regional sovereignty not enjoyed since before the Age of Empires.
Technology has made it possible for these nations to create their own alternatives to monopolies only the largest global superpowers had the resources to possess. This includes aircraft manufacturing, aerospace engineering, energy production, monetary exchange, medicine, and all other aspects of modern civilization.
Within any given nation, large economic monopolies are facing greater, more diverse, and distributed competition from individuals and small start-ups also leveraging technology to do today what it took armies of workers and mountains of capital to do decades ago.
The alternative media is one example of this. The organic food industry taking on established agricultural monopolies is another.
Don’t Let Ideology Obstruct Necessary Transitions
Before you can have an agorist or anarchist utopia, global hegemony must transform into global competition. Competing supranational blocs must give way to competing independent nation-states, and independent nation-states must give way to decentralized states and eventually increasing levels of localization and individualism.
None of it can be done overnight, and none of it can be done without the necessary prerequisites being fulfilled beforehand.
This does not mean that one must support a government in principle. It means, however, that for practical purposes, we must support what blocs, governments, and various special interests represent in terms of creating an equitable balance of power and fulfilling the prerequisites needed to make this transition.
For example, a military-led government took power in the Southeast Asian state of Thailand. The government it replaced was a client regime organized and installed into power with US support. The United States had expanded its hegemony nearly to the other side of the planet. The military-led government – however unappealing it is in principle – in practice has pushed back a global hegemony at the cost of becoming a national hegemony.
In Thailand, however, the government lacks the ability to dominate society in the same scope and to the same degree as the US-backed client regime had. Within Thailand, the ability to decentralize is not only possible and being pursued, it is actually encouraged in many ways by many within the current government and the special interests within Thailand that the current government represents.
In other aspects, because of opposing special interests within Thailand itself, centralization is being encouraged. Preventing the return of a US client regime is essential, and so is contesting those favoring centralization. It is a delicate balance that must be struck – with principles as a guide, but practicality as a priority.
Unequivocally opposing the current Thai government simply undermines its ability to obstruct supranational interests from reasserting themselves. However, the current government does not require unequivocal support – it simply needs support for the few aspects it is actually providing a benefit to in terms of making the transition from globalization to localization and individualism.
Ideological Purists are Still Needed
During a transition, it is not impossible for those who believe in an agorist or anarchist future to find themselves overly invested in “practicality” at the cost of principles.
For agorism in particular, where free market solutions are seen as a vector toward a better tomorrow, it is easy for an individual who has accrued wealth, power, and influence to become part of the problem rather than the solution. Ideological purists help pull these individuals out of their ruts and back toward their original, ideological destination.
Take SpaceX and Tesla’s Elon Musk who has often said that virtually every problem we face as a civilization has a free market solution. Musk’s popularity and prominence is owed to his ability to put purpose before profits – but still make profits. However, in theory, it would not be difficult for him to forsake purpose for profits and find himself the head of companies blindly chasing quarterly earnings for shareholders rather than accomplishing his original, nobler goals.
Ideological purists – and not simply those who are critics, bloggers, and commentators – but the very customers and investors involved in his companies encourage Musk to continue prioritizing purpose before profits. Should at any time Musk fail to do this, these ideological purists will open the door of opportunity for the “next Musk,” the “next SpaceX,” and the “next Tesla.”
There already is a free market – and those who currently dominate human civilization used that freedom to accrue for themselves unwarranted power and influence at the cost of the majority.
We must understand that while the “state” is a human construct, it is backed up by very real physical force, economic monopolies, financial domination, and industrial might. The only way to secure our own place within the existing free market, is to diminish these advantages through establishing an incremental balance of power between blocs, states, within states, and eventually between individuals.
Do this by creating alternatives to the current monopolies of money and industry, redistributing the current concentration of power, wealth, and influence through localized entrepreneurship.
The cost in the free market for organized individuals to impose their will upon others is not only minimal, it is profitable. Remove the profit and increase the cost, and this involuntary imposition of will becomes nearly impossible.
The Land Destroyer Report is maintained by Tony Cartalucci, an independent American geopolitical analyst based in Thailand.