[personal profile] flexibeast
The Centre for a Stateless Society yesterday published an article of mine: "Statism as Disempowerment".

Date: 2014-01-02 11:09 (UTC)
From: [personal profile] winterkoninkje
Interesting stuff.

I'm all for direct community action, though I worry about the long-term feasibility of relying on it to establish something significantly different from the state. That is, in my experience, community engagement is always greatest when situated against the state (or the prevailing society more generally). More to the point, the greatness arising from community engagement is all too often embedded within the very statism you're rallying against. E.g., the action of Free Geek is only possible within a throwaway society. The communal praxis of Jews establishing insurance/loan support through the synagogue is of primary importance when members of that synagogue must regularly interact with outsiders. Etc. Communities that engage in direct action do so in large part because of personal bonds. Governance is boring and unrewarding work; few communities of direct action can survive growing the the point where they must govern themselves, because by then the personal bonds are too diffuse to maintain cohesion of the group. Let alone growing large enough to displace the state.

Date: 2014-01-03 05:11 (UTC)
From: [personal profile] winterkoninkje
All excellent points :)

I agree about the importance of allowing people to choose which governance they are beholden to. The lack of such an option is IMO one of the biggest problems with "the state" as it currently operates. My biggest complaint about the anarchistic approach to trying to fix this, is that —as mentioned above— things which work well for small communities tend to scale up very poorly. This is part of why communism works great on the scale of communes and co-ops, but fails miserably once you try it at the state level. (Even ignoring the totalitarian regimes calling themselves "communism" when they do not adhere to communistic ideals.) This problem of scale is too often overlooked, which is why I brought it up.

I agree about the infeasiblity of continuing the conurbation of humanity. I love me some cities, but they're also subject to issues of scale. As you mention, as the city grows (according to the way we currently construct "cities"), the demands for resources grow far more rapidly than the ability to satisfy them. The fundamental problem here can be understood as a problem in graph theory. To maximize communication (etc), we need a graph which has small diameter. However, in uniformly connected graphs the connections necessary for small diameter grow quadratically in the number of nodes. If the human brain were connected this way, it'd have to be the size of a football stadium! The only way to feasibly construct large networks with small diameter is to build them as scale-free graphs. While this argument is purely mathematical, it does coincide with the observation that we need to have many small(er) communities interacting with one another, rather than going for megacities. Unfortunately, even though this graph theory is well known in systems theory, informatics, and network sciences, I'm not aware of anyone actually applying it in political science or public policy.


flexibeast: Baphomet (Default)

Journal Tags

Style Credit

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios