Anarchists

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CoalPoweredPuppet CoalPoweredPuppet's picture
Anarchists

I am trying to get something right in my head. My players are heading to an Anarchists habitat and things aren't meshing in my imagination.

In the book (Second Edition) the Anarchists are treated as a kind of utopia, with everyone coming together to survive and prosper. Nanofabs and other high tech devices being used to fulfill all the needs and wants of everyone on board, and no one goes without. But what few examples shown in the book (page 145) seem...lacking. It appears that a whole anarchist habitat is a few hundred people just coasting by, finding quick, odd jobs to make enough rep to score the next dose of fun. There is no planning, or long term goals, or preparation for emergencies. No mention of trash or equipment out of repair, no failed systems, or people being "poor" (because they are unlikable, unpleasant, or made the wrong crowd angry). There is no...struggle, I guess? To live.

I'm not critiquing the mindset- I'm trying see the setting.

Is this utopia because nanofabs are just everywhere? Maybe with all of the minerals out in space, they can just make what they need? What about emergencies, like a micrometeorite punches through the hull and the greenhouses are killed? Are there stored food supplies (product of planning), or can the nanofabs be reassigned for food? Is recycling built into the system, so if you throw your trash away proper you get a microscopic bonus to your rep?

What happens if Bill makes the best space bike and doesn't like Suzy? Can Suzy spend her rep to force Bill to make her a bike (this is against the idea of putting one's will on another yet inline with the rule of majority)? What if Suzy got all of her friends to push the issue? If Janice is a popular blogger, what keeps her from using her popularity to become a demagogue-defacto-leader? What stops mobs from making all the decisions?

I read somewhere that a human can handle "knowing" around 120 people, and everyone else fall into a kind of "stranger" category. With everyone connected via the mesh, I would assume in-person "knowing" would be much lower than it is now, and most of the people you physically meet are strangers to you. In the mesh, you hang out with people that are similar to you, so strangers would be weird ones, and since all your friends think in the same (broadly speaking) way...why whats to stop some one from just being a jerk to strangers (say, on a bad day)? What happens when the way you chat with your friends is considered rude when used on strangers?

I understand Scum Swarms, I think. They are flying trailer parks one disaster away from destroying themselves and are having a blast doing so. But the calmer, more collected Anarchists are throwing me for a loop.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
I think the answer to your

I think the answer to your question is the same as to how hypercorps work ---- Advanced Technology.

Hypercorps are lean and mean. They can be run by a handful of people (or even no one) using ALIs, forking, blueprints, software, freelancers, etc. Hypercorps can also have physical presence and grow quickly by buying or renting nanofabbers, robots, physical bodies, and so on. They are not above exploiting indentured workers.

I think Anarchism function because technology allows for a post scarcity economy, a situation that covers most needs and some luxuries, so no one has to fear running out of things like food. Technology allows for automated management of favors, so no one has to figure out how much butter is worth a gun (or some other exchange). Nearly everything on an Anarchist hab belongs to the community, so fabbers, blueprints, and software is free for all. No one has to pay a premium to use. Anarchists are also discouraged from being stagnant by not allowing people to grow fat off this one thing they made or did ages ago. If someone has a serious problem with someone else, they suffer for it (dinged rep).

I'll go review what I know about Anarchism. I'm not sure I fully understand it either.

chaos_forge chaos_forge's picture
First off, if you want to

First off, if you want to know more about anarchist space, I highly recommend you check out Rimward. It's a 1e book, but it's mostly fluff so it's compatible with 2e. Also I'm not sure if you've read the New Political Economy chapter (starting on page 136) but if you haven't, you definitely should. Anyways, moving on to specific concerns:

CoalPoweredPuppet wrote:
It appears that a whole anarchist habitat is a few hundred people just coasting by, finding quick, odd jobs to make enough rep to score the next dose of fun. There is no planning, or long term goals, or preparation for emergencies. No mention of trash or equipment out of repair, no failed systems, or people being "poor" (because they are unlikable, unpleasant, or made the wrong crowd angry). There is no...struggle, I guess? To live.

Anarchism is based on the principle of mutual aid. I help you, you help me, and we're all better off for it. So for collective projects like maintenance or repair, the idea is everyone will work together to do those jobs since they're smart enough to realize that it needs to be done in order for them (and everyone else) to be better off. There aren't people who are struggling just to get by, yes. That's on purpose. Everyone deserves the necessities of life. However, if you want anything beyond that, there is a possibility that unpopularity might have an impact. Check out "An Immigrant's Story" on page 142 (actually, you might want to read through the entire section on the new economy). So if people aren't struggling just to get by, what do they work for? Well, in the words of Jean-Luc Picard, they work to better themselves, and the rest of humanity.

CoalPoweredPuppet wrote:
What happens if Bill makes the best space bike and doesn't like Suzy? Can Suzy spend her rep to force Bill to make her a bike (this is against the idea of putting one's will on another yet inline with the rule of majority)? What if Suzy got all of her friends to push the issue? If Janice is a popular blogger, what keeps her from using her popularity to become a demagogue-defacto-leader? What stops mobs from making all the decisions?

Well, Suzy can't "spend" her rep, because rep isn't spent. You just have it. Rep is, essentially, a measure how much of a good neighbor you are. If you're known to be someone who helps people when they need it, then people will be more willing to help you, because they know they can count on you to reciprocate the favor in the future. You can't use your rep to make anyone do anything for you, because that's not how it works.

What stops mobs from making all the decisions in any democracy? I would say the simple fact that people are capable of thinking for themselves. Especially in a society where people have the education and time to investigate matters, and information is free (as in, both libre and gratis), lies and demagoguery are easy to expose for what they are. That doesn't mean there's no possibility for cliquishness or informal hierarchies. Of course there's a risk. No system is perfect.

CoalPoweredPuppet wrote:
I read somewhere that a human can handle "knowing" around 120 people, and everyone else fall into a kind of "stranger" category. With everyone connected via the mesh, I would assume in-person "knowing" would be much lower than it is now, and most of the people you physically meet are strangers to you. In the mesh, you hang out with people that are similar to you, so strangers would be weird ones, and since all your friends think in the same (broadly speaking) way...why whats to stop some one from just being a jerk to strangers (say, on a bad day)? What happens when the way you chat with your friends is considered rude when used on strangers?

This is the function that rep serves. I think it might help you to start thinking of rep as a "neighborliness score" instead of as a form of currency. If you have a bunch of people dinging you for being a jerk, your rep is gonna start taking a nosedive.

ICU2 ICU2's picture
So what is the defining

So what is the defining difference between anarchists and scum? I think the former are more community-minded while the later are more about the individual choice (without being about acquiring/hoarding wealth and without stepping on others). Is this correct?

The ones that really confuse me are the mutualist Extropians. They are essentially anarchists that still use money, and... what else? Of course, the anarcho-capitalist Extropians might be said to be scum that use money (and contracts, lots of contracts).

chaos_forge chaos_forge's picture
ICU2 wrote:So what is the

ICU2 wrote:
So what is the defining difference between anarchists and scum? I think the former are more community-minded while the later are more about the individual choice (without being about acquiring/hoarding wealth and without stepping on others). Is this correct?

The way I usually think about it is that Scum are basically just anarchists who really like to party. They're less heavy on the ideology and political stuff, and more heavy on the freedom to do whatever they want (as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else).

ICU2 wrote:
The ones that really confuse me are the mutualist Extropians. They are essentially anarchists that still use money, and... what else? Of course, the anarcho-capitalist Extropians might be said to be scum that use money (and contracts, lots of contracts).

Extropians are more like space libertarians. Instead of being focused on mutual aid and cooperation, they're focused on competition and every person looking out only for their own interests. So while they both call themselves anarchist, they're actually quite different. Mutualists are sort of like trying to have a middle ground between ancaps and anarchists. Some cooperation, but also some competition.

ICU2 ICU2's picture
chaos_forge wrote:Mutualists

chaos_forge wrote:
Mutualists are sort of like trying to have a middle ground between ancaps and anarchists. Some cooperation, but also some competition.

I read that the competition isn't really there with mutualists--that's a prime difference between them and the anarcho-capitalists--as they enjoy the market without seeking to make a profit. I don't quite know what that is supposed to look like. The main difference between them and the anarchists (aka anarcho-communists) is that the mutualists still believe in private property. That, of course, seems weird to me because how can you acquire private property under the Extropian system without profit?
CoalPoweredPuppet CoalPoweredPuppet's picture
Still struggling

Quote:
Well, Suzy can't "spend" her rep, because rep isn't spent. You just have it. Rep is, essentially, a measure how much of a good neighbor you are. If you're known to be someone who helps people when they need it, then people will be more willing to help you, because they know they can count on you to reciprocate the favor in the future. You can't use your rep to make anyone do anything for you, because that's not how it works.

Maybe I'm not getting and understanding of Rep, then. Well, no, I am definitely not understanding Rep. Rep is tracked on a computer, right? Some one comes to you for a favor, and you check there rep score. If its high enough- and everyone says he is cool- you do that favor and earn some rep yourself. How does rep work when its people you know? Can they cut you a "deal" to grant you a favor that your score doesn't normally allow? Can they refuse you, because they are a jealous ex and want you to suffer?
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What stops mobs from making all the decisions in any democracy? I would say the simple fact that people are capable of thinking for themselves. Especially in a society where people have the education and time to investigate matters, and information is free (as in, both libre and gratis), lies and demagoguery are easy to expose for what they are.

I see know that by asking my question, I opened up a thread I don't want to go chase. I'll just say I dislike mobs because they turn intelligent, well educated people who are used to thinking for themselves in to idiot monsters reacting only to the simplest of emotions. In my game, there will be some folks in an anarchist hab whose job is to remain separate from groups and keep a cool head. Or have an emotionless ALI run some heavy logic tests before major descions, or something.
chaos_forge chaos_forge's picture
CoalPoweredPuppet wrote:Maybe

CoalPoweredPuppet wrote:
Maybe I'm not getting and understanding of Rep, then. Well, no, I am definitely not understanding Rep. Rep is tracked on a computer, right? Some one comes to you for a favor, and you check there rep score. If its high enough- and everyone says he is cool- you do that favor and earn some rep yourself. How does rep work when its people you know? Can they cut you a "deal" to grant you a favor that your score doesn't normally allow? Can they refuse you, because they are a jealous ex and want you to suffer?

Rep is like if you could give people reviews. If you're helpful and friendly, people will give you good reviews and when you ask strangers for help, they'll see you have good reviews and be more willing to help you out. But it doesn't do anything. It doesn't mediate exchanges in any way. It's just information. You can be friends with someone with low rep, just like you can like a restaurant with bad reviews. You can refuse someone with super high rep a favor because you don't like the cut of their jib, or you can do a huge favor to someone with low rep because you took sympathy on them. You can do whatever you want. Rep just tells you what other people think of that person. Rep is everyone saying the guy coming to you for a favor is cool. That's all it is.

CoalPoweredPuppet wrote:
I see know that by asking my question, I opened up a thread I don't want to go chase. I'll just say I dislike mobs because they turn intelligent, well educated people who are used to thinking for themselves in to idiot monsters reacting only to the simplest of emotions. In my game, there will be some folks in an anarchist hab whose job is to remain separate from groups and keep a cool head. Or have an emotionless ALI run some heavy logic tests before major descions, or something.

I mean, I could argue that the idea that democracy will inevitably result in mob rule is flawed and point out that there are plenty of real-life organizations that maintain a horizontal structure without descending into chaos, such as worker cooperatives like Mondragon (which employs 75,000 people), volunteer organizations like Food Not Bombs (which has more than 400 chapters worldwide), or self-help groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (which is estimated to have 2 million members).

But ultimately, you just have to accept that it's a fundamental premise of the setting that horizontal self-organization doesn't inevitably descend into mob rule. Or you could not accept it, and change the setting. Whatever floats your boat. I'm not the cops.

Again, that doesn't mean there can't be any problems with cliquishness or mob mentality. No society is perfect. Our current society is pretty damn far from perfect too. All you have to accept is that it works well enough to not collapse (which is a pretty low bar, all things considered) and for at least some percentage of people to want to live in such a society.

ICU2 wrote:
I read that the competition isn't really there with mutualists--that's a prime difference between them and the anarcho-capitalists--as they enjoy the market without seeking to make a profit. I don't quite know what that is supposed to look like. The main difference between them and the anarchists (aka anarcho-communists) is that the mutualists still believe in private property. That, of course, seems weird to me because how can you acquire private property under the Extropian system without profit?

I mean it's kinda hard to have markets without competition, so I don't see how that would be possible. Mutualists definitely believe in competition. What they don't believe in, actually, is private property (using the traditional definition of the term, ie property that you don't use yourself but rather rent out or hire people to work on). Mutualists don't believe the means of production (natural resources, land, fabrication equipment, etc) should be privately owned by individuals, but instead communally owned through worker co-ops. But they still believe in exchanging goods through a market.

As for profit, that depends on what you mean by profit. You're not allowed to profit off of other people's work, or off of stuff you don't use. So no being a landlord, or business owner, or stuff like that. But you are allowed to profit off of your own work. So if you (or your worker cooperative) make a product, you can definitely sell that for a profit. Basically, Mutualists believe you should only be allowed to make a profit off of the work you do yourself.

ICU2 ICU2's picture
chaos_forge wrote:Mutualists

chaos_forge wrote:
Mutualists don't believe the means of production (natural resources, land, fabrication equipment, etc) should be privately owned by individuals, but instead communally owned through worker co-ops. But they still believe in exchanging goods through a market.

This somewhat contradicts the wikipedia article on Mutualism, which says: "As libertarian socialists, they have distinguished mutualism from state socialism and do not advocate state control over the means of production. Instead, each person possesses a means of production, either individually or collectively, with trade representing equivalent amounts of labor in the free market.[1] Benjamin Tucker said of Proudhon that "though opposed to socializing the ownership of capital, he aimed nevertheless to socialize its effects by making its use beneficial to all instead of a means of impoverishing the many to enrich the few [...] by subjecting capital to the natural law of competition, thus bringing the price of its own use down to cost".

Again, it all seems pretty muddy.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
I think I'm ready to retry my

I think I'm ready to retry my Anarchists response.

Anarchism, as presented in the books, relies on advanced technology, much like hypercorps. Instead of using technology to make profits, technology is used to liberate and empower people. With nanofabbers, blueprints, and ALIs, a post scarcity society is created. Everything that people need to survive, and some luxuries, are provided for. Everyone is liberated to do what they decide to do, whether it be do what they good at, what they enjoy, or even just hobbies. From there, contributions by people can be ranked, with jobs that are not supplied being valued more than jobs that are well supplied. People who wish to improve their standing can do valued jobs. It will get noted by the ALIs and their rep score will be recalculated.

Rep is not currency. To use the example used above, Bill may make the best bikes, but he is not required to make a bike for Suzy. Many favors get rejected. However, Suzy is free ask for a bike made by someone else, have one made by a big printer, to borrow one, or even try to make her own. She is free make an open request for a bike, which might get fulfilled by someone later. If Suzy has a good rep, there should be people ready and willing to try to help. Of course, Suzy could try to burn some rep and pressure Bill to make her a bike anyways. Maybe Bill owes some favors to other people who don't mind Suzy or are even her friends.

eaton eaton's picture
Quote:Maybe I'm not getting

Quote:
Maybe I'm not getting and understanding of Rep, then. Well, no, I am definitely not understanding Rep. Rep is tracked on a computer, right? Some one comes to you for a favor, and you check there rep score. If its high enough- and everyone says he is cool- you do that favor and earn some rep yourself. How does rep work when its people you know? Can they cut you a "deal" to grant you a favor that your score doesn't normally allow? Can they refuse you, because they are a jealous ex and want you to suffer?

Think of it this way. I've contributed a lot to open source software. Over the past 10-15 years, I've built large and small projects and shared them with other devs for free. Lots of people got to know me, to the point where I could poke my head into various chat rooms and forums and ask for help with a question or an issue, and many of the "regulars" would offer a hand out of goodwill. Newbies or people who might not have personally used my code still checked my profile and noticed I had built a number of projects that got lots of usage, and it afforded me a degree of respect and consideration in conversations as long as I wasn't a dick about it.

Similarly, it was a boon when trying to land freelance gigs or when pitching talks at conferences — I could drawn on a good reputation, etc. On occasion, if there was an issue I felt really strongly about, I could argue vigorously for it and even convince people my way was best despite strong arguments from others. I might annoy some folks in the process, and my overall reputation might take a bit of a ding for going out on a limb like that, but again… if I felt it was important enough, so be it.

As time went on and my day-to-day work changed and I wrote less code, I didn't accumulate as much "cred" on an ongoing basis. People still knew me, and they didn't *stop* thinking well of me, but other people were doing good work too and I slid into the status of "Guy who did some cool stuff a while back" rather than "pillar of the community." Karma's got a half-life like that.

That kind of accumulated goodwill is *absolutely* valuable, and has gotten me where I am today career-wise. On the other hand, it's not "currency" in the sense that I can't just walk in and demand something of value from someone. I mean, I could, maybe — leaning on social pressure and calling in their recollection of all the stuff I'd done for them. But it would also harm my reputation a lot. Similarly, no one is really REQUIRED to help me simply because of my reputation, especially if my requests are unreasonable or really difficult. And individuals inside a group might still hate my guts even though aggregate rep is high. I might not be able to secure help from them, but if they're absolutely necessary I could use my rep to get someone to act as a go-between or smooth things out before floating my request.

At least in my mind, that's how rep works. It's not exactly currency, but it can help you get things that you'd otherwise need currency for. And in communities where favors are only given, not sold, it's sometimes the ONLY way. Trading on your reputation and calling in a favor with a fellow artist/hacker/security pro/researcher/etc can get you stuff they might be uncomfortable or unwilling to simply trade for cash.

ICU2 ICU2's picture
With collective anarchism

With collective anarchism (the Eclipse Phase Anarchist faction) we have an entire community that functions as a single generalized collective.

Could Extropian mutualism be more like a community having multiple smaller specialized collectives (co-ops) with distinct memberships that interact with other co-ops (and even non-associated individuals) through market exchanges?

I'm just trying to neatly package it for myself, and online articles on mutualism seem to have a lot of internal contradictions making it tough for me to see how it works.

uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
Mutualism is sometimes

Mutualism is sometimes described as "wanting to free the Market from Capitalism" because they seek to get rid of investor class who owns something but doesn't labor with it, just reaps profit by virtue of "ownership"

Exhuman, and Humanitarian.

ICU2 ICU2's picture
uwtartarus wrote:Mutualism is

uwtartarus wrote:
Mutualism is sometimes described as "wanting to free the Market from Capitalism" because they seek to get rid of investor class who owns something but doesn't labor with it, just reaps profit by virtue of "ownership"

That actually helps me some. Do the anarcho-capitalist Extropians have any objections to external investors profiting without labor? I would think not, but I've certainly not mastered all of these economic theories.
uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
Extropians are cool with

Extropians are cool with slavery as long as it was contractual. The contract is sacred to them. Which I mean, better to "freely" join a contract rather than just be expected to pay taxes and follow laws in a state that you were not able to choose to join. I guess.

I am not an Extropian or AnCap, so I can't really defend their POV. But I find myself sympathetic and interested in Mutualism. I haven't read their books though so take my insight with grain of salt.

Exhuman, and Humanitarian.

sysop sysop's picture
ICU2 wrote:uwtartarus wrote

ICU2 wrote:
uwtartarus wrote:
Mutualism is sometimes described as "wanting to free the Market from Capitalism" because they seek to get rid of investor class who owns something but doesn't labor with it, just reaps profit by virtue of "ownership"

That actually helps me some. Do the anarcho-capitalist Extropians have any objections to external investors profiting without labor? I would think not, but I've certainly not mastered all of these economic theories.

From the AC point of view: Nothing in the rules says they can't. Cause there's no rules.

And you've nailed right on the head one of my biggest issues with anarcho-capitalists - especially of the more extreme sort as shown in Extropia. It's an innately unstable system that strongly favors the remote investor (who stands only to lose money, not their head) because it attempts to ignore the innate power-structure issues that come with ownership and money in an otherwise unregulated environment.AC removes regulation and that's how you get the economic equivalent of *kudzu*.

I fix broken things. If you need something fixed, mention it on the suggestions board.
I also sometimes speak as website administrator and/ moderator.

eaton eaton's picture
Quote:It's an innately

Quote:
It's an innately unstable system that strongly favors the remote investor (who stands only to lose money, not their head) because it attempts to ignore the innate power-structure issues that come with ownership and money in an otherwise unregulated environment.

fist-bumping for truth

ICU2 ICU2's picture
There may be no laws, but

There may be no laws, but there are still some rules. The main one being non-violence and the fact that all contacts must be voluntary. I do wonder what happens to children and others that are not considered able to competent to enter contracts in Extropian habs. There are no laws to cover such, but I imagine @-rep is going to tank of you abandon or exploit kids or the mentally disabled.

ranx ranx's picture
CoalPoweredPuppet wrote:I am

CoalPoweredPuppet wrote:
I am trying to get something right in my head. My players are heading to an Anarchists habitat and things aren't meshing in my imagination.

In the book (Second Edition) the Anarchists are treated as a kind of utopia, with everyone coming together to survive and prosper. Nanofabs and other high tech devices being used to fulfill all the needs and wants of everyone on board, and no one goes without. But what few examples shown in the book (page 145) seem...lacking. It appears that a whole anarchist habitat is a few hundred people just coasting by, finding quick, odd jobs to make enough rep to score the next dose of fun. There is no planning, or long term goals, or preparation for emergencies. No mention of trash or equipment out of repair, no failed systems, or people being "poor" (because they are unlikable, unpleasant, or made the wrong crowd angry). There is no...struggle, I guess? To live.

I'm not critiquing the mindset- I'm trying see the setting.

I think opinions of the workability of anarchist societies are a bit of rorshach test for opinions of people in general. If you think (trans)humans are basically cruel and stupid creatures that need benevolent authorities to protect them from themselves, you'll see anarchism as unworkable.

Quote:

Is this utopia because nanofabs are just everywhere? Maybe with all of the minerals out in space, they can just make what they need? What about emergencies, like a micrometeorite punches through the hull and the greenhouses are killed? Are there stored food supplies (product of planning), or can the nanofabs be reassigned for food? Is recycling built into the system, so if you throw your trash away proper you get a microscopic bonus to your rep?

Anarchists, being people, are just as capable of planning as anyone else. Anarcho-communism calls on everyone to be involved in communal decision making (since resources belong to the community). If someone thinks it's a good idea to have a food stockpile, they can suggest it - or just go and do it off their own initiative.

Anarchist habitats probably do get wiped out occasionally because nobody bothered to do any maintenance and forward planning and then disaster struck, and the inner system media surely fills up the news feeds with smug 'this is why anarchism can never work' opinion pieces for months afterwards, but it probably happens less often than planetary consortium habitats getting wiped out because some hypercorp made the same mistakes to pump stock prices.

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What happens if Bill makes the best space bike and doesn't like Suzy? Can Suzy spend her rep to force Bill to make her a bike (this is against the idea of putting one's will on another yet inline with the rule of majority)? What if Suzy got all of her friends to push the issue? If Janice is a popular blogger, what keeps her from using her popularity to become a demagogue-defacto-leader? What stops mobs from making all the decisions?

You can't force someone to make you a space-bike. In an anarchist society people only do things they want to do - important but boring or unpleasant work gets done because people realise that it needs to get done, and value the people who do it, in much the same way that people brush their teeth and clean their house even though nobody forces them to. (Or it doesn't get done and everyone dies, again depending on your view on human nature.)

When people are popular and well-liked they have a lot of sway, just like any other system. If someone is popular and well-liked but also a jerk or a poor decision maker and they lead the community to ruin that's unfortunate, but no more common than in systems where jerks and poor decision makers can achieve high government office through elections or inheritance or whatever other mechanism statist polities use.

Quote:

I read somewhere that a human can handle "knowing" around 120 people, and everyone else fall into a kind of "stranger" category. With everyone connected via the mesh, I would assume in-person "knowing" would be much lower than it is now, and most of the people you physically meet are strangers to you. In the mesh, you hang out with people that are similar to you, so strangers would be weird ones, and since all your friends think in the same (broadly speaking) way...why whats to stop some one from just being a jerk to strangers (say, on a bad day)? What happens when the way you chat with your friends is considered rude when used on strangers?

Most anarchist communities are habs with relatively small populations and high population density. Anarchist philosophy encourages communal decision making, and rep software helps to keep you informed of who's who and what their deal is. Unless you spend all your time in your quarters and never go out, you will meet a lot of the other members of your community in your day to day. You won't know everyone but you'll have a good sense of the general norms and culture. If you don't fit in, your rep is likely to get dinged a lot. Small anarchist habs are likely to be very cliquey, and people will probably self-sort into habs with shared norms. Larger anarchist habitats like locus are more likely to have shared norms like 'diversity is good' and 'let's all get along' and you will encounter a broader variety of people every day which dilutes the effect of groupthink.

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I understand Scum Swarms, I think. They are flying trailer parks one disaster away from destroying themselves and are having a blast doing so. But the calmer, more collected Anarchists are throwing me for a loop.

They are just people. They are as capable of being calm and collected, or chaotic and self-destructive, as anyone else. It's just that their triumphs and disasters are theirs, not the product of some government or CEO.

CoalPoweredPuppet CoalPoweredPuppet's picture
Quote:I think opinions of the

Quote:
I think opinions of the workability of anarchist societies are a bit of rorshach test for opinions of people in general.

My sociology professor, way back when, talked about how people view humanity is reflected by their government. He also pointed out that every kind of government (that we discussed) did work for a little while, and no one clear definition of what it means to human has proven to be all encompassing, no government is going to be prefect for all of humanity, or even a few of humanity. So, yeah, that holds water, but its not an on/off switch.
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Anarchists, being people, are just as capable of planning as anyone else. Anarcho-communism calls on everyone to be involved in communal decision making (since resources belong to the community). If someone thinks it's a good idea to have a food stockpile, they can suggest it - or just go and do it off their own initiative.

This makes sense. I now picture Anarchist habs to be filled with people who thought long and hard about their system, thought it was workable with some effort, and are struggling to keep it working. Which is why I described Anarchists are calm, collected individuals. Anyone who stays in such a hab has to know what they are getting into and agrees with it.

I still think such a culture is greatly aided- or perhaps is made possible by- the advanced technology. It is much easier not to get selfish and cruel to your neighbors when you family is safe and well fed. If there was more scarcity (such as the artificially created types in the hypercorp areas), people would get desperate, and no amount of social engineering is going to put some one else's family over one's own.

Unless, of course, the concept of families is also messed with. Which is also in the books. Hrm. More thought need on that.

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You can't force someone to make you a space-bike.

Yeah you can. The same way you can force anyone to do anything. You trade them something they value more than the effort and parts of making the bike. In simplest terms, it can be credits. Or you can trade "not-putting-a-gun-to-your-head" for the bike. Or you can trade "I-am-friends-with-everyone-and-you-won't-get-any-favors-if-you-don't-make-me-a-bike". Or you can trade"not-talking-trash-about-your-bikes" for a bike. Most of the time one trades "I-will-tell-everyone-you-are-cool" for whatever it is they want. In the end, its one person getting something, from some one else, because the former wanted it.

More to the point, I was asking about how the standard anarchist community keeps popularity from screwing up their system. With how social media is everything and everywhere in the setting, being popular is the ticket to an easy life. What methods do the population have to stop popular jerks from being too powerful? Is it because there are so many people getting popular (many factions ideas)? Is it the keep one person separate and logical? A culture of calm thinking and communal discussion before decisions? Or since people know everyone, they are discussing things like people instead of folks yelling at each other over the internet.

Speaking of which, this is a lot more informative and clear thinking than I was expecting. Thanks for all the input!

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It's just that their triumphs and disasters are theirs, not the product of some government or CEO.
Some government is made of people who grew up with other people and did people things and got into a government position because people wanted them there. Or they are AI's. And a CEO is a person, who came from people. Creating a separation between the government and "people" doesn't explain anything to me. In the end, is one group of people who put another group of people in charge, resulting in triumphs and disasters and still one group of people made of two parts.
ICU2 ICU2's picture
As I look at it again, i

As I look at it again, i think the balancing factor in the Extropian anarcho-capitalist approach is @-rep. While 1e made Extropians use both @-rep and c-rep, 2e makes it clear that their "core" network is @-rep. This means that even the hardcore a-capitalist has to balance immediate profits with the potential losses from rep hits. In effect, @-rep takes the place of a government as the invisible hand of Extropian economics.

eaton eaton's picture
Quote:This makes sense. I now

Quote:
This makes sense. I now picture Anarchist habs to be filled with people who thought long and hard about their system, thought it was workable with some effort, and are struggling to keep it working. Which is why I described Anarchists are calm, collected individuals. Anyone who stays in such a hab has to know what they are getting into and agrees with it.

So, random tidbit: I grew up in a 1970s religious commune, one that was associated with a number of similar ones in our geographical area. Obviously anarchism and communism are fundamentally different, but one of the lessons I took away from those communities was that a lot of problems with different ways of self-governing only appear at scale. In groups of 50, 100, even 1000 people a LOT of interesting systems of self-regulation, group decision making, and so on can function for decades without breaking down. The vast majority of anarchist habs, according to the books, fall into those ranges. The bigger places like Extropia are definitely more complicated to deal with, but the combination of fabber-based post-scarcity and small community sizes really does go a long way.

In addition, not everyone has to be a true believer in the cause — some people arrive at a particular place due to life circumstances beyond their control and adopt a "when in Rome" approach. Like… how many people, given a blank slate, would re-invent market capitalism? Some, but for many people it's just "the way things are." For many in the outer parts of the solar system, I envision it as just "the way things are around here." They make it work.

chaos_forge chaos_forge's picture
ICU2 wrote:As I look at it

ICU2 wrote:
As I look at it again, i think the balancing factor in the Extropian anarcho-capitalist approach is @-rep. While 1e made Extropians use both @-rep and c-rep, 2e makes it clear that their "core" network is @-rep. This means that even the hardcore a-capitalist has to balance immediate profits with the potential losses from rep hits. In effect, @-rep takes the place of a government as the invisible hand of Extropian economics.

TBH I find that kind of a weird decision, given how libertarians & ancaps IRL pretty much always end up allying themselves with the right (capitalists) over the left (socialists) when push comes to shove. Anarcho-capitalism is still capitalism, and thus a lot more ideologically compatible with inner planet hypercapitalism than the socialism of the outer system.

ICU2 ICU2's picture
chaos_forge wrote:ICU2 wrote

chaos_forge wrote:
ICU2 wrote:
As I look at it again, i think the balancing factor in the Extropian anarcho-capitalist approach is @-rep. While 1e made Extropians use both @-rep and c-rep, 2e makes it clear that their "core" network is @-rep. This means that even the hardcore a-capitalist has to balance immediate profits with the potential losses from rep hits. In effect, @-rep takes the place of a government as the invisible hand of Extropian economics.

TBH I find that kind of a weird decision, given how libertarians & ancaps IRL pretty much always end up allying themselves with the right (capitalists) over the left (socialists) when push comes to shove. Anarcho-capitalism is still capitalism, and thus a lot more ideologically compatible with inner planet hypercapitalism than the socialism of the outer system.


Yeah, Extropians are the weird kids among the Autonomist Alliance, but that's what I like about them. They don't necessarily make perfect sense, but IMO, none of the factions are perfectly sensible.

In the case of Extropians, I have to think that the divisions between anarcho-capitalists and mutualists are not rigid and exclusive lines. Someone could be employed by (and thus a member of) a mutualist cooperative while also freelancing for an-cap employers through short-term contracts.

ranx ranx's picture
CoalPoweredPuppet wrote:Quote

CoalPoweredPuppet wrote:
Quote:
I think opinions of the workability of anarchist societies are a bit of rorshach test for opinions of people in general.

My sociology professor, way back when, talked about how people view humanity is reflected by their government. He also pointed out that every kind of government (that we discussed) did work for a little while, and no one clear definition of what it means to human has proven to be all encompassing, no government is going to be prefect for all of humanity, or even a few of humanity. So, yeah, that holds water, but its not an on/off switch.
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Anarchists, being people, are just as capable of planning as anyone else. Anarcho-communism calls on everyone to be involved in communal decision making (since resources belong to the community). If someone thinks it's a good idea to have a food stockpile, they can suggest it - or just go and do it off their own initiative.

This makes sense. I now picture Anarchist habs to be filled with people who thought long and hard about their system, thought it was workable with some effort, and are struggling to keep it working. Which is why I described Anarchists are calm, collected individuals. Anyone who stays in such a hab has to know what they are getting into and agrees with it.

I still think such a culture is greatly aided- or perhaps is made possible by- the advanced technology. It is much easier not to get selfish and cruel to your neighbors when you family is safe and well fed. If there was more scarcity (such as the artificially created types in the hypercorp areas), people would get desperate, and no amount of social engineering is going to put some one else's family over one's own.

This is a common belief but I don't think it's necessarily supported by evidence? Communities in the real world that experience frequent hardship and poverty are often quite tight-knit, hospitable and friendly, because they are acutely aware that if they don't all hang together they will all hang separately. The book 'A Paradise built in Hell' by Rebecca Solnit lays out some strong evidence that in the wake of natural disasters people become extraordinarily altruistic and form new communal structures along what you might consider anarchist lines - communal, non-hierarchical, not profit motivated. https://www.wired.com/2012/11/human-nature-crisis/

Obviously there are counterexamples, but this is what I mean about anarchism being a rorschach test for your beliefs about human nature.

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Unless, of course, the concept of families is also messed with. Which is also in the books. Hrm. More thought need on that.

Think of an anarchist hab as a village (or if you've read The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs, a neighbourhood.) People know each other and look out for each other because they are neighbours, and because the frozen void of space is just outside the walls.

Quote:
You can't force someone to make you a space-bike.

Yeah you can. The same way you can force anyone to do anything. You trade them something they value more than the effort and parts of making the bike. In simplest terms, it can be credits. Or you can trade "not-putting-a-gun-to-your-head" for the bike. Or you can trade "I-am-friends-with-everyone-and-you-won't-get-any-favors-if-you-don't-make-me-a-bike". Or you can trade"not-talking-trash-about-your-bikes" for a bike. Most of the time one trades "I-will-tell-everyone-you-are-cool" for whatever it is they want. In the end, its one person getting something, from some one else, because the former wanted it.

I see what you mean. Think of it this way: In the planetary consortium, you can be coerced by state power, or by economic disparity, or by social pressure. In extropia, you can be coerced by economic disparity or social pressure. In an anarchist hab it's just social pressure.

If you live alone on an asteroid, you can't be coerced by anyone! But also you can't benefit from society. It's hard for me to imagine a society where people interacted with each other but social pressure couldn't be applied for coercion.

Quote:

More to the point, I was asking about how the standard anarchist community keeps popularity from screwing up their system. With how social media is everything and everywhere in the setting, being popular is the ticket to an easy life. What methods do the population have to stop popular jerks from being too powerful? Is it because there are so many people getting popular (many factions ideas)? Is it the keep one person separate and logical? A culture of calm thinking and communal discussion before decisions? Or since people know everyone, they are discussing things like people instead of folks yelling at each other over the internet.

Well, how do you get to be popular? You do stuff that people like! How do you get to be unpopular? You do things that people don't like. The rep system sort of presumes that you accumulate rep by doing good things for people in the community. In a gift economy, someone who makes really cool, sought-after bikes is likely to have more rep than someone who demands that bikemakers give them things and threatens to have all their followers ding their rep every day unless they get that bike.

Obviously sometimes jerks do end up dominating small communities, that's a problem that anarchism is not well-equipped to solve but I don't think there's a solution other than 'don't live in small communities'.

(I recommend The Tyranny of Structurelessness by Jo Freeman for a common anarchist failure state, as well as some ways to resolve it without sacrificing anarchist principles. ) https://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.htm

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Speaking of which, this is a lot more informative and clear thinking than I was expecting. Thanks for all the input!

You're welcome! I think the way Eclipse Phase drives discussion of politics, economy and philosophy is one of the best things about it. I certainly agree that making the autonomis alliance into a trouble-free utopia is bad from a game design perspective and unrealistic. There's no perfect system.

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It's just that their triumphs and disasters are theirs, not the product of some government or CEO.

Some government is made of people who grew up with other people and did people things and got into a government position because people wanted them there. Or they are AI's. And a CEO is a person, who came from people. Creating a separation between the government and "people" doesn't explain anything to me. In the end, is one group of people who put another group of people in charge, resulting in triumphs and disasters and still one group of people made of two parts.

The point is that anarchists don't want to put anyone in charge. They make decisions collectively when they have to be made collectively and individually when they don't, but there are no formal political or economic structures that elevate the decisions of any individual above the rest.

Quantronic Drea... Quantronic DreamViolence's picture
chaos_forge wrote:ICU2 wrote

chaos_forge wrote:
ICU2 wrote:
As I look at it again, i think the balancing factor in the Extropian anarcho-capitalist approach is @-rep. While 1e made Extropians use both @-rep and c-rep, 2e makes it clear that their "core" network is @-rep. This means that even the hardcore a-capitalist has to balance immediate profits with the potential losses from rep hits. In effect, @-rep takes the place of a government as the invisible hand of Extropian economics.

TBH I find that kind of a weird decision, given how libertarians & ancaps IRL pretty much always end up allying themselves with the right (capitalists) over the left (socialists) when push comes to shove. Anarcho-capitalism is still capitalism, and thus a lot more ideologically compatible with inner planet hypercapitalism than the socialism of the outer system.

I think it works in EP's setting mainly because the hypercorps have ample reasons to hate them (rampant IP piracy and all that jazz) and the Anarchist Alliances can find plenty of reasons to tolerate them due to their willingness to both work with credits and rep as mediators.

ICU2 ICU2's picture
Quantronic DreamViolence

Quantronic DreamViolence wrote:
chaos_forge wrote:
ICU2 wrote:
As I look at it again, i think the balancing factor in the Extropian anarcho-capitalist approach is @-rep. While 1e made Extropians use both @-rep and c-rep, 2e makes it clear that their "core" network is @-rep. This means that even the hardcore a-capitalist has to balance immediate profits with the potential losses from rep hits. In effect, @-rep takes the place of a government as the invisible hand of Extropian economics.

TBH I find that kind of a weird decision, given how libertarians & ancaps IRL pretty much always end up allying themselves with the right (capitalists) over the left (socialists) when push comes to shove. Anarcho-capitalism is still capitalism, and thus a lot more ideologically compatible with inner planet hypercapitalism than the socialism of the outer system.

I think it works in EP's setting mainly because the hypercorps have ample reasons to hate them (rampant IP piracy and all that jazz) and the Anarchist Alliances can find plenty of reasons to tolerate them due to their willingness to both work with credits and rep as mediators.


The biggest issue the Extropians have with hypercorps (and anyone else primarily using c-rep) is that the Extropians don't want a government limiting the choices of individuals. They much prefer that the individuals make their own choices and be self-limiting when necessary. This doesn't sit well with the hypercorps because while they want to make money, they also want to exert power and control with that wealth. Extropians are all for the making money part but totally opposed to the power and control. This is the difference that pushes them into the AA and away from inner system polities (not that they won't work with them if there's a profit, but they won't let them have control).