@shinmin: so when the IRS comes knocking on your door you tell them 'The concept of 'having' is an abstraction' and they leave you alone?
@bornagain: Bitcoin (BTC) is a currency and can be bought and sold in multiple currencies including other cryptos. If I buy/sell it for Monero and use it to buy whatever I want or accept it as payment in my business am I 'tied into the state and capitalism'?
On the mining side I honestly believe the electricity costs will go down over time, especially when compared to our existing systems with offices, employees etc.
Of course the State will tax anything and everything to perpetuate and advance itself. The question is can we resist it? I would rather try without a bank account that, currently, we are largely dependent on.
Transactions can be obfuscated (disclaimer: apparently). That's even before we get into Monero etc.
It's true that if we don't listen to people like Andreas Antonopoulos this technology could well have nothing to do with anarchy. But if we take heed of the dangers, use P2P apps like Bisq and encourage the use of 'cloak coins' like Monero it could have everything to do with anarchy.
If 'you can easily find ways to not have the irs knocking at your door' most people aren't aware of them because there's a very high submission rate to the requirement to file returns. Even if you get away with it for some time it remains a lurking concern in the background. The more you make the greater the concern which is disincentivizing.
Apologies to dot for the many links. If you don't find them useful please let me know why...
@dns I don't need or want 'an alternative to the banking system' that is just another banking system; I want to move away from the idea of 'the economy' altogether. Like @bornagainanarchist says, there is very little you need to interact with money when you start trying to systematically limit your contact with the economy (not that I currently do a very good job of it). You don't seem to be able to comprehend the idea that someone genuinely dislikes the modern, transactional mode of interaction. I'm not interested in anarchy because I want lower taxes and bigger pay-checks; I want to question the way I interact with others, the world, and myself in order to be more genuine, honest, and joyful. Fucking around with computers to get weird internet money I understand even less than fiat money doesn't fill me with joy, and neither do any of the commodities I can buy with it.I stopped worrying about making the whole world an anarchic place a while back, and to be honest I've been a lot happier since then. Now I concentrate on creating anarchy around me whenever I can. I'm not much good, but I've got plenty of time to practice.
@funky: there's a struggle going on right now between the State and crypto. Here's one typical example. I'm optimistic about the possibilities but realistic about what we're up against. We're in an era in which the vast majority of people unquestioningly bow to the 'law'. Crypto won't dig us out of that mindset on it's own. It's a tool to assist people who don't depend totally on fiat to survive (great, if you can do it). Personally I need value exchange in my life and I don't want to go through the fiat system to do it.
When it comes to social systems/philosophies etc. nothing is a panacea. It's what we think will work best for most people, most the time, including our own intuitions (I'm not a utilitarian). Centralization implies authority and authority implies delegated violence. Hence my preference for de-centralization which implies personal responsibility - not a panacea.
Yes, blockchain is a significant new technology on the scene. Again just a tool. How it's used is key.
@dotnetspec Echoing what others have said, thank you for your continued calm and -mostly- considered engagement with the topic. Its refreshing to have what I would credit as actual conversations with people I disagree with. On the internet, no less.
However there are some things I would like to point out. "It's a good reason to make the Internet accessible to everyone". This statement contains many assumptions. First, whenever technological 'progress' is talked about, it tends to be talked about like it is some magic gift arising from nothing. But of course there is much that must be done to bring about the 'advance' of greater, more open access to the internet.
Your proposal has already presupposed industrial scale mining, manufacturing, and all the periphery processes that go along with these enterprises. Indeed, the increased availability of the internet presupposes an increase in the scale and scope of these projects, to account for populations rise and 'resource pool' dry up. Aside from the drastic environmental impact of these practices, it also seems to contradict what you say about anarchy being about 'choice and freedom'; I can guarantee you that no-one works in a mine out of genuine freewill and desire, but because of coercion, immediate or systemic/economic. Any exceptions to this would almost certainly only prove my point further. I don't know about you, but I don't like the fact that so many toil in mines. Besides, the fewer mines there are, the smaller the chance of me ending up working in one, which suits me just fine.
What really is the nature of the internet? What is its impact? Now there is a dramatic and wide reaching sociological question that I can't answer. But I would certainly lean more to the side of the internet being a pacifying agent of control, rather than a tool of liberation. What is the internet most commonly used for? Porn, social media, and searching -mostly for porn or social media-. No matter how freaky the porn you watch is, its pretty hard to portray it as liberatory, for you, or anyone else; not bad -because I reject that category- but not liberatory. Both porn and social media are addictive by design, indeed arguably by definition; anyone with even the mildest of addiction issues with know that addiction is the exact opposite of freedom. Additionally, how is most of the internet monetized? What is plastered on every website? Advertisements; a form of monetization that relies on non-conscious manipulation, and so encourages the exact opposite of free individuals. Even an ad-blocker is not a catch-all solution, as they have to be constantly updated, and can't deal with crypto-ads, sponsored content, or manipulative content -such as every news report, barring none-. You should notice that the manipulative tools of the internet are for sale, and as such those currently powerful hold greater leverage to further their own agendas using the internet. Hiding abstracted-value-tokens from the gubment doesn't address these issues. I don't see how providing powerful interests direct access to more people's phones and pockets is particularly liberatory.
Now the problems with currency expressed by most of the people here have little to nothing to do with the fact that they are visible and accessible by the government. An economic system is an economic system. The fact that rich people have the best opportunity to make money is a problem not addressed by hidden-money. The fact that money objectifies and abstracts value judgements is a problem not addressed by crypto-currency. That almost everything within a value-exchange society becomes framed as a transaction, from relationships with people to nature, is a problem not addressed by code-dollars.
To my mind, trying to use crypto-currency as a tool to create anarchy from and in our current situation is kind of like trying to use a bandage to treat a case of poisoning.
Trying to use crypto-currency to create anarchy would need an immense amount of energy. To create the immense amount of energy needed for it, there'll likely need to be a lot of exploitation to maintain or produce more energy to maintain it.I'm sure the people doing the dirty work and others that have to deal with all the byproducts and filth of producing this massive amount of energy will be down so a handful of people can create and hoard internet bucks. ;)
The Internet is a powerful technology for people all over the world to communicate, share and refine their ideas about freedom. We need to leverage it to the full now because anti-freedom forces are constantly trying to think up new ways to get the general population behind censoring it.
You appear to be saying that by sending a crypto transaction (or encouraging it's use generally) I am somehow committing people to a lifetime of slavery in coal mines! I don't mind addressing the environmental impact argument but I won't be losing any sleep over those who 'toil in mines' because I want to effectively by-pass the State. I don't want to sidetrack into the environment right here but 2 nuclear power stations are running in Japan post-Fukushima instead of 50. If you're so concerned about people working in mines and power generation have a look into that.
You appear to be saying that by looking forward to the possibility of making the Internet accessible to everyone I contradict myself on anarchy being about 'choice and freedom'. Where exactly is the contradiction?
It doesn't matter how much porn and social media rubbish is on the Internet. So long as it enables people like us to share our ideas it's a net gain. Addiction is not the exact opposite of freedom. If someone wants to be addicted to something it's their choice. Who am I to tell them what to do? Freedom includes the freedom to be foolish so long as no-one else is physically harmed in the process.
You and I have been subjected to 'non-conscious manipulation' our whole lives. Has it worked? I agree we should be aware and vigilant regarding what big corporations are up to (YouTube censorship for e.g.), but that isn't an argument for reducing our use of the Internet. Quite the opposite. We need to pursue our agenda using all the technology that's available because what we're saying has far more impact and significance than anything the suited corporate drones can come up with despite all their money and PR.
"Hiding abstracted-value-tokens from the gubment doesn't address these issues" - it's not intended to. It addresses the issue that being forced to use government issued fiat to pay tax to feed that same government is almost impossible to otherwise avoid without, in some form, withdrawing from ordinary life. When you're marginalized economically it's much easier to marginalize your ideas.
"I don't see how providing powerful interests direct access to more people's phones and pockets is particularly liberatory." I agree. That's why we use the blockchain for de-centralized control of the technology we use with these devices. Use Steemit instead of Facebook. Use DTube instead of YouTube. Use Bisq instead of Kraken etc.
Perhaps 'most people here' are not paying a lot of income tax (I'm not either). However, we're all paying consumer and corporate taxes (indirectly) and all that tax is used by the State to re-create and extend itself.
'Bash the rich' plays right into the hands of Statists. Dragging everyone down to the lowest common denominator doesn't advance freedom. Be charitable and kind if you want to be, but having the choice is key. What keeps that guy stuck down a mine shaft is not energy requirements, it's the ideas in his head handed down through carefully designed and controlled State run education and media. Does he know about Thorium reactors? Probably not. Without the Internet neither would I.
This question then could have been 'is any form of value-exchange society compatible with anarchism?' It's related but needs it's own thread because personally I can't imagine what a society outside of 'value-exchange' would look like. If we accept an alternative 'money currency' I suggest crypto presents exciting possibilities. I say this because I see it giving real world opportunity to ignore the State, which for me is what anarchy is all about. Otherwise you're talking about a world that's too remote for me (I accept not for you perhaps).
Crypto fits the bill perfectly. If we take the time to understand it and use it in a way that is compatible with anarchist ideals (if we accept value-exchange as included, I appreciate you don't).
@human: what is your data source for this idea that crypto would require an 'immense amount of energy'?
There would be less 'exploitation' if we embraced technology instead of looking backwards and worrying about 'toiling in mines'.
They wouldn't be so 'down' if they bought some crypto of their own ... as long as they don't have to hand the proceeds over to the State if they happen to make a profit ...
Hoo-wee...Coal isn't the only thing mined... you know that right? To manufacture the equipment to sustain the modern world metals need to be mine, plastics manufactured etc. all very labour intensive. Working in factories; not fun. Everyone has a choice to not work, sure, but for the vast majority of the planet that choice is work or starve; not a massively free one. The products we use to access the internet are the product of coercion, ecocide, imperialism; the items we use and engage with are formed from congealed violence. This is not a moral judgement, its just a fact.You talk about the government using money gained from taxes to re-create itself, and so expand. Kinda sounds like profit reinvestment How are corporations any different from the state? If you say that companies are 'voluntary' whilst the gubment is 'coercion', for the vast, vast majority of the world's population you are saying the 'choice' between working for companies and starvation is the extent of freedom that most people can expect. That wouldn't satisfy me, just so you know. And by that standard I don't have to live inside of a country and interact with the cops and a 'hogtied economic system', I can just go sit on a rock in international waters and starve to death. Freedom!The 'freedom' and 'choice' you talk about is such a narrow read of the idea of freedom it baffles me. Freedom to be addicted, addiction being losing a certain capacity of self control to a substance or behaviour? What are you talking about? There is definitely a problem with thinking about addiction as involving no free choice or agency, but you have got to be joking. You aren't, though.The fact that the most radical society you can even envision is a society with lower taxes -despite the existence of many groups and societies in the past -and the present!- that have no currency shows the depths of your anarchy. @dot answers the original question very well, and linked to the wikipedia page for 'The Gift', a book by a 20th century anthropologist about the importance of gift giving in past societies. I've not read it, but if you want to broaden you conceptual range to include things that aren't just this society but with lower taxes, you might want to give it a go.
dns: "I used to work in IT so it's easier, perhaps, for me to get my head around the whole crypto issue. Perceiving the advantages and attempting to help others see them is creating anarchy for me."
i worked in IT (called MIS in my earliest days) for over 25 years, so a lack of computer background has nothing to do with me rejecting cryptocurrency....if anything, my experience in the computing world has made me even more antagonistic toward seeing technology as freeing.
like skyline, the only kind of "economy" i desire revolves around the idea of the gift. some of the references i gave you describe gift economy.
your tendency to say "we need to....." doesn't sound anarchic to me. like in your statement (one among many): "We need to pursue our agenda using all the technology that's available...". who do you mean by "we"? and what "agenda"? who agreed on an agenda?
i view "we need to" statements as more in line with authoritarian thinking - where someone knows "the solution" that all of "us" need to follow. in other words, don't include me in your "we".
@bornagain: I appear to have lost your references but I looked up the Wiki (perhaps you can indicate how much confidence you have in the Wiki as an overview?). It's new to me so I won't comment at this point other than to notice it states 'The event [Burning Man] forbids commerce'. How is that enforced?
I agree with you about working in IT. Getting paid by corporates etc. to advance their agendas isn't freeing at all. But when you have more time to look at IT that can be used for positive purposes, encryption for privacy for e.g., I believe there is another side to it.
You're right - I should have said 'I suggest'.
dns, i didn't mean my working in IT didn't feel freeing - of course it didn't, but if i meant that, i just as easily could have referred to my work in a warehouse or fast food joint - i meant to respond to your comment about your ease in getting your mind around cryptocurrency because of your IT experience, and that my lack of computer knowledge is not why i don't want it.
my experience in the computer industry (as well as daily experiences in my life with other people in relation to computers/screens) has led me to view computers/screens as mostly not freeing, not creating more anarchy - not because of the work aspect of of it (that occurs in any work as i see it).
dns, mining and extracting rare earth minerals like that shit in your link will turn the area into a wasteland. Plus, someone has got to do it. I'm sure all the people that lived in areas that had a lot of rare earth metals and minerals wouldn't be okay with turning their home into a wasteland so someone somewhere else can create and hoard internet bucks. Same point.shinminmetroskyline, i don't understand why people dislike comic sans much other than it can be annoying to read. I was reading this funny article that claimed hating comics sans was ableism lolols
for the a101 record.....i love comic sans.... :)
skyline....sisyphean.....i hadn't heard this word before....but i like it too.....and yes, this thread feels sisyphean!
dns: decentralization does not in any way imply "personal responsibility", not sure where you get that from.
"That makes 'internet money' far more accessible than fiat cash "
state-backed currency is every bit as internet accessible and usable (for most non-techies, i'd say more so) as cryptocurrencies, what are you talking about?
i doubt anyone here has disputed your claims that the state is violent and coercive, nor your claims that many/most in mainstream society don't generally see it that way. what has been disputed is that your monetized, capitalist world could possibly exist without the state.
"There would be less 'exploitation' if we embraced technology instead of looking backwards and worrying about 'toiling in mines'."
holy shit! that statement speaks volumes.
thanks dot, for telling me about the anews podcast that referenced my eprime post....i didn't know about the podcast before....i'll check it out.
despite saying in the post above that i don't seek to convince people of anything, it still feels good to know someone has listened to what i said and found it thought-provoking. :)
@human: If you can so easily dismiss the potential of a technology like Thorium as simply 'that shit in your link' then I see why you will miss the potential for crypto. We're having this conversation because of cheap, accessible technology and energy. I suggest you don't buy into elite narratives that try to convince you that's a bad thing. Nobody has to mine if the nuclear reactors are being utilized.
If people only ever create and hoard internet bucks they will be worth nothing. There's a lot of speculation currently but it's based on a potential future use-value (which won't be there for many altcoins, but a few important ones will emerge and be exchanged for value).
Not everyone just submits to corporate pressure.
dns: "Giving and receiving is economic consideration"
i don't agree.
and i have no interest in using cryptocurrencies, no matter how you promote them.
dns, in an anarchist society a group will have to mine thorium, extract it and enrichit, and mine uranium, extract it, and also enrich it because without uranium a thorium reactor is useless. Then there'd need to be people to build and maintain the facility to house the reactor and the infrastructure and grid and so many more things more than a person sitting in a chair. You really believe that that is remotely possible without hierarchy, exploitation, and turning the area into a wasteland, so people elsewhere can make & hoard internet bucks. Or maybe you haven't really thought it through..."The coconut revolution" documentary doesn't help your case. If you watched it, you'd notice the people that lived there weren't down with the capitalist at the approval of the state, turning their home into a giant wasteland from mining any further. Anyways, I haven't seen you write how anarchism is compatible with internet bucks and this repetitive discussion is giving me gas. I don't think you've convinced anyone tbh
dns: "what's important about anarchy, as I understand it, is that neither of us, ultimately, is going to attempt to use a coercive State apparatus to impose what we might think is 'right' on the other. That's a far more important principle than whatever expedient tools we might promote or use to improve our world."
yes, i agree.
"neither of us, ultimately, is going to attempt to use a coercive State apparatus to impose what we might think is 'right' on the other. That's a far more important principle ..."
i agree with the first sentence. however, based on that and everything else you have said, i think there is a major difference in principles. for you, the principle is "no state apparatus". my corresponding principle might be "no authoritarian/coercive apparatus of any sort". capitalism (as well as communism and any other form of institutional economics) is another such apparatus; which happens to be co-dependent with the state. so is institutional religion. so is industrial technology. on and on.
i would also point out that for many anarchists, means and ends are integrally related, and so using any available tools - even ones that create and promote authoritarian relations, like economics - to reach one's goals might in fact be contrary to one's principles.
my primary issue with your perspective, once again, is your myopic view that the state is the single authoritarian, coercive institution, and it is the sole enemy of liberatory desires. i find that view limiting, naive and severely problematic from an anarchist perspective.
that is why in my view there cannot possibly be a single, "best" way for all individuals to live. yet the continued pursuit of exactly that is probably the most prevalent source of authoritarian behavior in the modern human world.
i agree with funky@ here, dns, but more to the point, i wonder why you continue this conversation? perhaps i'm impatient or missing something, but you don't seem to be listening at all. there are fundamental disagreements with your analysis, and you just want to continue talking about what could be called the symptoms of the problem...
that said, i'm not interested in a back and forth with you, as sisyphus is not my favorite role play. so, carry on, i guess...
@ funky: where have I said that "the state is ... the sole enemy of liberatory desires."? A straw man.
@dot. That's partly why I continue the conversation. No one likes to be mis-represented. "Fundamental disagreements" are a reason to continue a discussion, not end one. Unless the only purpose for a forum is as a place to re-assure oneself of being 'right'. I have been trying to address the issue of value exchange because it appears to be fundamental to this question. I didn't raise the mining, energy or 'self-destructive striving for timelessness' issues. If I wasn't listening I wouldn't be addressing the issues that people are raising. Are you listening to what I'm saying because, so far, there's a lot of agreement about things I never said?
@bornagain: my assertion is not that "cryptos somehow don't involve the state and the economic system". Of course they do. I'm saying that for crypto to assist in enabling anarchic relations ('gifting', free economy etc.) crypto needs to be understood and used in a way that keeps it true to it's intended purpose - functioning outside the State. I believe it is possible if it's understood and used correctly (the best example I can think of currently is Monero, but there will be/are others). Of course the State will attempt to co-opt cryptos and bring out 'StateCoin' of some kind and try and sell it as 'revolutionary' and 'freeing' etc., in which case I suggest that kind of crypto should be rejected.
If you want to insist that whatever I say about crypto misses the point because I don't understand what 'value' fundamentally is then I would suggest it will remain exactly the same thing that it has been for thousands of years and I'm happy to agree to disagree on that point.
dns, okay, one more shot at this.i don't say you miss the point because you don't understand what 'value' fundamentally is.i say you miss the point that some people do not desire relations based on numerical value exchange.'gifting', as i mean it, implies a lack of value exchange, not a different mechanism to facilitate or measure it.i say gifting functions outside the economic and state systems. you say that gifting is economic consideration.you said that cryptos do involve the state and economic systems. but you also say the original intent is to function outside the state.so you want to work with a value exchange system that currently involves the state and its economic system, in an attempt to move it outside of the state/economic system.i want to do something fundamentally different.....relate in a way that the state and economic systems do not recognize. already outside of it. without monetary consideration.i think you haven't listened because i haven't heard you recognize this difference. yeah, you want to pursue other currencies, and i don't, on this we agree. but the deeper difference lies in a way of relating. no big deal. i don't want to convince you to relate the way i do. but i don't see the point of further discussion if we can't even agree about what we don't agree about.
the "fundamental" difference, i think, comes down to our desires. i don't see it as a matter of "rightness". i can see how a disagreement about methods could act as a starting point for more exploration, if we thought we desired the same thing. but if the main difference comes down to one of differing desires and ways of relating.... then i don't see how we could discuss any methods or ways of experimenting toward those conflicting ends.
@dot: Is 'i wonder why you continue this conversation? ... encouraging talk?
@bornagain: 'one more shot' sounds like you want to convince me of something. If "some people do not desire relations based on numerical value exchange" that's fine. If I want to transact for food, shelter etc. in a way that cannot be monitored and extorted by the State I need away to do that in this World. Is everything I need going to be 'gifted' to me? I'm not going to wait for such a state of affairs to arise and fortunately I don't need to. I'll just use crypto with other like minded people.
Cryptos involve the State insofar as the State will do everything it deems necessary to destroy an alternate financial system because it can only exist by extorting value from that system.
I recognize there can be a fundamental difference in our desires. That's ok and anyway should be reflected in whatever economic system we subscribe to. It may have appeared I wasn't listening because I believe this distinction is irrelevant to the most important and pressing issue for anarchists - the coercive, violent force of the State. Crypto is using maths to obscure the transactions (for Monero, if not Bitcoin) and thus prevents interference. It is not necessary to question/change the fundamental nature of value exchange in this process (although you can, of course, if you want). To me that's important because I don't believe most people are suddenly going to start gifting on a large scale, but some are beginning to use crypto.
Our conflicting desires are not conflicting ends when they are mediated through a value exchange system (or, I imagine, a gifting system) because neither of us is forced to interact. That's why I don't see that aspect as the problem.
Being able to function outside of the State so that it is unable to re-create itself using value derived from our labor is the problem that I believe the original question addresses (otherwise why would we care?).
I hope that crypto becomes something more than just an experiment because it actually provides a mechanism for avoiding the State. There are many people who question how that State functions but very few who provide a mechanism for doing something about it.
I understand you don't like this particular mechanism, believe it's incompatible with anarchy and believe that gifting is a better solution. I suggest it's an improvement on what currently exists and has the potential to more effectively counter one of anarchy's biggest issues. To that extent we've already had the discussion.
this is also my last time trying to explain where our ideas differ. like every libertarian and ancap i have ever had discussions with, you seem to be convinced that there is common ground where in fact there is none. i acknowledge that we both would probably like to see a world without authoritarian relations; but there is clearly an irreconcilable difference in what we see as authoritarian.
cryptocurrencies are somewhat decentralized, but still created (mined) and controlled by a relatively small group of "privileged" specialists. sure, anyone can choose to be one of those privileged specialists (if they have the resources and skills). but anyone can also choose to run for office in the government. does that make government any less authoritarian? [preemption: that is an analogy, not a straw man. if you don't see it as a valid analogy, explain why.]
"Our conflicting desires are not conflicting ends when they are mediated through a value exchange system (or, I imagine, a gifting system) because neither of us is forced to interact. That's why I don't see that aspect as the problem. "
that demonstrates your myopic perspective. the fact that one is not forced to interact with a particular system does not mean they are not impacted by that system (in massive ways). the system you are talking about is one that requires exploitation and hoarding of resources on a global scale. the fact that someone is not forced to engage with that system does not mean they have not been dramatically impacted by it - almost always involuntarily, btw. there is ample evidence of that everywhere you look around this world.
[btw, mediation in the way you are referring to it is the antithesis of direct action, a core anarchist principle in my view.]
dot, thanks for the kind words....and your efforts toward providing this site. skyline, thanks.
dns, i don't want to convince you. i wanted to express something to you that you seem to keep ignoring.
i don't subscribe to any economic system. "gifting", as i mean it, does not imply a "system", or "transactions".
you don't need to wait for "a state of affairs to arise"....you simply give to someone or receive something from someone without money, without adding or reducing numbers as a representation, without accumulation. you can do that at any moment, without any new technology, without monitoring by the state in any way.
you said this:
"I recognize there can be a fundamental difference in our desires."
and your very next sentence:
"That's ok and anyway should be reflected in whatever economic system we subscribe to."
you seem to miss the point that the difference lies between desiring an economic system (you), and not desiring one (me), because you keep framing the difference as desires for different economic systems.
without numbers, without abstract representation, without accounting, without accumulation, without constant regard for "transactions", you do not have economics.
dot: "plenty of cultures have not had money and had hierarchy"
which led me to think....have any cultures that had money, not had hierarchy?
none that i know of.