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Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

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+6 votes
Is it possible to have without conflicting with the opposition to hierarchy? Someone with more money could use it as a means to assert domination over you or hire others to do the same. But it's also an effective means to distribute resources. Is trade & barter considered a form of currency?

Also, how do you think resources can be distributed without any form of currency, where everything is held in common? Not saying you should know, just looking for ideas.
sorry, there should be a "currency" somewhere in that first sentence
Cryptocurrency is compatible with anarchism due primarily to it's de-centralized nature.
I'd like to concur with simply-dot on this one, and violently reject dotnetspec's appeal to secret-currency as an anarchist tool.

The concept of 'having' is an abstraction.  It indicates some sort of timeless quality about both the possessor and the possesee, a timelessness that is absent from this time saturated existence, and even the dichotomy of possession is to my mind false.  It is only when conceiving of oneself in terms of the things one 'has' that measurement and quantification become possible.  It is in this quantification and measurement that you can see the tendency of this mindset to reduce unique entities, by mediating them through the concept of 'value', to equivalent, quantifiable 'stuff'.
This reduction and quantification, this self-destructive striving for timelessness I see as inherent in this measurement of the world, is antithetical to my anarchy.  I want less mediation, more immediacy, more real connections with people, with nature, with the totality of actual experience.

Or at least I say I do.  What I actually seem to want is more Pokémon, but thats just a personal daemon.
us gamers will have a hard time atr. maybe we can make pokemon by hand for you? a themed easter egg hunt seems do-able.

@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?

bitcoin is traded on the stock exchange (which now even has futures markets on them), and purchased and valued in dollars, completely still tied into the state and capitalism...also, the "mining" uses tons of electricity...electricity generated by businesses and states for profit in dollars....not to mention the problems created by the need for even more electricity.

on top of that, the government officially taxes barter transactions and local currency (something i once got involved with until i realized the same mindset occurs in local currencies as it does in capitalism) transactions, so something purchased or sold in bitcoins still will get taxed by the state, and the state tracks the capitals gains/losses made from sales of bitcoins which feed into the tax/monetary system.

all this says to, not compatible at all with anarchy.

and you can easily find ways to not have the irs knocking at your door.
@dotnetspec You know full well that isn't what I'd say, nor that if I said it that they would leave me alone.  But that isn't relevant to whether or not 'having' is an abstraction, or that worrying about what you 'have' is self destructive. Pretty feeble stuff.
@shinmin: crypto (disclaimer: in theory) enables you to say nothing to them and for them to have nothing to 'pin' on you. That's quite important if you're serious about surviving outside the system. Talking about 'having' as an abstraction when others have risked a great deal and committed a lot of time and energy to give us an alternative to the banking system is 'pretty feeble stuff'.

@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 find the links (or cryptos) useful, because i do not want a monetized life. i don't want a different money system. i don't want a business. i don't want to buy from businesses.

and while i don't avoid it (money) completely right now, i have no interest in perpetuating the ideology of life in economic terms.

yes, the more you make, the more you risk the irs knocking....which is why i make as little as i possibly can to easily avoid it....while still living as healthily and happily as i can. i don't want incentives to make more money.

@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.

nodding my head with very similar feelings and thoughts, skyline....

i don't feel all that great at it (creating anarchy) either much of the time, but i do get enjoyment out of trying.
i too agree with much of what you said there, sky. perhaps the last paragraph most of all.
an anarchist currency may be a commonly valued resource. For example, some hierarchical societies in the past used wheat as a form of currency because it's so heavily produced and useful to anyone with the technology to turn it into food.

I guess you could argue that in an internet society, bitcoins are valuable to everyone, but all people can't be on the internet all of the time, only some of them can be on the internet some of the time. Gamers await the singularity?
@all: Appreciate your comments. It's entirely a personal choice, of course, if you want to engage less with the system and the economy. For me anarchy is all about choice and freedom. I simply object to the removal of choice in the current system as we are all forced to finance the State and use it's hogtied financial system. That is an immediate, pressing, 'real world' problem we all confront on a daily basis and I believe that counter economics is a way to provide an alternative for those, like me, who still want to live a monetized life (even if that perspective has it's flaws).

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 completely understand your suspicions and they're not unfounded. The potential for it becoming just another centralized system is real. There's no point in jumping from the frying pan into the fire. There's no reason to accept something that we don't properly understand.

I think it would be very hard to create a social system without value transfer of some kind and a flexible and autonomous option like crypto, used properly, is a good alternative in my opinion.

I agree about being happier and enjoying whatever you're doing. If you find crypto depressing then, fair enough, leave it alone. Personally I'm a lot happier knowing I have a store of value that can be transferred but can't be touched by the State and knowing there are many others in a similar position.
dns: while i disagree with your perspective, i appreciate your ability to express it. especially in the face of clear opposition.

i myself had a rather lengthy career in software development; i can wrap my head around cryptocurrencies just fine. they have no place in my desired world, but they obviously have a place in yours. i would caution your optimism about the state not being able to touch it, and about decentralization being some panacea.

as i said in one of my first comments on this topic: while i personally have no use for cryptocurrency, i think there could be some more liberatory uses for the blockchain network technology that underlies cryptocurrencies, if they can find a better solution for proof of work.

@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.

@nihilist: my mobile phone is on every waking moment. I'm not unusual. That makes 'internet money' far more accessible than fiat cash for e.g.

It's a good reason to make the Internet accessible to everyone, not to neglect the potential for crypto, especially when compared to alternatives such as wheat.

@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. ;)

@human I agree but... why comic sans?  I'm not angry, just disappointed.


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 ...


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".

@bornagainanarchist Fuck I missed that normative statement thing... good point

@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).

@sky: we're going from energy to mining to manufacturing in general. Whether the Internet actually derives from 'congealed violence' is surely a topic for another thread?

The State itself is clearly violently coercive. It doesn't like to present itself in that way, of course, and works hand in glove with corporations so that when we're not kowtowing to the latest State regulations directly we're indirectly kowtowing to the latest directives from bosses at work. But we [by 'we' I mean society at large] can leave the corporations (for those who really can't I regret their circumstance, but not being clear about my relation to work isn't going to help them). Seems like others on this site have done it. We can't just not co-operate with the State unless we want to invite violence into our lives. That's not (yet) the case with the corporations, although I agree they can be coercive. It's difficult enough asking people to recognize the violently coercive nature of the State, despite it being patently obvious. Once that's clearly established it's easier to move on to issues of corporate coercion (which is generally more economically based). That 'standard' doesn't satisfy me either, but the distinction between what is perceived generally as the moral authority to use violence to enforce the State's will and the powers available to a corporation is important.

What is your solution to the problem of addiction?

Where have I suggested 'lower taxes'? A straw man. I have suggested no taxes. Zero. What has that got to do with societies with no currency?

Generally there is resistance to the clear recognition of a simple reality - the violently coercive nature of the State. Whilst gifting may, one day, be a more enlightened way in which we interact I believe the more pressing concern is those elements who consider they have the moral authority to rob me, and everyone else, at gunpoint to fund whatever schemes they deem righteous, including wars and the expansion of their own extortion racket. It's a long way from 'gifting'.
dns, "gifting" happens every day....with friends, family, strangers.

the difference perhaps in how you look at anarchy and myself (and probably the others on this site where you find disagreement) comes from a perceived "future world" on your part, versus creating anarchy in life today. i don't look to a globe of gifting in the future....i want to remove economic thinking and relating from my life (as much as i can) today in my relationships with other people, the land/air/water, the creatures of this earth....

i agree with you about the reluctance of most people to acknowledge the violent and coercive nature of the state....

but i don't seek to convince or reason with people in an attempt to get them to see that by providing some alternative "society".....i seek to relate to them in non-economic, non-authoritative terms....sometimes that means i resist or attack, sometimes that means i give or receive without economic consideration.
This thread has a pleasing Sisyphean nature to 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!

bornagain ugh!
also, last week's anews podcast (#54) editorial referenced your eprime post, bornagain. if you don't listen to that. it was about language.

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. 

"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?"

correction: fiat currency is WAY more common than internet currency, hence way more accessible and usable. Right now a single bitcoin is worth thousands of dollars, and even though you can buy fractions of bitcoins, they are useful in much fewer places.

@other folks: the point i was trying to make about work and the internet is that aside from the environmental impacts, it requires an incredible amount of TIME to maintain, and that time must be hierarchically organized...once the miners get a taste of the video game action and lulz of the internet, it's going to be harder to keep them in the mines without some threats and punishments.

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. :)

@all: does anyone else get "Could not establish database connection. Please check the username, password and hostname in the config file, and if necessary set up the appropriate MySQL user and privileges."? It's happening intermittently without any changes at my end. I searched for a thread but there is no match. Thanks.

@bornagain: we might be gifting with strangers (in my case unknowingly), but our economic dependencies (shelter, bills etc.) require value exchange in life today. We [as in society generally] can only get what we want if we change something (unless entirely satisfied with status quo). Crypto represents an improvement in the unfair value exchange system we currently have if it's used properly.

Giving and receiving is economic consideration

@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.

@funky: De-centralization implies greater personal responsibility for e.g. if a market is de-regulated and there is no central State oversight, as a consumer I will need to make more effort to ensure I don't get conned. Perhaps there's another thread on this or you could start one?

I meant that if I wanted to send you a donation for e.g. and I was on a bus I could do it immediately with crypto via my mobile phone. With fiat much more troublesome, expensive and crucially centralized (e.g. PayPal). What if the State orders PayPal not to allow you to receive donations because of your political beliefs? This 'gift' donation is one way in which a "monetized, capitalist world could possibly exist without the state". Why should the State be the arbiter of whether or not I 'gift' you? If I take personal responsibility for my money and cut the centralized State out of the equation you and I can decide how we want to express our value relations without having that expression censored into conformity with the banking elites. Is that a possibility worth contemplating? I think so.

Are nuclear engineers more or less 'exploited' than those 'toiling in mines'?

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.

"Are nuclear engineers more or less 'exploited' than those 'toiling in mines'?"

Perhaps. To me having a cushy desk job would be worse than getting payed an okay salary to do manual labor, of course depending on other factors. I think it's a miserable trick for system to convince people that they will be happy if they can make it to that "reputable" high paying job in an office. I've already given myself a semi-permanent back injury from sitting too much.
@bornagain: 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. I'll use it, you won't. No problem.

@nihilist: Agreed. The idea that you've somehow 'made it' by committing yourself to 30+ years inside a cubicle is obviously programmed via social conditioning and 'education'. A mental prison cell. I'll decide who I am and am not 'exploited' by and I don't need an 'authority' to 'protect' me from it (as if that was really ever possible anyway).

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

@human: an anarchist society isn't the end of work, but it is the end of violent coercion by a monopoly. My point was that using Thorium would reduce the negatives for whoever chose to work in that environment and make power (whatever we decide to do with it) much cheaper for the rest of society. I have thought it through and my conclusion is I suggest that would be a good thing.

My 'case', with regards to the film, was just about submitting to corporate pressure and I felt, given the discussion, you and/or others might be interested in it. Not saying it's wrong, I just don't understand your statement about 'down with the capitalist at the approval of the state'(?).

If you haven't seen anything I've already written about how I believe not being forced to use the State's financial apparatus to mediate all economic activity is useful to an anarchist then you've simply not looked.

I don't particularly expect to 'convince'. Add a another perspective to the debate perhaps.

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...

well said, funky.

dns, while i agreed with your comment about not using coercive state apparatuses....i completely disagree with your assertion that cryptos somehow don't involve the state and the economic system, and as funky pointed out, the same authoritarian ideology.

as dot said, you don't seem to even acknowledge the major disagreements most people here (in various different ways of expression) have pointed seem to just keep on selling with no buyers....

okay, now i feel done with this discussion....ready for an intriguing question.

@ 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.

@bornagainanarchist Well said
one of the awesome things about this site is to see other people be patient and clear when i cannot. thanks ba@.

(it boggles my mind that DNS heard me say i don't think people should talk about their fundamental disagreements!)

@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 a
way 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" 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.

@funky: I see the State as authoritarian. Is that common ground?

It's a non sequitur. Crypto doesn't make Government more or less authoritarian. They are two separate phenomenon. Could a group of specialists become authoritarian around particular cryptos? Yes. That would be something to look out for and avoid (by moving to another crypto for e.g.). The users of crypto have to understand how it can be transacted in a de-centralized way to avoid authoritarian centralization. Hence why I emphasize currencies like Monero and exchanges like Bisq. Using a crypto requires little skill and resources. The infrastructure/ecosystem around it may be complex. This is the same as the Internet itself. Could you or I have created Facebook? Probably not, but we know how to use it. Why aren't we having this conversation on Facebook? I've deleted my account because I consider FB to be too authoritarian and centralized. Common ground? Thanks to Dot (and others [?]) for setting up this forum we have an alternative. In the financial world we have never had an alternative to State issued fiat, until now. No matter how skilled a technologist is he/she is not going to force me at gunpoint to agree to fund his technology. Anyone who runs for office in the government is. That is the difference.

You are conflating force and impact. We're all impacted by FB's influence on the world. Friends, businesses, applications etc. use it even if we don't personally. You will have a difficult time attempting to create a world devoid of 'impact' in the broad way you define it. I limit myself, for now, to the massive task of removing violent force emanating from the entity known as the State which is so widely, deeply and unquestioningly believed in by most of the World's population. If that aspiration is too myopic and limited for you I'm sorry but I only have so much time and energy as a single, isolated individual. I will focus on the problem of being forced against my will before I turn to worrying about what other systems I may be impacted by.

Arguing about how we might voluntarily mediate our wants/needs/desires when we are faced with the actual problem of being forced to support an extortion racket is a distraction that undermines effective direct action by introducing unnecessary confusion into an issue that could otherwise be quite clear.
@bornagain: I haven't ignored what you've said about gifting. You don't see it as a 'system' at all and hence, for you, there is no place for crypto as a form of money/currency to make it compatible with anarchy because, for you, no form of money currency is compatible with anarchy (they all involve some level of transacting).

For me, money/currency is just a tool, a technology, of which crypto is just an extension. Like any other tool, how it's used is critical. Used in a de-centralized way it can help to liberate us from dependency on the State financial system. That, for me, is compatible with anarchism.

It is no different, in principle, to the gun debate. By denying yourself access to powerful tools, you're simply empowering the State because the State isn't going to relinquish those tools. There is already a massive imbalance of power against ordinary people that any notions of gifting won't even begin to address. Combating that imbalance requires every resource available to be used in a way that is compatible with anarchy (de-centralized, individually empowering). Not throwing those tools away in the hope that you can live in a world that has no economic system.
dns, your first paragraph sounds close enough to what i said for me to think you've heard me.

from the second paragraph, i understand well enough how you see it.

the last paragraph sounds like you saying how much better your perspective works compared to mine, in a condescending manner to boot, leaving me with no more interest in conversation with you on this.

 i never said "i hope to live in a world with no economic system". i said that i seek to live as much as i can (giving/receiving) outside the current economic system....something i already do on a daily basis. it has nothing to do with the chances of "the state relinquishing" anything. it has everything to do with how i want to

i don't need  the "tools" you use, because i don't desire to live the way you do....because i don't see anarchy the way you do. no problem there....but i don't need you to tell me "what is required to combat the state", what i've "empowered" or not, what i should or shouldn't throw away or "deny" myself (guns, cryptos, or anything else). thanks for providing me a clear exit point from this conversation with you.
To the question of whether the fiscal administration will leave you alone if you try to teach the auditor that "having" is an illusion. No. I kinda tried that and spent all 2017 getting figuratively punched in the nuts for it, over and over again.
@Syrphant undoubtedly
@bornagain: the perceived condescension was unintentional. Insofar as you felt it I apologize. However, none of my points are intended to be taken personally.

I am trying to address the harsh reality that we all face when we [society in general] confront, or at least withdraw consent from, the State. What to do when the State comes looking for you because you didn't conform? They prefer to rob because physical violence is less subtle and doesn't sustain the lie of consent so well. I'm not telling you personally what to do, I'm suggesting that we all need effective alternatives if we are to stand any chance at all. Some may agree, some not. That's the debate. Why leave now that it's getting interesting?
@dotnetspec  i think the reason that many are finding this conversation lacking in fruit is the because there seems to be a lot of arguing past each other.

the state as you discuss it seems to be an object, or some sort of entity 'the State' -your capitalisation-.  what is the nature of this thing you refer to as the State?

we [society in general] are the state.  the state manifests itself in and amongst the minds of those in society, including my own.  the vast majority of people have no desire to confront -or withdraw consent from- the state.  if they did, the would not act as [society in general] but as a multitude of individuals. i for one will not be waiting for [society in general] to withdraw consent, and as such i have no desire to orient my theory and discussion around mass movements.

even if i did think mass opposition likely, i would still frame my anarchy from an individualist point of view.  as i have said before, we are the state.  but i am not.  a system built around a notion of a collective; what is that if not a state, or -perhaps- a State?  this is why i resist systems; they only make sense from the point of view of a plurality.  /i/ am not a plurality. i doubt very much you are either, so why is it you are so focused on theorizing from the point of view of this thing you call 'society'?
well said, shin...
dns, i already have alternatives to living the ideology of state and economics....yours just don't interest me enough for further discussion. i don't think mine interest you. i have no desire to "debate"  what appeals to each of us, or how we each resist/attack/elude the state and monetary system.

i would enjoy sharing/reading stories about how our resistance to the state and monetary system has played out in our lives....

i like to hear people's experiences and explorations when living against the state, and the joy and pain that comes with that. but i don't know "what we all need", and i don't find it useful or enjoyable to imagine from that  perspective.

@sky: "the nature of this thing you refer to as the State" - I agree, it's a state of mind. It's a pervasive myth (like Santa Claus). I aspire for a mass movement consisting of multitudes of individuals. "Mass movement" only in the sense that going from our current condition "the vast majority of people have no desire to confront - or withdraw consent from- the state" to a mass change in mindset wherein doing so is understood to be necessary for freedom of the individual. Unfortunately, until a critical mass of people understand this, Statist thinking will pervade every discussion and will influence the actions (ultimately violent) that Statists believe they have the right to inflict on others.

"even if i did think mass opposition likely, i would still frame my anarchy from an individualist point of view" - me too. I am not advocating a system but rather de-programming from a system (of thought and action).

"why is it you are so focused on theorizing from the point of view of this thing you call 'society'?" 'Society', 'we', 'the State', etc. they are all labels of convenience. Currently the vast majority of society believes in the righteousness of the State to exercise violent coercion on their behalf. Ultimately this means that there is simply a large number of individuals who believe this and one-to-one it's possible to debate the issue as individuals.

Whilst technology is providing us with the tools to reach a relatively large number of individuals I believe now is the time to take advantage of it because there are clearly moves to shut this kind of debate down.

@bornagain: I know I need a different state of mind among a sufficient number of my fellow humans such that enough realize the inherent immorality of forcing their opinions on me by coercion and violence, for my own freedom to be more fully realized. That's not because I enjoy debating or telling stories particularly. It's because that state of mind results in acts of aggression against me and others who think like me. Otherwise I'd be content to let them think whatever they like.

I'm not particularly interested in "people's experiences and explorations when living against the state". If they don't know already they'll soon find out that there's not much joy and plenty of pain. I don't know "what we all need" either. But I know what I don't need. If anyone can honestly tell me they believe they need more extortion, coercion and violence in their lives then we could agree to differ on lifestyle choice. For me, it's relatively clear because I do find it useful, if not necessarily enjoyable, to distinguish between what is real and what is imaginary.

The possibility of using crypto to avoid confronting the State and simultaneously withdrawing consent from it is real. I understand that you are not interested in it and that's your choice. I'm suggesting that it represents a viable alternative for others who may want to have a choice and that by doing so they are in acting in a way that is entirely compatible with anarchy.

how do you reconcile your statement that you are not interested in 'people's experiences and explorations when living against the state' and your insistence that you frame your anarchy from the point of view of the individual?

what is this 'inherent immorality' you talk about?  what is anarchic about trying to affirm the existence of an absolute, totalising rulebook?

dns, i've experienced more joy and less pain living against the state and the monetary opposed to what i feel when living by using the monetary system and conforming to the state. the pain, anger, and despair i felt in my life when trying to conform actually led me to living more anarchically and to seek out more ways of eluding/withdrawing/fooling/confronting the state and economic system.

so what you said people will find out (more pain, less joy) if they live against the state and money system differs greatly from what i've experienced in my explorations. i know that doesn't interest you, but my experience doesn't match your assertion at all.

i don't know what you mean about people honestly saying they want more coercion....i certainly don't. but morality, i've left that concept behind me.

@sky: I'm not interested in the sense of telling stories. I could tell a few. I'm sure everyone here could. I'm interested in what can be done about it. A shared consciousness regarding the sovereignty of the individual and tools to help that shared consciousness become a reality. Currently, in wider society, we have neither. In this forum there is a level of consciousness, which is why I'm here. I'm suggesting you're turning your backs on potentially important and useful tools and I have tried to explain why I hold that position. We appear to have generally agreed to disagree on the point.

The 'inherent immorality' I'm referring to is the violence that comes from the belief that rights that individuals do not themselves posses can be assigned to others who then somehow assume 'authority' and believe they act in such capacity on behalf of the 'State'. Without the violence the State dissolves and hence it is inherent to the State.

What is this 'absolute, totalising rulebook' you talk about?

@bornagain: I was speaking somewhat from the conventional worldview that having insecure income, harassment from the State, social ostracism and ridicule etc. is normally understood to be 'painful' to some extent. This tends to be the experience when someone starts to seriously question the nature of State power and act accordingly in their own life. However, I agree with you that these things do not, ultimately, undermine the joy of releasing one's mind from the fetters of State controlled delusion. I'm very pleased that's been your experience and it's been mine too.

However, I believe more could be done (than simply freeing up one's own mind) and now is a good time to do it. The easier it is for others to take a step towards freedom the better the environment is for all of us [society in general]. I believe the de-centralized nature of some cryptos could go some way towards helping people take that step (e.g. never needing to open a bank account). There are other important areas to consider of course, but finances are integral to most people's lives.

What I meant was that, when pressed, almost no-one honestly believes they want more coercion. I put it that way because I cannot assume to know others needs/desires. However, we appear to agree on this.

Not sure where morality came in but for me the position is, again, simple. Don't mind what it is as long as it isn't violently imposed upon me and I would assume, based on last para above, we'd agree that goes for everyone else as well.
dns, if the cryptos at some point help you to live more freely, i'd like to hear about your experiences with it.

for me, doing things without economics has done that.

when i first decided to put a lot of effort toward getting out (as much as i could) of the monetary system, i got heavily involved for about a year and a half with both a local currency, and a "lets" (local exchange trading system) and those experiences (along with my whole live enveloped in the state money system) led me to decide to  not want any sort of numerical/monetary system.

around that same time i participated in "gift circles" which did not involve accounting, numerical values, or the creation of any type of "money"....i found that experience more freeing. it also created a totally different way of relating, whereas the LETS and local currency replicated a lot of the same mindset of capitalism. the gift circles also ended up creating much more interaction and sharing of stuff, skills, etc. than the currency did. and it allowed me to diminish my reliance on the state monetary system a lot more. something that has continued for me over the past ten years or so. the local currency and LETS did not do that at all - they actually created more of the same type of stress in my life that the money system creates. so that's part of my story...
@bornagain: I think those are relevant experiences to the discussion topic here and I wonder now why it took us so long to get to simply share this kind of relevant information. It might be linked to our different approaches. Mine could perhaps be labelled more 'extrinsic' (there's something wrong with the 'system' out there in the world that needs to be changed) and yours perhaps more 'intrinsic' (I need to adjust my personal behavior to influence the world around me for the better). Both approaches have merits and each individual will decide for themselves how they want to balance the two in their own lives.

To clarify I am no supporter of State run capitalism, which for me, manages to combine the worst aspects of both economic approaches in a way that can always be manipulated to the advantage of the most powerful State/capitalist actors. I support an unfettered free market, which certainly allows for charity, gifting or an other form of co-operation that people may want to undertake, so long as they don't turn to violent aggression to achieve it.

I accept that you found the experience of gifting more freeing. I have certain preconceived notions that it would be a little idealistic and impractical. But, to be fair, I haven't tried it myself so there may be aspects of it I don't fully appreciate currently.

To answer your first point last: In a simple sense it's been freeing in that speculative investment in crypto has paid off and I now worry less about bills etc. But that's just speculation. I have been offering my services for crypto for the past 5 years. No-one has yet offered to pay me in crypto (I have relatively few clients, so perhaps not that surprising). If they did the transaction would never go through 'official' channels and a counter-economic 'black market' would have been created. I myself have transacted in crypto, although it is only accepted in relatively few places so far. In theory therefore, I could transact entirely outside the State for all my needs/desires. It's a question of ubiquity. The network effect. The more widely accepted it is, the more powerful a counter-economic tool it becomes. I believe it's compatible with anarchism simply because it by-passes the State, which, for me, is priority number one. I wasn't really contemplating deeper discussions regarding the nature of transacting. Not because they're not important, but because the more pressing, immediate and oppressive problem, for me, and I believe many others, is the extortion of the State used to sustain it's own existence.
dns, thanks for your reply. the immediate and oppressive problem of the state and economy that you  mentioned, i also feel.

i've had my haircut for free for over 10 years now by a few different people. i don't know anywhere i could currently get it cut using cryptos (nor do i have any). so "gifting" works both practically and immediately for me.....and my haircut certainly didn't go through any official channels....the economic system doesn't even recognize that it occurred (like it would if i paid money to someone).

to "try gifting", you only need to offer something to someone who wants to receive it without asking for anything in return.....or ask for something you want to receive from someone who wants to give it.

i've even received quite a few things i wanted that i asked for to no one in particular - basically just putting my intention toward it.

and i've found it important to keep the mentality of wanting to give what i have to offer in this same way. the biggest challenge (as strange as it first seemed to me) was that a lot of people feel reluctant to receive something as a gift (other than on their birthday or christmas). but i keep offering, and the flow of giving and receiving has continued for me the more i do this. in many instances, i feel like i both give and receive simultaneously - i feel like i've given something by my willingness to receive another's gift, and i feel like i receive something when someone willingly accepts mine.

@dns the 'inherent immorality' you talk about doesnt seem to be 'inherent', and 'immorality' as a concept would need further explanation -for me to understand it, at least-.  it doesnt seem plausible to me that you could determine -in some objective sense- whether a particular act is violent.  certainly there are some obvious cases, that most people would see as violent, but that many would see as justified.  to my mind, any line you draw to seperate 'violent' acts from 'non-violent' acts is arbitrary; there is no 'objective' quality violent existent in the world.  if its not existent independent of judgement, its not inherent.

the totalising rulebook i talk about is morality

you say you theorize from an individualistic perspective, and yet you tend to talk about 'good', 'freedom', 'morality' in some sort of 'objective' sense, clarifying them as from the perspective of society; 'The easier it is for others to take a step towards freedom the better the environment is for all of us [society in general].'

i think your categorization of 'the good' as 'Don't mind what it is as long as it isn't violently imposed upon me' or -negatively framed- as 'the inherent immorality of forcing their opinions on me by coercion and violence'.  as i have mentioned, i do not think that analysing something as 'violent' is in any way 'objective'.  you invoke the idea of 'sovereignty' of the individual.  i do not understand what this means.  when i hear sovereignty i think of the rights of rulers.  if it wasnt clear, i dont believe in 'rights'.  but i also think dont describing yourself as the 'ruler' of your body or yourself is accurate either; how can you rule something that in every way restricts and defines what you are?  how can you rule without being seperate?

yes, i'd also like to know your meaning of "inherent immorality", dns.

when i mentioned "leaving the concept of morality behind me" earlier, i meant to refer to your statement about "inherent immorality".

@bornagain: what I like is that you 'walk the talk', putting your ideas into practice (praxis). Gifting does bypass the State but is much less likely to be widely adopted than crypto for larger purchases, for determining the value of economic activity and for keeping track. I appreciate you have rejected at least the last two but, for anarchists who don't, the ability to do these things and bypass the State is, I suggest, enormously useful.

@bornagain/sky: in what way is the 'inherent immorality' I talk about not 'inherent'? Taking violent physical aggression as the premise for 'immorality', and "existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute" as the definition for inherent, I am stating that violence is essential to the existence of the State.

Please note that I am referring to "violent physical aggression", not 'violence' per se, which may be defensive (and hence not immoral) for example. This is the line I draw. I suggest it sets a universal, objective standard and that it's broad application would necessarily severely undermine the power of the State as we know it today.

If you are not sure you could give me different scenarios and I would state whether I believe they fall into the violent/non-violent category. It wouldn't be perfect and there may be plenty of disagreement on the nuances. However, it would be clear that the State, in many of it's 'essential' operations, functions violently according to this characterization of violence. Probably should be in another thread (perhaps you're authorized to create one?). However that debate turns out I believe the result would add more clarity than "there is no 'objective' quality violent existent in the world" that I suggest plays nicely into the hands of the State as they break down doors to collect tax and start their next war etc.

Where did I say that I theorize from an individualistic perspective? It is true that I seek ways to empower the individual relative to the State, if that's what you're referring to(?). All individuals, not just myself. To do that it's necessary to refer to objective, universal principles. I believe the non-aggression principle (NAP) for example, applied universally, improves the freedom of the individual.

Being able to restrict and define what you are is a huge improvement over the State being able to restrict and define what you are, which is the current circumstance. It simply means no-one, badge wearing or otherwise, has the right to violently impose their ideas onto [all] our lives.


i appreciate your efforts in communicating here....and even though we see things much differently, i've mostly enjoyed the thanks for the energy you've put into it.

one last thing from me on the cryptos vs. gifting discussion....aside from the differences we already discussed between the two, i think a main difference lies in wanting to find anarchy now (me),  in contrast to thinking about a future "society" (you).  i agree with you that cryptos (if they one day were used by a large number of people and businesses) could do the things you mentioned (large purchases, keeping track, economic values). but gifting can happen (and does) much more often right now.....and i desire that immediacy.

regarding the "inherent immorality"....i wanted to know what you meant by "immorality" more than "inherent"....because i don't use the words "moral" or "immoral", and i have the impression you think of those words as some sort of objective right and wrong. as i might have said before, i don't subscribe to a moral/immoral, right/wrong view.
@bornagain: yes, thank you, I appreciate your time and efforts as well.

I am thinking in the broad sense of 'society' outside my own life mainly but I also see the issues I've suggested as being in the 'here and now' as it were. Certainly the crypto is happening right now although I'd prefer to see wider adoption and de-centralization kept firmly in mind by it's adherents. Also I am an active current participant in the which is really about today not just 'tomorrow'.

Drawing a relatively clear line and stating a position isn't easy and it makes oneself a potential target. I am also highly skeptical of anyone that attempts to establish themselves as the arbiter of moral right/wrong. Hence I limit my position to non-aggression. I believe the consequences of not doing so outweigh any potential advantages of taking a 'who am I to say that physically violent aggression is always wrong?' position. To anyone who disagrees I would be happy to debate this point. It would need to start with some statements regarding when physically violent aggression is morally 'right' in the opinion of the writer (and, for the sake of clarity on the forum, be in another thread).

i didn't mean to ask whether violent aggression is/is not morally right, or who makes the call on it.

i meant your definition of "moral" (or "right" or "wrong") itself.

you've assumed i meant "who am i to say what is right/wrong?", or "in these cases physical violence is right".....but no, i mean that i don't think in terms of right/wrong, or moral/ i don't even have a perspective that would allow for a "debate" on what "is/is not moral". i don't think aggressive physical violence (or anything else) "is wrong/immoral" or "is right/moral".

edit: after reading your comment again, i understand you to say that aggressive physical violence constitutes immorality, and as long as that doesn't happen, the action or person "is moral". in other words, you  use the phrase "aggressive physical violence" and the word "immoral" interchangeably, with no other meaning of moral or immoral. yes?

@bornagain, exactly!  you said it so easily and clearly, i clearly need to practice :)

@dotnetspec to continue just a weenie bit into the notion of using 'aggressive physical violence' and 'inherently immoral' before you answer @bornagain's question by clarifying a few things i said earlier and whatnot.  the quote i was referring to was; 'I know I need a different state of mind among a sufficient number of my fellow humans such that enough realize the inherent immorality of forcing their opinions on me by coercion and violence'.  in this case if you replace inherent immorality with 'aggressive physical violence' you get 'i need a...sufficient number of my fellow humans such that enough realise the aggressive physical violence of forcing their opinions on me with coercion and violence'.  whilst technically understandable, this tells us absolutely nothing interesting; it is trivial.  i assumed, then, that this isnt what you meant.  you willingness to use this statement as a fallback point for debate seems to further indicate that you mean these notions are seperate and distinct.
i took you to mean that there is some inherent 'property' of 'acts of [aggressive physical] violence' that make them 'immoral'.  both me and @bornagainanarchist would like to know what, in this situation, it means for an object to have the property of 'immorality'.  in other words; what is immorality?
my point about it not being inherent is that 'violence', or even 'aggressive physical violence', is not a physical property out in the world waiting to be discovered, but a judgement applied by humans to given situations; if you agree with this, then you agree it is not inherent by your own definition of inherent -existing in something as a 
permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute-.  if it is applied to a situation, it does not exist in the situation.  if it is subjective, as in related to the subject, then it is not permanent.  i wont touch essential, the word essential is utterly toxic and it gives me migraines, but thats not your fault :P if you disagree with me on this, then i would  ask you to explain your conception of 'objective violence' or 'objective aggressive physical violence' in a way that grounds it totally outside of perception, and amongst the non-subjective, and as such makes it inherent.

in response to your query about individualist theory, or theorizing from an individualist perspective, we are definitely talking about a different kind of individualistic.  what i mean is 'from the point of view of an individual'. i am drawn to this kind of individualistic thought because no matter how hard i try, or try not to try to do anything, i can never get away from me -im obviously not cut out to be a buddhist monk, though i hear they struggle with it too-.  as such, it seems to me the basic senses and raw experience i find everywhere, that which i call myself, as the basis for any further contemplation i do.  
what it seems like you are talking about is theorizing from the point of and for the 'benefit' of the individual as a general concept. for instance, you say 'All individuals, not just myself'.  in doing this you unite all 'people' under the banner 'all individuals' and theorize from the perspective of the 'all individuals'.  to me this seems like collectivism sneakily worded.  if you replaced you use of the term 'all individuals' with 'society', 'the community', or 'humanity', it doesnt much change anything.  ho hum.

@bornagain: thanks for reading carefully. Yes. Taking a 'moral' stance is generally spurious and I think we'd largely agree to steer clear of it. I make one exception, which I believe is necessary, not least as a bulwark against those who might wish to impose their 'morality' on others.

The absence of physical aggression does not make an individual 'moral'. I do not believe that theft of personal property is 'moral' for example. However, that belief doesn't give me the ability to assign the right to others to use violent aggression to retain some stolen property on my behalf. But I could ask for and/or take it back and elicit the help of others to do so.

@sky: The original statement wasn't designed to accommodate replacements. The meaning wasn't that opinions would be violent and hence immoral, but rather that the physical aggression associated with a belief in the State, would be. What is immorality? it is the forcing of an opinion through violent aggression. It could be other things which are open to debate, but, whatever they are, if they are imposed via violent aggression they become immoral imo. I believe this is a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute of morality and hence inherent. An individual is both an object and a subject. If he subjectively believes in the State and objectively carries out that belief with physical aggression then immorality inherent to the State has occurred.

Does a conception have to be totally outside of perception to make it inherent? If I perceive the State has violently aggressed against an individual is that violence somehow no longer inherent? Rather than attempting to answer your request to explain my conception of 'objective violence' or 'objective aggressive physical violence' in a way that grounds it totally outside of perception (I'm not sure I could), I believe it would be more straightforward to ask you to give real world examples wherein you believe my NAP perspective would become immoral.

My perspective is that individuals are the best determiners of their own destiny. For that same reason I cannot impose my perspective. I can suggest how that perspective may be undermined by a belief in the State. I'm not trying to get away from me, I'm trying to get away from 'them' (State actors), more specifically their violence. I believe escaping this violence assists freedom for all individuals. However, that is just my belief. Ultimately I can't speak for anyone else. I can only hope that others might agree with me. I do mean 'all individuals'. The entire population of the planet is a large number of individuals (that's what I mean by 'society'). This is a very different perspective to that of the collectivist or most other 'ists'. When pressed their vision will require physical aggression to enforce against individuals. Applying the NAP consistently, changes a great deal. It immediately abolishes the State as we know it for a start. Far from 'ho hum', for an anarchist, I suggest, that possibility should stimulate rather more interest.

nuh uh, yall did not just throw some unexamined cartesian dualism in my face!!

in your second paragraph to bornagain you say if someone takes your property you dont have the right to assign someone to take it back, but you are a allowed to take it back with help.  you dont specify anything about violence.  i guess you mean if you get a massive definitely-not-a-policeman, you have to be present for the retrieval?  who cares??  there are so many unexamined issues here, such as what it means to own something, the notion of 'rights' with which you are definitely keeping; i.e. the right to own property.  

i know it wasnt designed to accomodate replacements, that was kinda my point.  yet later in your previous post you clearly state that immorality is synonymous with, and so can be replaced by, 'violent aggression' -or at least 'forcing your opinion through violent aggression'; as if the 'your opinion' part of that statement does any of the legwork-.

"It could be other things which are open to debate, but, whatever they are, if they are imposed via violent aggression they become immoral imo"
but you have already said that immorality is the condition of being 'violently aggressive', so i can read that as if 'they are violently agressive, then they become violently agressive'.  i mean.  sure.  not exactly enlightening.
it seems to me that you mean something more than simply 'violently aggressive' by 'immoral', otherwise why bothering using both to describe the same situation?  you might want to play around with this one, before simply dismissing me.

ok for the next one imma have to put on my cartesian hat and pretend like it fits.  if you want to say that x is intrinsic to y, x has to be present in y without the presence of some third thing, z.  thats not to say that x and y and z cannot coexist.

i dont care about any of this, because i dont think you can divide experience into neat bricks.  but then, im not the person trying to say anything has intrinsic or essential properties.
the last clause of that paragraph leaves me pretty boggled; 'I believe it would be more straightforward to ask you to give real world examples wherein you believe my NAP perspective would become immoral.'   both me and @bornagain have repeatedly stated we do not know of or believe in any such concept or object as 'morality' or its counterpart 'immorality'.  failing my own use of the words, i am forced to use yours if i am to discuss these concepts with you with you.  this is fine with me; definitions are fluid and nonessential.  the n.a.p., or non aggression principle says aggression against another individual, usually including interfering with 'their property' is inherently immoral.  you then say that immoral is 'forcing you opinions with violent physical aggression' or in other words 'aggression'.  so your stance is that aggressive interference with another person is inherently aggressive interference with another person.  all of this circularity is making me dizzy!

in your next paragraph you say  'For that... reason I cannot impose my perspective'. except you can impose your perspective.  you have the capabilities.  imposition is the how the state works, after all.  what i think you mean to say is 'for that reason i do not want to impose my perspective on others', which to me has a completely different meaning.

and no, youre using massive strawman of the collectivist mindset.  if you need to forget the individual entirely to be a collectivist, then i dare you to name a single set of ideas that meets that requirement.

i believe the nap, or any other supposed 'universal' -see totalitarian- system, cannot be 'consistently applied', though that is a topic for another thread that i wont be joining.

edit; fixed the reality-algebra.  yes thats right, all of it

forgetting for a moment about morality, what "is" or "isn't" moral.....

when thinking about "aggressive physical violence" (can we call it "avp" for brevity?).....

rather than contemplating avp as an abstract concept of (im)morality (since that doesn't interest me)....

i'd rather just think about what do i do when faced directly with avp, when and in what circumstances would i act this way, what impact does it have on me or others, what do i perceive happens in the bigger picture (wars, etc)....what do i feel when i experience avp or witness it, what reactions do i have, what reactions would i like to have when involved with it....and further, what does "avp" even mean to me, how do i describe it without using a label....etc.
@sky: rather than references to Cartesian dualism, I'm attempting to give some concrete examples of where I'm coming from that anyone could relate to. Many difficult situations of a potentially violent nature are generally best handled by security professionals, but not ones that have been funded through extortion. My being 'present for the retrieval' wasn't the point. My point was that there are other circumstances (than violent aggression) that may be 'immoral' but violent aggression is a relatively clear one and one that the State is clearly guilty of. Apologists for the State will often attempt to distract from that basic reality by raising questions of 'morality' itself or confusing the issue with others such as 'ownership' etc.

If you know it wasn't designed to accommodate replacements then please don't insert them in what, again, amounts to putting words in my mouth and then, predictably, knocking down the resulting straw man. Violent aggression is just one manifestation of immorality. Making them interchangeable was your idea. Confusing the opinions with the physically violent aggression was precisely the issue that I clearly distinguished in my earlier post. Some members here take the trouble to think about what I've written and respond appropriately.

If you 'don't think you can divide experience into neat bricks ...  but then, i'm not the person trying to say anything has intrinsic or essential properties.' why are you telling me that I want to say "x is intrinsic to y, it has to be present in x without the presence of some third thing, z."? How helpful is that? Rather than telling me what I want to say, why don't you focus on what you want to say and say it? You might then find that you 'care' a little more about what you're saying.

You do not believe in any such concept or object as 'morality' or its counterpart 'immorality'. If someone was violently beaten to death right in front of you for fun what word would you use to describe that? That's not circular, it's a straightforward question.

What I think I have made clear by now is that I can voice my opinions, as anyone can, but I have no way to impose them. This is in stark contrast to the State.

Where did I say 'you need to forget the individual entirely to be a collectivist'? I refer to my comments above.

You associate the nap with a 'totalitarian system' - can you give any real world examples? Or just a hit and run?

@bornagain: I'm prepared to use the label, fraught as it is with difficulties, of 'immoral' in the case of apv. So I would ask you the same question as sky above re: someone beaten in front of you. I suggest 'immoral' is an appropriate label for a universal value (nap) held by the vast majority of people in the world, especially when they conceive of themselves as conscious individuals and not part of a violently coercive structure.

Ultimately we have to make value judgments. I don't believe we can run away from it. The fact that it is difficult and messy is all the more reason to do it ourselves, not hypocritically delegate it to politicians (generally meant, not directed at you personally).


i would describe that event as horrific.  ok, i am probably just obssessive, but i really want to communicate this, or at least get an understanding of your thoughts.  you say that your sentences arent designed to accomodate replacements.  i, unlike @bornagainanarchist -who is obviously more sensible than me-, am interested in abstract notions of (im)morality.  this leaves me puzzled, as i have no way of understand what it is you mean when you say something is immoral.  is it for you a feeling, something subjective?  or a quality present in the world?  if so, how do we detect that quality?  if it is the quality of being aggressively violent, then i am puzzled as to using both phrases to describe the same situation?  

yes sorry sometimes i dont know how best to explain my points regarding a mindset i no longer hold or truly understand :\  sorry for my -unintentionally, and therefore embarrassingly- confusing reality-algebra.  i basically just dont like the concept of 'inherent', as i think the way it is uses leads it to mean basically nothing.  however, i doubt i could communicate this thought to someone who agreed with me, so lets lave that one for later.

sorry for the misunderstanding, but that is how i understood the part containing 'The entire population of the planet is a large number of individuals (that's what I mean by 'society'). This is a very different perspective to that of the collectivist or most other 'ists'.'  to me this says that a large number of individuals isnt how collectivists view the world.  but it seems to me that they do, they just say that the totality should be considered more important than the constituent, whereas i would say the totality is a concept and not an existent object.

any system implemented universally seems to me totalitarian.  as an individualist, i dislike the idea of a system over and above my interaction with the world.

"a universal value (nap) held by the vast majority of people"

that is a contradiction. universal =/= vast majority. as if anyone could know what the "vast majority" thinks/feels/believes.

of course individuals make value judgements all the time. it is when those values are assumed to be universal or objective - or apply to anyone other than that individual - that it becomes both unrealistic and authoritarian, imo.

when i hold an apple out in front of my chest and i release it with nothing between it and the ground (and there is no big wind), it will fall to the ground. that is as objective at gets.  when i see someone getting violently beaten, my personal reaction can vary widely; from complete indifference, to curiosity, to joy, to horror, to intervention, to..  there is absolutely nothing objective or "moral" about it, it is completely dependent on my context in that moment.

universal morality is an authoritarian tool. and like every tool, it can be used in a wide variety of ways.

EDIT to last post: "I suggest 'moral' is an appropriate label for a universal value (nap) ..." [not immoral]

@sky: As I said to bornagain: "I'm prepared to use the label, fraught as it is with difficulties, of 'immoral' in the case of apv." Perhaps I detected that quality in the same way you detected 'horrific'. I will assume 'horrific' is something negative that you do not wish to see repeated. All 3 words (immoral, apv, horrific) may be applied by someone to denote something negative that they do not support but that doesn't make them interchangeable when we start getting much more specific about how they are used and their deeper meanings. I'm looking at that common understanding that I believe is shared by most people, rather than allowing the State to define what 'moral' is for us.

It's admirable that you attempt to discern abstract notions of (im)morality, but I believe that to be able to function politically and in ordinary life it is necessary to discern this one area where there is broad agreement regarding a fundamental value. The NAP is not a bad starting point and a considerable improvement over the prevailing circumstance. It's a working principle, not an abstract ideal.

If you do manage to perfect your abstract notions of (im)morality then perhaps you would do well in philosophy or ethics. Not to be dismissive but perhaps this is not the ideal thread for such a deep investigation? Whatever your conclusions the discretion would always remain with the individual anyway (for anarchists).

Apv is inherent to the State because the State ceases to be a State (as we know it today) without it. I suggest the use of 'inherent' is therefore relevant and important in this context.

Individuals being able to function in the world according to their own perceptions, aspirations etc. without those being interfered with through apv is the 'view' that matters. Collectivists will have all kinds of views (some I may even agree with), but they will always ultimately expect the State to fall back on apv to impose those views on individuals (which I will never agree with). Then totalities, concepts and existent objects can become matters for intellectual debate, for anyone so inclined, rather than an existential threat to individuals.

I agree. I am not proposing a system. Just one principle. You find the violation of that principle 'horrific', I find it 'immoral'. Not much practical difference.
@funky: please describe how you would enforce the NAP as an authoritarian tool?
" enforce the NAP" ????

for starters, the only nap i have any interest in is taking one in the afternoon if i am tired. and yes, i am familiar with the ancap idea of "non-aggression principle".

for finishers, i said universal morality is an authoritarian tool. i said nothing about your nap. and i think my example regarding violent aggression says all i need to about why i find the very concept of universal morality to be authoritarian. let me summarize in a single word: context.
dns, i don't know what you mean by "how would i describe somebody being beaten to death in front of me", other than you asking me to provide a one word label.

but i have no interest (as you do) in giving a label to a person or generalized action. nor do i care to think what the majority of other people would label them. i've tried to explain this many times already.

"somebody beaten to death in front of me" already describes.

any further description i'd give would involve the emotions i think i might feel - pain or sadness or anger or fear or shock - and how i think i might react or would like to react. my description of those emotions and thoughts would vary based on all the circumstances, the people involved, my vantage point, what i saw happen, how i felt during it, my involvement in the situation, and so on.

edit: perhaps a new thread makes more sense for this discussion....rather than one about money and currency.
ba@ - yea, probably a new or re-newed thread would be better.

searching for morality would bring up some decent existing questions, probably.

although i doubt there's much more to this back and forth at this point?
dot, yes....and yes!
@funky: The context of the discussion was the (not 'my') NAP as an authoritarian tool.

Your example regarding violent aggression tells me that if your context happened to be: "I am a law abiding, tax paying citizen and I take joy in seeing tax 'evaders' being beaten by the police", there is no problem, moral or otherwise. How could I frame any objection to that perspective if I can only make reference to 'context'?

Which is a more authoritarian approach, context only, or application of the NAP?

I appreciate your rejection of "universal morality", which is why I have limited my perspective to the NAP only. The alternative, however, is to passively accept the armed monopoly of the State as characterized in the example above.

In short, I suggest it as an anti-authoritarian principle because it cannot be enforced through apv.

Suggested new thread: 'Is the non-aggression principle' compatible with anarchy?'
what you seem to be ignoring or avoiding is the relationship between the nap and the idea of a universal morality. saying anything is "inherently wrong" is essentially the definition of universal morality.

"Which is a more authoritarian approach, context only, or application of the NAP?"

if you are a believer in the nap, then it is part of your context. you are creating a false dichotomy.

i agree, a new question/thread for this might be best. have you searched this site for "non-aggression principle"? there are several already that mention it, but your suggestion sounds like a good new question.
dns, i don't understand what you're asking me.....or how your question relates to my last comment.

i'd like to hear your thoughts on my response to your last question before answering another one.
dns: there is an article on that might be of interest to you:
funky@, it's a useless piece of writing, unfortunately, unless you're seeing something i missed?
yeah, i see it that way too. but i figured dns can decide if it is worth reading. and it does link to bitnation (and icoexaminer in general), which must make every cryptophile cream in their jeans.
Jotting down some of my favorite dotnetspec phrases from this discussion I filled three pages. Ok, to be honest the paper was turned landscape and my scribbling was messy; still, if I had a motivational poster (you know, with misty mountains or dangling kittens) for each of these stirring quotes they would cover all my walls, ceilings and floors several layers deep.

Here are my top-ten (I didn't scribble them word-for-word so I'll not use quotes):

#10: using crypto = withdrawing consent; bypass the state

#9: almost no-one honestly believes they want more coercion

#8: living against the state --> little joy, plenty of pain

#7: crypto debate like gun debate: denying yourself access to powerful tools.

#6: all the sentences using "enabling relations" and "value exchange" in a positive way.

#5: anarchy (decentralized, individually empowering)

#4: mass change in minsdet --> action (critical mass) --> freedom of the individual

#3: the actual, immediate problem: being forced to support an extortion racket.

#2: the immediate goal: removing violent force emanating from the state... widely, deeply, unquestioningly believed in;

#1: being able to restrict and define what you are

#extra bonus point: highly skeptical of anyone that attempts to establish themselves as the arbiter of moral right/wrong

@dotnetspec: awesome, generally, but I have found a few things I can disagree on:

1) you propose the non-agression principle as a pretty good universal standard for moral judgements. Too difficult if not impossible. What about lopping the head off a brocoli plant? No, I'm not joking. What about uprooting a weed?  I've struggled with it, but now I'm convinced it isn't morally wrong to use physical violence against others (usually self-destructive, but not immoral) ... but it is morally wrong to not try to defend oneself or those with whom one has active, positive relationships, direct or indirect.

2) you say that for currency to work it has to be ubiquitous. You also like that cryptocurrency transactions can't be traced. My view: one of the imperfections in our state-money system is that it is so widely accepted and convertible that it creates a very big pond in which we'll only ever be small fish.  Another imperfection is its anonymity. The same for "local money" systems. While I agree with you that "value exchange" is the basis for "enabling relations," I think we need small ponds, truly decentralized, and money should be personalized: everyone prints her own notes and had better keep her promises worth something.

The most appropriate thread on NAP appears to be:

I'll continue any NAP related discussion there.

@funky: thanks for the link. We could discuss further in

@Syrphant: I do see the NAP as morally 'right' and I haven't been convinced so far that to do so is 'wrong'. If provenance proves me incorrect on that point you'll somehow have to find a way to forgive me.

1) I'll address it in

2) Agree and I would prefer it if a certain level of cash economy remained to fall back on if the drawbacks of crypto outweigh the benefits. However, I see anonymity as an advantage. We'll only ever be small fish if we continue to subscribe to the fantasy belief that the 'State' (which is just a fiction) has the 'right' to enforce other people's views on us via apv. The ideas are far more important than the tools.

syrphant: "(bornagain might as well desire to not grow toenails as to desire to do things without economics)"

what a bunch of crap. you don't know what i desire or what i do to meet those desires, so leave me out of your analogies.

"We'll only ever be small fish if we continue to subscribe to the fantasy belief that the 'State' (which is just a fiction) has the 'right' to enforce other people's views on us via apv. "

i have a couple issues there.

1. that statement implies that you want to be a "big fish" rather than a small one. i would seriously question how that desire fits into an anti-authoritarian perspective.

2. if the state is in fact "just a fiction", then why are you so concerned about it (esp with regards to money/currency, which is in your mind somehow more concrete/factual than the state)?

but i do think that once again i have reached my limit in dealing with this discussion. until you have something different to add that does not simply repeat your same points.


1. Viewed like that I agree. I only mean no 'fish' has the 'right' to enforce other people's views on me via apv.

2. I'm not concerned if it is understood as a fiction. For us it is, for most people it is not. It is a delusional fantasy that leads to real physical violence and I am concerned about that. Society is financially and politically structured to ensure that, among other things, primarily only those who buy into the delusion will be materially rewarded. Making life materially challenging for any who question the delusion is part of how it manifests and maintains itself. Any tool, such as correctly used crypto, that can be used to alleviate that circumstance should be leveraged to do so. Again it is not my understanding of the entity 'State' that concerns me, it is the minds of the State agents who come to ensure my (and most people's) relative material poverty should I not accede to their delusion.

If anyone has issues with my points I can only attempt to clarify. If my response appears repetitive it may be because the issue raised does little to undermine the original point. But I remain grateful for the issues raised as an opportunity to clarify nonetheless.

@funky: the big-fish-small-pond image hits me often. I've never thought of it in relation to authority, just in relation to relevance.  Individuals matter more in smaller communities.  I consciously chose to specialize in a crop where there are very few experts. The same kid might just warm the bench on a big-school basketball team but be the star on a small-school team. 

What I most deeply fear for myself and others is irrelevance. I don't like globalization because very few people matter, individually, among several billion. On the other hand, in the local community even the village idiot can be something, er, special.

I tend to like what breaks big things apart; a globally recognized and accepted crypto-currency would be less useful, in the sense of making people feel important, than a bunch of highly personalized coupons that would only circulate among people who actually know each other. That said, a global crypto-currency would still be better than a global state-currency.

@bornagain. I've been thinking about it all morning and you might be right after all. At this moment my idea is that a person could choose to live without value exchange, but that would require him or her to abandon any notions/desires for fairness and/or self-esteem. Difficult but not unimaginable.

I have a little independent company, no bosses, no employees. I select new plant varieties for agriculture. I can only continue doing this as long as farmers have the willingness and ability to pay me for it. They don't have to pay me in euros, it can be eggs or lumber, but I can only specialize in plant breeding because I'm encouraged to do so by value-exchange. Otherwise, I would have to do a wider range of tasks to survive, or - god forbid - get a job. 

To make matters more complicated, plant breeding, as a business, is a bunch of overlapping long-term projects, resulting in nothing tangible. Only that imaginary stuff called intellectual property.  Farmers pay me for seed or pay me "license" fees proportional to their harvest, whatever.

Now, as a bit of an oddball/antisocial entrepreneur (does the word philosopreneur exist yet?) I've accumulated a lot of anecdotes you would probably like, bornagain.

Example: Once when a farmer was way overdue on what he had promised to pay me (agreed ahead of time as a proportion of his crop's commercial value - not even a fixed amount he might not be able to afford) I actually spewed this crap on him: "Do you appreciate what I do?" "Of course I appreciate it." "Those words don't cost you anything; saying those words don't require you to forego anything; the ONLY way you can credibly tell me you appreciate what I do is with money." 

Just thought of another anecdote, more painful: A couple years ago I basically decided I was making enough money so I just didn't invoice my favorite customers and paid my favorite suppliers more than what they asked for. To top it off, I actually sent a mass email to everyone saying that henceforth, in order to test whether organic farmers are more ethical than conventional farmers or just hypocrites, I would only accept money from organic farmers if it was clearly given in a spirit of symbiosis -- like voluntary contributions to my work. I also offered to just give a huge sum to the local farmer cooperative because a lot of the members had gotten themselves heavily indebted to their co-op.

All that got me in deep shit. Financially I'm fine, but some people got upset. Very few people understood. Someone apparently alerted the tax collector (I heard it was a farmer who thought my offer to help pay his debts was like rubbing my wealth in his face).  The state would've shut down my company, ended my activity. I had to hire lawyers; I was surrounded by parasites. The fight with the state lasted over a year -- it is just now starting to end. Meanwhile, most organic farmers I work with DID voluntarily pay me for doing what I do, despite me saying they didn't have to.

The moral of the story is, it is complicated.
@syrphant; no.

i am exactly as important in a crowd of a million people as i am in a community of a dozen precisely because i experience as an individual, and not as a fraction of a whole as you seem to imply.

it seems what you most deeply fear for yourself -and others, though to be honest the problem of others seems tacked on in your examples- is not having external validation.  if i was that baseball player, i would try not to focus on some abstract notion of 'relevance', but the actual experience of playing baseball.

not really sure why you go into detail about your life as a plant-pimp, but the anecdotes you give me about the problems and tensions you have encountered whilst interacting with people with an economical mindset do little to add to your case.  of course those people felt like you were rubbing your money in their face in a world where some abstract notion of 'success' as an individual is tied to some abstract notion of 'wealth' acquired through some /incredibly/ abstract notion of 'work'.  precisely why i dont like this economic mindset you seem to be trapped in, much to your own detriment if your anecdotes are anything to go by.  i find very few experiences become more enjoyable when viewed through the lens of a transaction, of winning and losing, of loss and gain.  i dont pay my partner for sex and company, for instance.  i dont feel that i am 'indebted' to her, or she to me.  because its not a transaction.  its a relationship; an experience.

it kinda seems to me -given your dismissal of @bornagains stated desires as either misguided or dishonest- that you have made up your mind already, and are here to convert rather that to engage.  many of the other members of the forum have pointed this out already, and adjusted their participation accordingly, but hey.  i like the sound of my own keystrokes.

@dotnetspec sorry bud, no-one is watching your ten hour video links about why taxes are bad.  seeing as crypto currency functions as an extension of the corrupt and insane economic system you post ten hour links criticising, i very much fail to get a feel as to what it is you want to actually happen with crypto currency, other than people buy the same old shit we have now, in the same old way, in the same old world full of violence, only hidden from the gubment for tax reasons.  even if it did work, thats just less taxes, not a world radically changed.
@shimin: consider the detailed real-life stories a gift of fuel for your fire.
skyline....i gotta say i love your response.....i very much feel what you expressed, and the humor made for even more enjoyable reading.

i am exactly as important in a crowd of a million people as i am in a community of a dozen precisely because i experience as an individual, and not as a fraction of a whole as you seem to imply.

this seems glaringly odd. experiencing ourselves as small when in large numbers of people is not anomalous. what does important mean if it doesn't mean the capacity to do things and be seen? both of which are lessened when surrounded by people who constrain us. simple numbers, the question of scale, is important, is the bottomline of my argument, i guess.

on the "feeling important" idea....

i understand skyline to criticize the idea of someone "being important" coming from an abstract/external/quantifying concept of one's value in relation to everyone else (the "star" player, the "expert", "the best customer", your "relevance" to some "community" etc)....

in contrast to another person seeing you deeply and more fully, and the experience that comes with that - and also in contrast to the joy of the experience itself, whether shooting basketballs or growing plants ...which can happen regardless of how many people surround you.

i have no desire to "be important" or relevant....but i do desire a deep connection with people (and animals and plants and the earth), and to experience them in a way that reveals more of us....our feelings, dreams, fears, creativity, a sensory way....not by some notion of numerical importance and ranking....but hey, maybe if i had more self-esteem, i'd want that.

syrph: "a person could choose to live without value exchange, but that would require him or her to abandon any notions/desires for fairness and/or self-esteem. "

wow. while i don't take that defensively at all, i find it hard to comprehend. leaving aside the assumed objectivity of the term "fairness" - which i reject outright, as you know - i do not see the correlation between choosing to live without value exchange and self-esteem. how does an individual's self-esteem even enter a discussion about living without value exchange? seems there is some serious misunderstanding there, and it may well be mine, since i obviously cannot grok the thought process of someone who only sees the world through an economic/transactional lens.

can you explain how self-esteem factors into the desire to live without value exchange?

shinmin: i love most of your response, but i don't think syrphant is here to convert or convince anyone. that is not the impression i get at all. at least no more so than anyone who feels strongly about their opinions/ideas, which includes most everyone here.

funky, i agree about the "fairness" notion...something i reject as well...i take it mostly as an insult when someone who does subscribe to such a notion of unfairness attributes it to me....because i know they view it as derogatory, not because i want to "be fair"....ughhh....and i woke up feeling cranky today. :)

and i also can't grok (love that word!) how self-esteem relates to a desire to live without economics.....other than something like...."well, i don't feel very good or confident about myself, so i'll never get anything in exchange from anyone", or "since i have so little to offer, i'll always come out on the losing end in any transaction, so i might as well forget about currency".....that sort of thing.

for me, i feel like the more confidence i have, the less i need any kind of transactional, numerical, abstract validation. 

i hear you, ba@. although i also desire a life without economics and value exchange as the basis for experience and relations, i didn't take that personally. maybe i'm being too loosey-goosey in my interpretations.

i guess i am not as hard on syrphant (though he might disagree) as i might be with others that i have such strong disagreements with. i think that is because i appreciate not only his humor, but also his (seemingly, to me) primarily experiential, interpersonal perspective on life. a far cry from most of the ancaps and lefty/socialist @s that i have disagreed with.

however, i did just now fully notice this comment from syrphant:

"bornagain might as well desire to not grow toenails as to desire to do things without economics"

that is a completely authoritative, "objective" way of expressing his disagreement. i agree, that is a load of crap.
yeah, f@, i do have some appreciation for the uniqueness of the way syrphant promotes an economic view.....although in some ways i feel more frustrated by the circuitous route that leads back to what i see as a very similar view to that of most people who don't call themselves anarchists, and those in positions of maintaining authority and economics....something i already experience quite enough of.

yet here i sit thinking and writing and typing....perhaps old conditioning still affects me more than i like and i appreciate your thicker skin.....

but now i feel the need to get outside and watch bees fluttering around the wildflowers....
I just gotta say, shiminmetroskyline, plant-pimp is the funniest thing I've heard in a long time :) and so true ! Now I'll forever refer to them as my girls. can't stop smiling. you win.
@sky: well it's apparent you didn't 'watch' it (actually, it's an audio book). I understand the reluctance to simply follow other people's links, and even more so when it refers to a time consuming stuff. I included this one because I believe it addresses the single most pressing issue we face around the world today, without becoming waylaid by distractions.

It advocates no taxes (not less) on principle. Similar to no slavery on principle (a 'little bit' of slavery is still not acceptable). But, more importantly, it dismantles the belief system that leads many to think that taxation is somehow moral and righteous. Haven't we talked a lot here already about imposing what we think is 'moral' on others?

I don't care what 'morals' someone has had imposed on them or conjured up for themselves as long as they don't result in justifying the right to impose them upon me via physical violence. The 'State' is that justification and taxation is what feeds it.

So what if people 'buy the same old shit we have now, in the same old way' as long as it doesn't interfere with what you buy or do in whatever way? An unregulated, unrestricted crypto market could ensure you get the true market price for your goods/services (or even gifts) and prevent the State from feeding it's expansion by plundering it.

It's difficult to find a way to live in a world without violence when as tax payers people believe they have created the right to bestow the authority to indulge in apv on the State and it's actors and that that is somehow a 'good' thing.

No taxes -> no State -> no delegated violence -> a radically changed world (e.g. try organizing a large scale war without States). I suggest it's not a panacea, just a good start.

"i have no desire to "be important" or relevant....but i do desire a deep connection with people" - how can you have a deep connection if you're not important or relevant? I do not wish to sound harsh, but this really makes no sense to me.

@syrphant: Nice business ('plant pimp' sounds insulting to me and to girls though) and interesting anecdotes. Sounds like you've done a great job of extracting yourself from the rat race.

On 'toenails' it appeared to me you were simply making the entirely reasonable and apparent point that economics (even of the gifting type) are inescapable for us all. You then state that ba@ 'might be right after all' and you then go on to say the opposite 'the ONLY way you can credibly tell me you appreciate what I do is with money.' (exactly what 'gifting' is not). Can you please highlight what I have misunderstood. Thanks.

@dot: agreed.
@dot, bornagain explains it pretty much exactly as i meant it.  i was trying to question some abstract/external/quantifying notion of ‘being important’, not any internal experience of ‘feeling important’.  certainly i might /feel/ less important and less relevant as a faceless part of a mass society, and have little desire to be part of those large groups precisely because of this feeling.  i would reject, however, that there is some intrinsic external, measurable property of ‘importance’ that i ‘have’.
I just erased the toenail slight from my earlier comment.  It was uncalled for; I just got carried away. The truth is I want to think together with you, bornagain; you and the others here are all very interesting, your insights are all worthy of respectful consideration. Maybe one of you techies can tell me how to make a short-cut key on my computer for "imo" so I can easily insert it at the beginning of all my sentences?
i appreciate that, syrphant.

and "the toenail slight" got me laughing....

plant pimps and toenail slights....welcome to anarchy 101...

We've been using the word "economics" too loosely here. To an economist, economics is a way, among others, of understanding (and ideally predicting) behavior, using conceptual tools like optimization/constraints, cost/benefit, supply/demand... money just serves as units of measurement where it can. As a framework, economics can be used in a surprisingly wide variety of situations. Some brilliant work has been done in "behavioral economics" (I recommend Khaneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow") but I think the word "behavioral" is redundant; only added to highlight the complexity of the rationality assumption. As long as there are objectives and limited, unequally distributed resources (time being, imo, the ultimate limited resource), tough trade-off decisions must be made. These choices involve calculations. Knowlingly or not, consciously or subconsciously, in terms of dollars or utility, actors are doing economics. Once you've seen it, you can't unsee it. It is everywhere in every tactic, strategy and project.

We (self included) sometimes say "economics" when words like "accounting" and "finance" would be more appropriate. We sometimes reduce the usefulness of "economics" to the sole problem of profit-maximization, but that's just one application and "profit" can be non-monetary.  So for the sake of clarity, I propose we focus in on "accounting." That seems to be the issue we are wrestling with.

@bornagain, I was saying you can't live without accounting. You challenge that statement, and you've made me smoke too many cigarettes and lose some sleep. Thanks. I think I might be starting to change my mind.

@dotnetspec, indeed, the specific case in my testimony a specific form of value-exchange was promised and expected. Had we agreed beforehand to a non-monetary exchange, "money" wouldn't have come up. I do a lot of non-monetary exchange. Still, to the extent the value of goods/services exchanged in a barter transaction can be measured in a mutually accepted currency units, there isn't really any difference: the accounting is the same. If the farmer didn't have cash I would have gladly accepted anything of equivalent value. The point is: there are notions of fairness and dignity involved. I felt betrayed, abused. Did I need the money? objectively, no.  Was I appealing to authority or threatening force to get "my share?" no. The farmer did pay, by the way, and we continute to work together on good terms.

I recall an episode at the family dinner table: my two kids, very young at the time, actually counted the tater-tots their mother served each of them. For some bizarre reason they wanted to have the same number of tater-tots. The actual number didn't seem important. Is this accounting impulse nature or nurture? Were they subconsciously trying to figure out which sibling was more loved? Am I reading too much into this?

syrphant, if you like smoking cigarettes and losing sleep, you're welcome...if not, i'd suggest cannabis and more sleep.

i know you meant i couldn't live without accounting (toenails or not)

i challenge that because:

a) i know how i live....and

b) i've changed how i live dramatically - from some form of accounting (mostly money) on a daily or hourly basis, to somewhere around one day out of ten. i often go nearly a month without involving money in my life, and without thinking in economic/accounting/financial (whatever you want to call it) terms.

this shift has taken place over the last twenty years.

so do i live completely without accounting? no.

but the majority of my life i do.

and as i've continued to live more of my life without money/accounting, i've felt happier, healthier, more creative, less confined, less controlled and monitored by the state and corporations, and my relationship to most everyone and everything around me has changed in a variety of ways (some painful, most liberating, all of them more intensely felt).

i desire to live more of my life that way.

and at this moment, i don't intend to ever live more economically.

i don't want to challenge you on a theoretical basis, but i will tell you about my experiences living non/anti-economically if that interests you....

and you can decide what you think about that....

merriam-webster defines "economics" as:

a : a social science concerned chiefly with description and analysis of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services

b : economic theory, principles, or practices

  • sound economics

2 : economic aspect or significance

  • the economics of building a new stadium

3 : economic conditions

  • current economics

syrphant, re your example of your kids counting taters: growing up in a capitalist world, with a father (at least) who sees all of life through an economic lens, would you seriously expect anything else? i have been around young kids, raised by poor hippie anti-capitalists, whose behavior did not appear rooted in any kind of economics or accounting; rather, it appeared rooted in a rather holistic view of their relations. eg, when the younger girl was getting over a cold, i saw her brother put some extra carrots on her plate from his, even though he loved carrots. he knew that carrots are "healthy". no doubt you (and anyone that shares your purely economic worldview) could come up with some way to explain that economically, but why?

"To an economist, economics is a way, among others, of understanding (and ideally predicting) behavior, ..."

indeed. and not everyone cares to be an economist. assuming that economics provides the only viable way to understand and/or predict behavior seems a rather myopic perspective to me. not unlike perspectives that assume race (or gender, or...) provides the only way to understand behavior. life does not fit into such neat little boxes, at least not for me.

I've now given this enough thought to fully reassure myself that I'm open minded about it. While I can respect your positions, I choose the economic lens because it allows me to admire phenomena both real and beautiful. I would say the dominant lens I use is an ecological/biological one; I cross-analyse what I see using a lens of universal, objective life-level ethics; I systematically look for dialectic and multiple, contradictory truths (ie, same and different); I am glad to also have the economic lens in my tool kit. Myopia? Nah, doesn't stick.

You might not like what you see through the economic lens. I regret I can't help you see the beauty. Look: I want to help (some) other organisms achieve their goals; I want the freedom to help who I want how I want. My foggy understanding of what I refer to as the universal ethical guidelines requires that to be "good" I "should" do things differently, avoiding competition through creativity and marginally-risky innovation.  To maximize my importance to others (subject to obvious constraints) in unexpected ways I need good, reliable information. I need to understand the objectives of the things around me. I don't want to guess or project my own ideas, I need clear signals. Value exchange can be an excellent means by which others can communicate to me what use of my resources (especially time) and unique attributes would be helpful to them, ranked in order of relative importance. Extremely reliable information because it imposes costs.

Yes, money (by which I mean any kind of units employed in a "discussion" of the exchange value of the fruits of productive activity), like any other means of communication can be used to hurt. The fact that people lie, however, doesn't mean words are useless. Actually, language is fascinating; words are beautiful.

(gotta go take the kids to school; to be continued when I get back !)

I offer myself as proof that money (as measurement of exchange value) is completely separate from capitalism, property, competition, hierarchy and other nasties I, as an anarchist, judge unethical.

Property, ownership, etc aren't real; the emperor has no clothes. I know this because these notions are meaningless in interactions between humans and insects and plants. I can tell a leaf-beetle: "This is mine." The beetle will just say "pfft, whatever." I can use force and kill the beetle; I can rationalize and attempt to justify that action with a religion where property is sacred. Pfft, whatever.  I'm not saying it is wrong to kill beetles; I do it all the time. I'm not saying we should let strangers into our homes, that's stupid. I'm saying, like dotnetspec, i like to distinguish the real from the imaginary. 

I don't own anything, I should expect no respect for anything called "property." On the other hand, my actions are real. I know this because of the feedback loops and cascade effects. My intentions are real, even if I don't understand them. I know this because my actions defy physical forces; I'm not simply moved around by external pressures like a dead log.

To the extent my actions can support your intentions they create exchange value. THAT is the true basis of exchange, nothing else. Every pollinisation event in a field... a plant "wants" its pollen transported (not necessarily consciously). The plant, because its lifestyle requires a large surface area, is relatively immobile and could use a little help from a bee. It converts sunshine, water and minerals, at great expense, into nectar and advertising.

Hey, if a flower's activity results in something of value to bees, it has "earned" the ability to influence bee behavior.  Not all flowers' work will be of equal value to a specific bee; relative values suggest the possibility of measurement units. 

I can't possibly judge money as good or bad; it is just a tool. I can't judge the actions that led to the value measured in money as good or bad because the the effects are extremely complex and contradictory, too often both good and bad depending on the point of view. To judge another being's intentions moral or immoral, they must first be inferred from observed actions in a fully understood context: basically impossible, so I rarely bother trying. Assuming the intentions are obvious (like in the case of authority) we must then have some sort of objective ethical framework; not easy I'll grant, but whatever it is cannot be human-specific. 

When the state tells me I can't use my money to communicate my likes and dislikes with whoever I want however I want, we have clear restriction of my ability to express myself. That prevents others from clearly knowing what they could do in order to maximize the meaningfulness of their lives to me. The whole, beautiful, dynamic, system is crippled. The state wants to control. I don't. I want to dance.

edit for clarity: when I use "my money" above, I mean the power I have earned to influence others through value-exchange. I know it is confusing; not the idea - the idea is clear in my head. It is my own struggle with language and words that makes the communication difficult.

"My intentions are real, even if I don't understand them. I know this because my actions defy physical forces;"

your actions prove your intentions - which you don't even understand? you must be the most "consistent" human being that ever lived.

while i appreciate your more personal, less technical perspective, you seem to be getting just as repetitive as dns. all your plant and insect anecdotes sound good on the surface, yet they all do nothing but project your beliefs onto other forms of life. i'm sure i do that at times myself, being very connected to the living world around me. i just don't then use those fantasies as evidence of the validity of my ideas, which is what you seem to be doing over and over.

whatever. to each their own; think what you will. i guess this discussion has run its course for me, i have nothing more to say in response. but i would still have a beer with you if we ever had the chance!

syrphant, at your best (what i like the most), i feel like you're talking about relationships. at your worst (what i like the least), i think you're talking about economics (a specific type of numerized exchange--with the added baggage of capitalism that i can't or don't much care to remove from my definition of economics).

the fact that we learn to talk about relationships in economic terms, i see as a problem, and you seem to have accepted.

does that seem to you all to get at a crux of the disagreement?
dot: "the fact that we learn to talk about relationships in economic terms, i see as a problem, and you seem to have accepted."

i like that way of putting it.

2 Answers

+3 votes
your first sentence seems to be missing something?

first paragraph:
i think that the issue of money isn't about hierarchy - plenty of cultures have not had money and had hierarchy - the issue (i think) is more about the relationship to what we make and have. money is an abstraction. it requires a consistent quantification of stuff. if i have a loaf of bread, and you have a pile of yams, we can barter based on how important those things are to us. it might be a kind of bread that i really like a lot, but you're not so excited about. i'm arguing that money (as a concept) takes away from that, it leads to false generalizations, false equivalencies, and massificiation.

second paragraph:
what does it mean to "hold everything in common"? i don't know that i have ever heard of people working that way (depending on what you mean). but in small groups, i have heard of people distributing things based on both who provided it and who has greatest need. and gifting, of course, which entails a completely different relationship to stuff than we have (for more information look up the gift by mauss), and as stated already, trade/barter.
by (53.1k points)
edited by
oh im not saying that a moneyless society is guaranteed to be free of hierarchy. i guess my view is that as long as there is money or some form of currency, then someone with more of it could use it as coercion and/or establish some form of hierarchy with it.

i should have been more specific, but by "hold everything in common" i mean everyone having free access to whatever they need or possibly desire, as long as its not someones personal property (as explained by Proudhon). do you think this kind of society on a large scale is plausible, and what are some ideas on distributing resources without a form of currency? im being very presumptuous here, but it would come as no surprise if most people wanted the best quality things: the best tech devices, the best vehicles, the best exotic fruit, etc. normally, money would work to gauge how much someone wants something by how much they are willing to pay (or they just dont have the money), so what are some ideas on how this would work without a currency?

and the gift economy is a great idea, thank you!
Your assessment regarding the concept of money leads to false generalizations and equivalencies is interesting. I would say that a unit of account allows for more accurate comparison of heterogeneous goods. It certainly helps solve the problem of divisibility. For example, if all I have is a young goat, that is worth 3 hens in both of our subjective value scales, I would have to trade my whole goat to get any of your hens. If I only want 1 hen, I will have to forego the exchange with you because I cannot give you a third of a goat. Unless, I could find someone else who wants hens (2 or less) and has something else I want. Then I could trade you my goat for your 3 hens and 2 of the hens for other items from other actors. The 2 hens that I obtain for their use in indirect exchange become money. They are money because I obtained them not to use them directly, but rather to use as a medium of exchange for some other goods from a different individual.
hey, mister an-cap, you completely lost me with this sentence and I don't think it even makes any sense:

"I would say that a unit of account allows for more accurate comparison of heterogeneous goods."


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. 

–5 votes

Here's the way I see it: people ofttimes wish to converse about the relative importance of things or actions. In fact, being able to communicate notions of preference, to explain them and argue about them (and mislead each other) is awesome ! It should be cherished and developed.  Money is like a grunt or a smile or an odor one party emits, on a scale of weaker to stronger, to tell another party: I think this is only worth X; that is worth 2X and that is worth 3X...

It would be nice and helpful to be able to non-verbally "discuss" the relative values of EVERYTHING quickly and clearly, with pretty much anyone or any thing. We need a standard of measure. Somehow we unconsciously settled on using what most people would agree on as the most valuable limited resource: time.

This is worth 20 minutes of my life. I would exchange 3 days of my life for that.  Can you achieve this objective in 5 weeks or 5 years? If you can do it in 5 weeks, whereas it would take me 5 years, then maybe you can do it for me and I can do something for you (that takes me less than 5 years) in exchange?

I don't care if it is gifting or whatever. Ultimately it boils down to communicating relative importance using human life, measured in time, as the yardstick. We've gotten good at that, as a society. Where we really fail is in our actual ideas about the relative importance of things and actions.

by (600 points)
I would argue the instinct to measure and commodify isn't as benign as you seem to think.

Not only that but you seem to fundamentally misunderstand the use and effect of currency. Whilst to some extent currency does have something to do with individuals valuing things, the key difference between currency and a system of measurement is that currency becomes an object; you can't 'have' a millimetre the way you can a dollar.

i enjoy misleading and using numbers during games and play....

but for life and death, birth and illness, my and others' ability to eat, to have shelter, to move about the earth and water, caring for the health of people and places and animals, for sharing music and stories and creative expression, to get warmth when cold....among many other things......i don't want that (misleading, measuring, attempting to out-negotiate) at all....i don't want to "exchange my life" for something - i want to live based on my desires and the mutual desires i share with others. i don't want my entire life turned into a battle of numbers, time measuring, buying and selling. you may need a standard of measure, but "we" (if we includes me) do not. but i agree with you that "as a society we've gotten good" at doing just that.

basically, no, to this....

syrphant: "I don't care if it is gifting or whatever. Ultimately it boils down to communicating relative importance using human life, measured in time, as the yardstick."

"gifting" (by my definition), does not measure human life in time.

question for syrphant - what does "it" represent in your sentence i quoted?

edited for grammar and clarity

Dood...a standard of measure? You really think it's even possible to make an all-ecompassing, totalitarian standard of measure.

If yes, I would be very curious about it. I think you are just as capable of making one as anyone else.
I had to cut my answer short yesterday; I detected a high and relatively immediate return on my time-investment elsewhere, in terms of general importance.  Still, the half-ass answer did get me some downvotes, evidence that my time writing it was not without value.

What I would really like to say to the asker of the question is this: We are going to have money/currency in any society. Barter is not a form of money; money is a natural, inevitable development from barter. Remember, barter arises naturally from diversity and allows for greater diversity. Who would argue against diversity?

We will use seashells, gold, beans, dollars, likes, bitcoins -  whatever we can - to tell each other what we want and how much of our own precious time we are willing to dedicate to its pursuit. As communication tools, specific currencies will probably always get out-of-whack and supplanted by others. Currencies can and will be used voluntarily.

Being forced to do anything - including using one form of communication over another, or communicating what I don't mean or think, or spending my time in ways I wouldn't, or being effectively silenced - is incompatible with anarchy. But that has nothing to do with currency per se.

@syrphant you assume a whole lot.  You seem to rely heavily on stating your thoughts as facts to get all the heavy lifting done.  'We are going to have money/currency in any society.' This is plainly false.  Many, many people have lived and thrived without money, and many still do in some parts of the world; almost all of these people lived in tight-knit communities.

'Remember, barter arises naturally from diversity and allows for greater diversity'.  I remember no such thing.  'Who would argue with greater diversity?'  Me, if the cost is the measurement, commodification, and eventual sale of my life and experience.

*You* might use beans and bitcoin to tell other people what you want; I tend to use words, body language, but I guess thats just me.  I don't know about you, but I try really hard to not keep tabs of what I have done for my friends, and what they have done for me.  Relationships are not transactions.  At least, they don't have to be.  To paraphrase Bob Black; 'If you think that there can be no bread without bakeries and no sex without brothels, I pity you.' (almost from Smokestack Lightning, a very amusing read).

syrphant: welcome back!  lol!!!! some things don't change, eh? and none of those downvotes was even mine! yet...

others have already said much of what i would in response to your answer. of course, individuals "value" things. what they value, and "how much" value anything has to them, is completely contextual. if what they value is something that they must interact with another in order to get what they want, and the other also values that thing, then they can determine between them, subjectively and solely in that particular situation - without any unit of measure - how they can each come away feeling good about it. it may be a gift, it may be some exchange in that moment, it may be something that happens over time, it might be anything they can think of.

sure, a system of "objectively" valued currency - how can that happen without an authority, exactly? - might make such situations go smoother in the eyes of some. i'll take the former scenario any day - i find it far more liberating.

i find it somewhat interesting (though i'm not sure why) that while both you and dotnetspec seem to believe in value exchange as an (the?) unavoidable, necessary aspect of human existence, the two of you appear to have dramatically different perspectives on life otherwise, from what i can discern from what i've read on this site.
@Shinminmetroskyline: Yes, when what I want to say isn't even clear in my own head, much less in my words, I subconsciously compensate by taking an authoritative tone. On the other hand, if I only get to have an opinion on stuff I fully understand I won't be much fun at cocktail parties.

You can't "have" a milimeter, and you also can't "have" a dollar. People who think they do are fooling themselves; illusion. You can have a debt or a credit with someone, and maybe claim or repay it indirectly, and the bigness of the credit/debt can be measured in dollars.

@bornagain: "it" refers to monetary system or the use of currency, take your pick. The value of a gift can be measured in the time it took the giver to earn or make it and the time it would take the receiver to earn or make it. That time can be measured in money. I think... or maybe not, I'll have to try to come up with some challenges to that statement. I know that when I think about any activity that takes time I think about its opportunity cost in myriad alternative scenarios.

@ Nihlist: Most recently I've been playing with the idea of time as a totalitarian unit of measure for the value of all things done by or made by humans. Maybe also non-humans.

@Shinminmetrosyline again: relationships are about giving attention, listening, etc; Takes time, can be valued as transaction. I think that when relationships break down it is usually because one person considers the transaction is unfair -- that they are getting ripped off.

@Funky: I agree that value of a thing or action - of one's time - is wholly context-dependent, and "prices" cannot be uniform, much less fixed by law from above.  Can a currency exist without a government? It seems to me that governments have never been very successful fixing prices or values: black-markets emerge, maybe using cigarettes as currency...
@whoever wants a subject for a daydream:

I think the ideal currency system would be one where EVERY individual prints his/her own "promisory notes." Like, a signed mini-contract saying "Syrphant agrees to do X or Y or Z for the bearer of this note. Valid until end 2018."

I may not have anything or any service of value to my barber in exchange for a haircut, but I can give her a few of my Syrphant-bucks, she can maybe use them in another transaction, and eventually some stranger will contact me to redeem the note for X. If I don't do X, or don't do it well, my notes won't be worth much - my time won't be worth much to others.

This system would have the merit of keeping transactions very local and businesses very small and temporary. I like that vision.

syrphant: so it seems you boil all "value" down to "time". i can see that in an economic world where one must sell their time to survive. but time is only one factor that might play into how i "value" something in any given context. the extent to which i value something cannot be directly correlated to time. you are turning time into a currency, or unit of measure. and even though in today's world there is a fairly objective measure of time - though i'd disagree strongly while tripping on acid - how one "values" their time is completely subjective and contextual (are those redundant?). you, and so many, seem to have a need for some objective measure with which to define transactions. i guess it is a symptom of seeing life through an economic lens.

btw, your syrphant-bucks scenario is not unlike the "local currency" movement that tried to take hold in a few places in the u.s. over the past couple decades. i have to admit, it is imo an improvement over the current monetary system, for the "keeping transactions very local and businesses very small and temporary" aspect. though not sure how that scenario keeps businesses temporary? regardless, it is still a currency, in a value-exchange economy. i want out.

@syrphant you wont find argument from me about 'having'; i dont think you can 'have' anything.  and yet in todays society people commonly talk about 'having' a dollar, and people act like other people 'have' dollars.  the same is not true for millimiters; in what way are people deluding themselves in one but not the other?  indeed your example of 'promisory notes' is predicated on 'having'; i.e. having promisory notes, having debt, etc.  it is also pretty heavily predicated on some sort of binding contractualism, which seems very un-anarchist to my mind

and yes, you /can/ model relationships as transactions.  but you dont /have/ to, and /i/ dont want to.  you can also model relationships in terms of thermodynamics, but that doesnt necessarily mean its profound or universally desirable.  and bare in mind i concede only as far as relationship scan being /modelled/ as transactions; a transaction does not exhaust or encompass experience of that relationship.