Technological advance is spurring massive socio-political change. This progress will reshape the economic landscape in terms of resource distribution and access to goods and services. As a result, the political climate will be forced to change in lockstep. Because of the nature of these technological advances, outdated bureaucracy and government regulations will be ousted to make room for technological freedom and growth. Government initiatives have already been challenged by various sectors within Silicon Valley entrepreneurial movement. But even the old cathedral of Silicon Valley is being overcome and surpassed. Indeed, techno-anarchism is rearing back and preparing to lunge at all convention like a savage beast of prey.
Currently, most business institutions are erected on a brick-and-mortar foundation and hierarchical staff arrangements. They are centralized entities with organized management. Within this structure, businesses are easily regulated and controlled by a country’s political machinery. However, if these businesses become decentralized and controlled by a multitude of people, in vast a peer-to-peer network, they could altogether elude government regulations and controls. This is where technology is poised to introduce sweeping changes to very fabric of socio-cultural identity.
Industries that Challenge Regulators
There are several industries within the emerging sharing economy that are already making life for regulators and policy makers difficult. AirBnB represents one such company. It is a platform that allows hosts to rent extra space to travelers, and give them varied and different experiences not usually offered by centralized hotel industries.
The policy makers are running into trouble because their current laws do not jibe with AirBnB hosting functions. It is easy for a code enforcer to routinely check centralized hotel businesses for violations, but the game changes when micro-entrepreneurs use AirBnB to host personal spaces.
In one of many, but silly articles meant to attack AirBnB for its disruptive nature, Vice’s editor Brian Merchant exposed how AirBnB has challenges regulations:
“So it turns out that more than half of all of short-term home rentals available on AirBnB are illegal. Yes, half. A recent investigation by the folks at Skift revealed that these offerings are in direct violation of a city law that prohibits short-term stays. And each and every one of the hosts running those properties is liable to owe the city between $1,000 to $20,000 per transgression—surely enough to sully the peer-to-peer home share site’s halo in the eyes of users and investors alike.”
Vice is Wrong; Government is Antithetical to Growth
No one’s view of AirBnb should be sullied by the companies disregard of ridiculous laws. Merchant’s views of regulations are nonsensical, totalitarian, and outmoded anyway.
Who has the right other than the property owner to decide who can stay at property? Is it not fascism to use the law to force homeowners to live according to government mandates? What happened to freedom of choice, and freedom to do with your property what one pleases?
Merchant went on to argue that AirBnb allows large conglomerates to use its application to skirt regulations, and that this engenders an environment of unfair competition. But these arguments are silly and anathema to the capitalist propertarian ethic. AirBnB is showing that capitalism, freedom of competition, and technological advancement are the natural mechanisms of market interaction prior to government meddling. It is showing that a new model for economic arrangements is cropping up and government is almost helpless to stop it.
Indeed, these sharing economy platforms have moved well beyond government regulations. They have demonstrated that government is not good at keeping up with technology, nor is it a viable way to deal with problems on the market. Government is simply a group of thugs who tell everyone how to live and what to do, while extorting their hard-earned money. It is a “service” that everyone can do without.
The Blockchain and Ethereum: Total Disruption
Government can still regulate and attack application-based companies, but novel technologies are coming into existence that completely decentralize company functionality. In the near future, it may be possible to use Blockchain devices to create businesses with distributed and decentralized profit margins, management, and services, which will not be susceptible to government oversight.
Recently, the Ethereum smart contract technology has been released for developers to build applications that run in the aforesaid manner. This technology is structured in such a way that an engineer can build applications on top of the Blockchain and that includes business platforms.
A Fastcompany.com article titled “The Humans Who Dream of Companies that won’t Need Us” explained a bit about this idea:
“Bitcoin’s blockchain model has been proposed as the backbone for a wide range of applications, from asset trading to real estate transactions, from escrow services to even a “national income distribution” system. What Ethereum proposes, in effect, is a global computer that could not only handle those transactions but also eventually emulate many of the functions of companies like Uber, Airbnb, Dropbox, Amazon, and Kickstarter—but without the “inefficient” bureaucracies and the other intermediaries who take a slice of the pie. That is to say, companies that, once started, can run themselves.”
It is true. Techno-anarchism, in the form of a global computer, will become the mainstream mechanism for social functioning, and government will not be able to stop it. In order to remain relevant and viable, government would have to keep pace with technological advance; but as pointed out, it is already too inefficient, slow, and inept. Thus, it will not be able to control the automation and decentralization process of business.
Here is why: business will spread out across the landscape and will no longer possess single points of failure, or single points of interruption. For instance, a government regulates Wal-Mart by controlling its headquarters and its CEO’s. However, when “DAO’s,” or decentralized autonomous organizations crop up, there will not be a small cast of individuals who governments can target. The authorities will also not be able to stop the peer-2-peer networks that these organizations are built on, unless they block the nodes or conduct the 51 percent attack, which is easier said than done. Governments will simply not be able to gain a foothold in an ecosystem that has made bureaucracy and regulation utterly redundant.
Nonetheless, technology itself cannot oust government alone. There must be political and social advances that occur alongside technological advance. People have to leverage philosophy and change people’s minds about the necessity of government. They have to consistently point out how immature, violent, and silly the concept of government is — because thugs can always loot individuals, regardless of what technology they create.
A Vision for the Future: Rise of Techno-Anarchism
Overall, techo-anarchism is the precedent that individuals and businesses can self-regulate without interference, and internal regulations can even be built into smart contracts in order to prevent fraud and dissuade bad actors from committing malicious deeds.
For example, if an AirBnB type of company was hosted on a smart contracting platform, the rules of that company could be programmed based on the consensus network. It would not have to be decided by a singular coterie of individuals à la a corporation, nor regulated by another singular entity called government.
All these ideas may be visionary and futuristic in scope, but they are in the process of being realized. It is not a dreamy fantasy. The time is ripe. More and more people are coming to loathe government, and the way it deals with problems by employing the cage and gun instead of peaceful solutions.
This is the first time that the possibility of techno-anarchism is realizable as a result of the emerging socio-political as well as economic trends. The cryptographers, developers, and thought leaders just need to continue working and spreading the ideas. The blockchain already exists, and it is not going away. More will be added to it, and it will continue to advance. For the first time in ages, the antiquated, barbaric idea of government is being threatened by the Goliath of human ingenuity. The path to the future is now clear, and freedom may ring in the form of these impregnable, decentralized autonomous organizations.
Is Techno-Anarchism through Blockchain technology a viable solution to government immorality and inefficiency?
Image Sources: Notbeinggoverned.com. willsmith.liberty.me, consumerresearch.org, paper4pc.com