I live in Chennai, India. The city experienced unprecedented rainfall and flood, because of which hundreds of people died and hundreds of thousands of people have lost their home and property. Even after a week, some parts of the city haven’t recovered completely. People who lived a healthy and peaceful life in their homes are living in camps without adequate food, water and sanitation.
During this one week period, I learned and noticed a lot of things. Many incidents validated the assumptions I have held for a long time about society and governance. That is, you don’t need to demarcate land into countries or states for a healthy and functioning society. The political unit called country has become a bottleneck in advancement of human civilization.
You may think I’m crazy. But it really isn’t that crazy an idea. Let’s analyze from different angles as to why countries aren’t needed.
What is a country?
Now may remember that one question during exams which we would always answer correctly and get that easiest one mark - “What is your country?” But have you ever come across the question: “What is a country?” No? Why is that? Because the answer is ugly and something you are not supposed to think too much about.
So, what is a country? A country is a coercive monopoly over a certain geographic area. Sure, there are structures like democracy, in which it seems like people are voting for candidates of their choice, and thus they are in control of their country. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Having people choose its administrators doesn’t change the fact that a government is a coercive monopoly.
Governments are evil, so is democracy
On paper it all seems fine. There are people, and they choose some people from among them to manage the country, and everybody is happy. But when you think even a little, you can find the obvious flaws in this system. First of all, there are no ‘people’; there are only a collection of individuals with conflicting interests. The use of the word people cleverly hides the reality and clubs us as a group of individuals with uniform mindset and common interests. That, of course, is not true. There are no people, only individuals and groups.
Secondly, you have to look at how ‘the people’ choose the administrators in a democracy. A certain percentage of people vote for contesting candidates from different parties, and whoever gets a majority gets to run the country. So, what is wrong with this system? It is a handful of people chosen by the majority voters making rules for all the people including the people who voted against them and for those who didn’t vote at all. It is oppression 101. Yet most of the democracies don’t feel oppressive. Why? There are two main reasons for it:
- The arguments and debates between political parties are often on topics not directly related to the common man’s needs, and any outcome will not have a direct impact on their lives. Examples: abortion, death penalty, eating beef. If you are wondering about solutions for these, we’ll see that under law.
- Humanity in general has grown more civil and tolerant regardless of what your favorite news channel wants you to think. Please take the time to look at the data, and not the sensationalized content that manipulates you into feeling constant fear.
It is also why, although the very structure of government is oppressive, you don’t feel the oppression; because there isn’t much to feel oppressed about anymore. We humans have grown more civilized and tolerant.
Country is an abstract concept
Besides, just because the land you live on exists, it doesn’t mean the country is also a material reality. A country is an abstract idea that exists in the mind just like religion is an idea that exists only in the mind. But religions are not coercive anymore. Religions, for the most part, have grown tolerant and embrace other religions, but that is not the case with countries. If countries become tolerant and embrace competition by allowing other countries to operate within a given geography, then the boundaries between different countries will blur.
The law cannot work
For thousands of years, humans have been making laws to manage societies and civilizations but none of them are implemented completely; yet we still keep making these laws.
Laws cannot be pre-determined to guide our actions under all circumstances. At the most, we can only have abstract, overarching guidelines, and each case must be decided on its own merit.
Controlling dishonesty and theft in a lawless land
Theft is a simple problem. There is an economic incentive in theft; take the incentive away, and theft becomes unattractive. When your possession is stolen, there is no just correlation between the value of property and the punishment in the present system. I’ve seen records of women who serve months in prison for stealing baby food. All thefts are not the same. Every case should be treated in relation to the actual crime and the punishment should fit the crime. Make the thief compensate the robbed with the value of the stolen good plus the cost of pursuing the thief. Theft becomes no longer an economically viable option, compared to the present day system in which the thief is not required to pay back the damages and the punishment given is shelter and food at somebody else’s expense. On top of that, providing easy entry into the job market for criminals and helping them gain a good social standing is also a great way to reduce theft. There can be commercial establishments who can undertake such risky proposition, provided they are properly incentivized.
General perception of honest and dishonest behavior varies hugely between different groups and should be left to their discretion as long as they don’t violate the overarching values.
The court system
In a society not controlled by the government, we need individual private entities, big and small, to provide essential services currently offered by government. Of this, the court system is a significant one. The court system is really an arbitration system that claims to provide just arbitration for every problem under the sun. But privatized arbitration companies can evolve and specialize in particular domains and provide just arbitration in their area of specialization. For example, family dispute centers, technological dispute centers, financial dispute centers, property dispute centers, inheritance dispute centers are some of specialty arbitration services possible. It’ll work like any other commercial service, for which you pay a service fee like any other commercial service.
The main functions of the police in most countries are
- policing the neighborhood
- providing security for groups or individuals when necessary
- collecting evidence after a crime and submitting them during arbitration.
Of these three, policing neighborhood and security services are already available from private establishments; collecting and submitting evidence for arbitration has to be properly privatized. Doing this vastly reduces the unchecked power police all over the world has. Because it is a private system, the policeman is like any other member of the working force like a carpenter, engineer or doctor who does not have a government to provide immunity for his actions. It’ll help in achieving a decent and reasonable police force.
You don’t have to pay taxes in a government-free society. Duh. Taxes are how government extorts money from its citizens. After extracting your money you have no say in how the government spends your money. In a governmentless society, everyone is entitled to what they earn and they can spend it only on goods, services or charity they choose to.
Greedy people and corporations
In the present financial climate, it is natural to think if such a system comes to effect, then greedy people and corporations would become giant services and would similarly extract money from people through unethical business practices. But, the current government controlled society is the one that created those giant corporations by creating regulations that automatically create a big barrier to entry with it. But in a non-government controlled society, business won’t be regulated by law but by price and competition; with competition, people and corporations cannot afford to be too greedy or else they’ll lose their business to their competitors. So, a free market has all the necessary inbuilt mechanisms to provide for a sustainable business environment that is just for both producers and consumers.
Money is a big topic in and by itself. It can also be provided by private methods that is reliable than government issued money. Learn more about bitcoin, It is a decentralized currency that is not controlled by any government but still functions as good as a currency for years.
Disaster relief and welfare
It is a common misconception that governments are the best equipped to manage relief and welfare during the time of natural or other disasters. But, if you look closely at the incidents around the world, you can clearly see that it is the volunteers and kind human beings who step in to help and go beyond their call of duty. Governments don’t have resources and processes for their existing operations, let alone for a sudden catastrophic event. During the recent Chennai floods, the Government of India committed to Rs. 1000 crore (roughly 150 million USD) while Cognizant, an American multinational corporation and a leading employer in Chennai, has committed Rs. 260 crores (40 million USD). When a company that doesn’t owe anything to the city of Chennai can contribute 1/4th the funds given by the central government, which collects taxes from its citizens on their every salary and their every purchase, it makes you really wonder what purpose countries serve.
Time for anarchy has come
Until now, I purposely avoided using the term ‘Anarchy’ because of the stigma attached to it. Anarchy is the word used by media and writers to describe people planning mischief to disrupt a society. But, the word actually means no ruler and it is a viable possibility in which a society can function, and in many ways, a far superior system compared to government-controlled systems.
There are lots of available literature about anarchy that isn’t talked about. If you are one of the many who are fed up with your government, educate yourself and your friends about alternatives as well. Market for Liberty is a great book to get to know more about anarchy, and it’s free.
Today people think that they are safer because they have a government, in the absence of which everything will go haywire. Pay close attention, and you can see for yourself both the fear and the false sense of security just below the surface isn’t real.
It is time for us to think outside the boundaries we are taught to think within. Take control of your life and live a fulfilling and happy life.
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