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Infoliberalism, or how the Internet can replace the traditional political order (infoliberalism.info)
40 points by TeMPOraL 1667 days ago | hide | past | web | 41 comments | favorite

This is simultaneously way, way too much and not enough at once. The 'political part' that covers justice and supposedly replaces governments and courts seems to only address fraud and deception, and uses an elaborate mixture of organizations and computer systems to solve a problem people can mostly just work out on their own...

And then it completely ignores the state's monopoly on violent retribution, which even libertarians support. AFAIK only some flavors of anarcho-primitivism reject that and this plan has way too much infrastructure for that.

May I ask what is wrong with the state's monopoly on violent retribution? What are the alternatives? What do you think would happen if there is not such a monopoly?

The way I see it, we don't have much of a choice. I'd rather try and ensure that the state is actually benevolent and competent. Once we guarantee that, giving it monopole over violence should be cool.

As for building a good state, I'd start by trying democracy. Not the "representative" government we have now, but something where the people would, say, directly vote for their laws. Like ancient Athens, except without slave and with gender equality.

I don't think anything's wrong with it, and I'm not aware of any alternatives that would be worth the cost. If the OP is planning on replacing government he'll need to replace that state function within his system and he's given no hint as to how he'll possibly do that.

Oops, my bad. I assumed the negative connotation in "monopoly on violence" was intended. Maybe we should talk about the "enforcement mechanisms" or something?

The state does not have a monopoly on violent retribution, the state attempts to enforce its own monopoly on violent retribution and succeeds in varying degrees.

If you live in Naples or Sicily for a while, you will find out.

Organized crime is a government and vice versa

Organized crime (and more generally warlordism) is what happens when the state does not have an effective monopoly on the use of violence.

Only if you consider yourself God.

Compare: not paying taxes on the one hand, and not paying the local extortionist. In both cases, you get violence inflicted upon you. State tend to be gentler about it however.

Structurally, organized crime is about enforcing rules that don't fit with the rules set by the country where you commit those crimes. For your own profit, I might add. I find it eerily similar to the local warlord trying to carve a little country by force.

The real difference between a country and organized crime is one of size and comprehensiveness. (I'm tempted to add legitimacy, but then there's North Korea.)

Right. And secular governments enforce rules that don't fit with the moral rules set by God where you commit those immoralities. Like taxes.

Actually… yes. It is again a question of size (God is quite greater than any one government), and of comprehensiveness (secular governments are quite lenient with religious, sexual, and reproductive practices).

Just two minor details:

First, thanks to having eaten the Forbidden Fruit, we no longer need to consult God to know what's immoral. We are now quite capable of making our own decisions. If my moral standard sufficiently diverges from God's, that just makes us enemies.

Second, to the best of my knowledge, there is no God. At least, nothing resembling Yahweh.

If you'd like to debate theology, you're welcome to state a position and stick to it. You either consider yourself the final arbiter on morals, and thus whether or not taxation is moral, or you don't. If you'd like to introduce nuance into the dichotomy, you are welcome to.

But it sounds to me like you are not a person who recognizes the validity of any argument that doesn't extend from force in one way or another, so I'm having trouble seeing how your concept of God works with your agreement with people who pretend to be God.

If possible, I'd avoid debating theology. It would take months for us to agree on the existence of God alone, and provided it does exist, you likely know far more about God's morality than I do.

> Only if you consider yourself God.

That one pushes us way back, but my initial response was a "proving the other wrong" knee-jerk reaction, and I failed to ask: what did you actually mean by that? More precisely, how one needs to consider oneself God to believe in the similarities between states and organized crime?

> You either consider yourself the final arbiter on morals, and thus whether or not taxation is moral, or you don't.

That I can answer. Strictly speaking, I do consider myself the final arbiter on morals. Meaning, what I want has priority over anything else. There's a couple of catches however.

First, I do care about other people, and I do care about what they want and what they consider moral. If I were to impose my will on everyone, I'd leave considerable leeway for others to do as they please.

Second, I don't really know what I want, and what I consider "moral".

Third, even if I knew, I'm not sure how to achieve it. Take taxes for instance. They have a host of consequences, some of which are obviously desirable (like, money to build schools), some of which are obviously undesirable (like, kicking some people out of their houses). And when I compare the benefits and the costs, I'm not sure which outweigh the other.

> But it sounds to me like you are not a person who recognizes the validity of any argument that doesn't extend from force in one way or another, so I'm having trouble seeing how your concept of God works with your agreement with people who pretend to be God.

Sorry, I cannot make sense of this one. What does it mean for an argument to "extend from force"? What do you think my concept of God is? What is your model of people who pretend to be God?

So, I've been using neologisms pretty freely. I'll try to correct that. In the context of this thread, "God" is a final moral arbiter, or FMA to make it shorter.

An FMA is an entity that considers themself to be the last and only meaningful measure for morality. Your first caveat of "leaving considerable leeway" for others would not apply in practice; it is common for people who unwittingly consider themselves FMAs to claim this and yet nevertheless denounce behaviors as immoral even when they are not overtly harmful.

This is what happens with taxes.

If you'll notice, discussions on taxation as extortion always come back to the Weberian definition of a state. This isn't because libertarians were only able to understand force, but because this is the only argument through which they can conclude that taxation is immoral. And since this is the only useful argument, it has been reduced to a golden hammer fallacy: force rapidly becomes the only thing they really understand and the only way to engage with concepts.

It is a Hobbesian worldview, i.e. "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short".

The attraction of being an FMA is the "arbiter" part: an arbiter can back up his claim with force. God is commonly conceived as an FMA because it is the most distant concept of force: none can bring force against it, but it can bring force against you. This is why you see gun protests in America where people bring assault rifles as counter-protests.

And the thing about being a final arbiter is that there can only be one. If there are many, then there is the possibility of disagreement and a further arbiter would be required. So either you are a final arbiter, or you are not. (Or you are part of a hive mind that thinks in unison.)

Incidentally, I am not religious.

state's monopoly on violent retribution

Feuds are awesome! I love the excitement of drive-bys and the potential for involvement of by-standers or people who are sitting inside unaware that anything is even going on. What's not to like?

I'm not sure what your point is?

No monopoly is realistically absolute in economic/political/social systems due to inherent resource limitations (plus some chaos theory thrown in).

But the state still has a legal monopoly on violence.

His point is that that's a good thing, especially when the violence is (more or less) constrained by due process, and expectation of equality before the law, further limited by prohibitions on cruel and unusual punishments, and unlikely to result in death in any but the most extreme cases, and even then, not it every state.

> But the state still has a legal monopoly on violence.

Absolutely! That's why drive-bys are illegal! HEINOUS.

> I'm not sure what your point is?

His point (and mine) is that a free market in retributive violence is a bad thing because it tends to affect people besides the intended targets. I have lived in neighborhoods where drive-bys were common and found myself staring down a gun barrel of someone who happened to be be looking for someone else. The town where I grew up in a different country also had a string of long-running feuds between particular families. The thing about feuds is that they tend to go on and on despite the seeming futility of tit-for-tat violence.

So I suggest to you that mutual delegation of the police power to the state is a Good Thing. I don't see the state as some sort of external imposition upon people who were living in some anarcho-primitivist state of harmony. That idealistic view is a bunch of bullshit, much like hippies' habit of blaming technology for our ills.

I wasn't taking a position, merely pointing out that that comment was inflammatory and not a constructive argument. Thanks for clarifying.

I lean anarcho-capitalist and I also don’t believe private courts/security is (entirely) practical. After I read: http://www.amazon.com/Anarchy-State-Utopia-Robert-Nozick/dp/...

TLDR: Protective agencies (judges/police) would be competing against each other. That competitive nature combined with their intended role of protecting us (and themselves) would lead to "an endless series of acts of retaliation and exactions of compensations". In addition, Nozick demonstrates why the nature of both of the businesses would already create natural monopolies in each local juridiction.

Anarcho-capitalist models and their variations tend to last more because they're simple and attractive than because they have a strong foundation. They're compelling in an idealistic way because they derive from logical principles. But that strength is their weakness: because they derive from idealized premises, they often find themselves making extremely large compromises to stay viable as they approach reality.

To wit, Nozickian protective agencies as you have summarized it here capably describe statism: in other words, in walking away from the current model, you have arrived at it again... but without its good parts, like the American concept of power separation or its Bill of Rights.

There is reason that various police forces have political friction when coming into contact with other jurisdictions, after all, whether it's horizontal (police of California cooperating with the police in Nevada) or vertical (police of California cooperating with the FBI). The thing that smooths this friction is, well... the federal state. It doesn't do this mechanistically, but through its existence as an ideal: an appeal to "we're all American, after all" does wonders. The very act of cooperation becomes an affirmation of that ideal.

Indeed, these are essentially arguments for minarchy. But that's very very far from the current large state(-capitaism) we currently live in today.

Minus courts/police, that still leaves ~95% of state power going to other places. Which is why I don't bother defending "markets for security" as other ancaps might. Extreme ideologues are a waste of time. But I still believe in strong property and self-defence rights.

> Indeed, these are essentially arguments for minarchy.

Minarchy is basically, "Well, you won this one argument, but I still believe!" It's like "Yes, I concede that the Earth does indeed revolve around the sun, but the Bible is still inerrant and literal!"

> But I still believe in strong property and self-defence rights.

I do not. At best, I consider property and self-defense rights to be derived from some more fundamental right. (I've actually stopped using rights at all in my political philosophizing; they're surprisingly limited as an idea.) For instance, self-defense might be derived from a right to life; one might claim that threatening another's right to life necessarily sacrifices your own such right: ergo self-defense. Which gets into the whole "inalienable" bit because that's pretty alienating.

Mostly, I just say that property should be protected if and only if it would support some more fundamental right.

> Minarchy is basically, "Well, you won this one argument, but I still believe!" It's like "Yes, I concede that the Earth does indeed revolve around the sun, but the Bible is still inerrant and literal!"

Idealogical and political absolutism is a cancer in our society. These type of dismissive comments reenforce that mind set.


The goal is finding the best solution, not picking the best team to back. That involves experimentation and compromise.

> Idealogical and political absolutism is a cancer in our society. These type of dismissive comments reenforce that mind set.

Because you're not doing that at all.

> The goal is finding the best solution, not picking the best team to back. That involves experimentation and compromise.

That's difficult when we have already disagreed on what the problem actually is. You've stated that you believe--keyword: believe--in strong property and self-defense rights. I have stated that I do not, that I do not even believe in rights at all.

What is the problem we're supposedly searching for a solution to?

You haven't even asked which team I'm on. You just merely found out that I'm not on yours. Who's picking the best team to back?

I don't care what team your on.

You contended that because my ideals weren't 100% consistent (by comparing it to following a religion) because I don't believe that the state is totally useless.

Admitting the state is useful for courts and police does not invalidate my propisition that 95% of the states revenue and power could be replaced by voluntary institutions or market forces.

So I apologize that I don't fit your strawman image of a radical libertarian but if you "disagree" that markets are a better solution and/or voluntary solutions are a more moral solution to many of the things that the state does... then that's fine.

I'm not forcing anarcho-capitalism on any individual. The world is full of statists, you can live and die with your big governments. My goal in life isn't to convince everyone to one side or propose a sudden switch to anarcho-capitlaism in countries deeply rooted with statism. That would be impractical.

But if you'd like to debate a certain topic, I'm quite experienced in doing so, so go ahead.

If you think the entire concept of strong property laws is invalidated by accepting the legitimacy of public courts/police, then I'm also willing to defend that position, as many before me have.

I have offered you two opportunities to actually ask me a question rather than objectify me as an Enemy Of Your Beliefs.

You have declined both.

And now I am apparently a statist. Merely because I disagree with you.

And I am supposed to attack your belief in property laws? This would be pretty hard for me, since I don't actually care about property laws whatsoever. I generally care that people who are alive stay alive, but if people insist that ownership has force and land has some particular master, I don't really mind.

Not all self-proclaimed libertarians support the state's monopoly on violent retribution. In fact, not all self-proclaimed libertarians support the existence of states. I'm thinking particularly of anarcho-capitalists. David Friedman's The Machinery of Freedom, for example, is a seminal libertarian work that rejects the state altogether but is hardly what I would call anarcho-primitivism.

I don't believe we will see something like an infoliberalist state in the next 5 or 10 years, but it's interesting that tech is increasingly making those ideas feasible.

I'm the founder of a startup building a modern forum platform with no fixed administrators. Instead, members build a network of trust by agreeing with (liking) each other's posts, and the top most trusted members become moderators. Check out http://www.iroquote.com

Also http://www.reasonwell.com is a tool for efficient online debates on policies.

It would be nice to see other similar projects related to politics. Please share some links if you know more.

I'm struggling to see how this is different (or better) than Anarcho-capitalism or other voluntary systems?

Technically the private systems within an ancap society could be implemented in a similar technology-based fashion, without having to disregard private property laws.

He actually does say it:

> The title of infoliberalism that I recently gave to this theory expresses its similarity of logic with some radical liberalisms like agorism (see the new libertarian manifesto) or anarcho-capitalism, of which it would constitute somehow an effective method of realization; with the difference, that it is rebuilt on a new foundation : instead of the postulate of private property (but while most often respecting it), infoliberalism is built on the postulate of communication freedom, which only needs proper software on the Web for developing all its logical consequences up to rebuilding the whole political order.

In other words, this still conveniently ignores the fact that we're still meatbags who live on tracts of land, so I don't know.

The problem with property-rights based systems (namely "standard" anarchocapitalism) is that their economic model falls apart on externalities - both positive externalities (ie. public goods) which get underproduced and "steal half a cent from everyone" negative externalities like pollution, since no one has the individual incentive to do anything. Basically the only way to decentrally motivate participation in public goods production is to somehow leverage emergent properties of the social graph. Bitcoin is a crude example, using seignorage revenue from a currency to pay for core-level monetary infrastructure (ie. blockchain maintennance). Self-reinforcing trust/reputation systems are another, and that seems to be what this site is advocating.

Please hire a copyeditor. Please.

He's French.

I no longer believe that any of our actions can turn anything for the better.

Our only hope is discovering FTL and leaving this doomed planet for good.

That's not much of a hope, considering FTL violates everything we know about physics...

And in the several decades until then, you will be...

Suffering from excruciating mental pain from within?

Well, the people who believe the Rapture around the corner seem to be the typical example followed.

Hello. As author of this theory I'm joining this discussion.

"to only address fraud and deception" Well, no, there is more than this : the power structure I described, distinguishes several categories of power that can be delegated to different people in a systematic way, so that it is an effective organizational structure to deal with different issues: - systems of qualifications (diplomas) - research on legislative issues (on environmental and other issues of right and wrong and which rules would be needed) - attribution of financial resources for public interest operations (though it could be feared too weak as initially relying on donations, for standing competition with state expenses... if we forget that states are currently running to bankruptcy) - Financial investment decisions (granting credit in someone's name) - Judgment in difficult conflicts, or where one is not directly involved in ...

"uses an elaborate mixture of organizations and computer systems to solve a problem people can mostly just work out on their own"

More precisely, it rebuilds an organizational structure through an efficient use of computer systems. The point is to address those problems that are involving too many people (and/or people whose contact would otherwise not be under hand), which for this reason could not yet be just worked out by people on their own. And do it by systematically putting together the needed information which will finally make it possible for people to apply their own free judgment and action, possibly through delegates when needed, for solving the problems.

"And then it completely ignores the state's monopoly on violent retribution" What do you mean by "ignore" ? I focus on a large category of problems and how they can be resolved independently of the presence or absence of any violent retribution system; and that this is a so important quantity of things that the effects of these "soft" solutions will finally turn out to be heavier than the ordinary use of force by democratic states (well the case of non-democratic countries will be harder but...), and will ultimately absorb that use of force in it.

Some discussions implicitly assume the old list of political theories as the only available alternatives, thus are made obsolete by this proposition of another solution. I don't feel concerned with the question "state monopoly of force or not" since my proposition develops on another level that makes the question of force somewhat irrelevant. Namely, it would first focus on handling a large range of problems that I would qualify as indeed political but without disputing or requiring interaction with the current state power, as these are political problems of a kind that does not enter the category of problems that the state ever tried to manage: too small and not formal enough problems to ever reach any bureaucrat's desk, but of still quite real and heavy importance once summed up, relativizing as anecdotal the question of what to do with state force. Need examples ?

To talk about "enforcement mechanism" : I offer one that can be effective without need of force. Because it is an enforcement on money, but money is a mere information (a social convention), which can be "forced" by the mere play of information interaction without need of any physical force. See for this the beginning of my text on money.

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