This concepts of crypto and open source align deeply with the fundamentals of anarchy where collective effort, individual liberty, and freedom of association are paramount to the whole enterprise. Acknowledging these parallels is important as the technology evolves, and putting it in dialogue with specific visions of anarchy can inspire the evolution of the field in interesting ways. In this blog, we want to do just that, create a dialogue between the father of Anarco-communism, Pëtr Kropotkin, as layed out in “The Conquest of Bread,” and highlight how crypto and open source can be seen as the perfect tools to realize his ideas of a just and productive society.
Collective Effort and the Means of Production
According to Kropotkin, nothing in society is created in a vacuum. Every invention, thought, and creation is the result of a collective effort spanning generations. Therefore, the means of production belong to the entirety of humanity. The appropriation of these means by a select few leads to unfair working conditions and prioritizes the desires of owners over the needs of societies. This realization calls for a reevaluation of the current economic system, where resources are misallocated and employed for frivolous purposes. By acknowledging the collective nature of progress, crypto and open source movements offer a way to redistribute power, while at the same time, speeding up the process of innovation.
Anarcho-Communism and Individual Liberty
Anarchy seeks to establish a society that prioritizes the needs of individuals, enabling them to achieve fulfillment and satisfaction. This necessitates a deep understanding of human needs beyond basic survival, allowing for a study of how these needs can be met collectively. Anarcho-communism embraces the concept of individual liberty and freedom of association, recognizing these as inherent natural instincts. It argues that even in societies inclined towards individualism, there is an inherent tendency towards communal efforts and cooperation. The removal of obstacles such as class divisions and private ownership of the means of production would pave the way for individuals to behave ethically and contribute actively to the betterment of society.
The Open-Source Character of Anarchy
Kropotkin highlights the negative effects of patents and secrecy in hindering progress and innovation. He argues that patents isolate inventors and prevent the dissemination of knowledge. In contrast, open source principles align with the ethos of anarchy by fostering collaboration, sharing, and the free exchange of ideas. The open-source model encourages collective contributions and enables rapid progress by leveraging the diverse perspectives and expertise of a community. Similarly, crypto technologies promote transparency, decentralization, and inclusivity, allowing for the creation of secure and auditable governance systems. By embracing open-source principles, crypto empowers individuals to participate actively in shaping the future.
Objections and Solutions
Objections to anarchy often stem from concerns about productivity and the assumption that people will not work without the motivation of a salary, granted by them by an employer. However, evidence suggests that voluntary work can be as productive as paid work, and true freedom can foster increased activity and passion. Kropotkin argues that laziness is not inherent in individuals but rather a consequence of oppressive systems and lack of fulfillment. By removing coercive measures and focusing on addressing the root causes of indolence, such as poverty and lack of opportunity to have a real stake in the enterprise, anarchy can create a society where individuals find passion and purpose in their work.
Crypto offers potential solutions, or alternatives to the current work setups through decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). DAOs enable collective decision-making and ownership, while NFTs can represent ownership rights and rewards within a decentralized ecosystem. These innovations can be seen as laying the basis for creating alternative arrangements to traditional salary systems that allow for greater automony and shared responsibility/ownership.
Regardless of whether one agrees with Kropotkin’s worldview, there is value in contemplating the principles of anarchy and their alignment with crypto. It prompts us to consider alternative perspectives and explore new possibilities for societal organization and progress.
Furthermore, it’s important to note that there are other strands of anarchy that resonate with the crypto movement. In our next episode, we will delve into these different perspectives, beginning with an exploration of Anyd Rend’s anarco-liberalism. Stay tuned as we continue to explore the intriguing relationship between anarchy and crypto, uncovering potential synergies and thought-provoking concepts.