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Weathering With You: An Agorist Perspective

If someone asked you what your favorite emotion was, how do you think you’d answer? For many people, I suspect they would answer “Happiness”, “Joy'', or some variant of exclusively positive emotion. Someone may think more meticulously and answer with “Contentment”, which while a positive emotion has a lot of nuance attached to it. However my answer to that question is what I feel others would consider more orthodox: Bittersweet. Pleasure accompanied by suffering, not exactly most people’s first pick but from my perspective pain is necessary in order to enjoy the pleasure that life gives you. Perhaps I'm over-romanticizing but there’s something to desire from looking back fondly at times where you were hurting and seeing yourself in a better place in the present. Perhaps you finally have moved on from “The one who got away” and can look back on those times with fondness. Perhaps you are sharing stories of a friend or family member at their funeral and though they may never w

Technological Agorism Part II: Infrastructure Disintermediation






If knowledge is power, then those with data are King.

In this context, it’s easy to understand why Columbia University professor Alexis Wichowski has coined the term “net-state.” As she writes in this Wired article, “Net-states are digital, non-state actors without the violence.”

Ahh, music to the agorist’s ear…


"We reject Kings, Presidents & voting. We believe in: rough consensus & running code."
-David Clark, MIT Professor 


The superpowers of net-states; tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook & similar firms, have become so powerful that they're beginning to out-compete governments in the provision of basic infrastructure, from power grids to telecommunications & public transportation. Indeed, it should come as no surprise that governments, being incapable of efficiently providing the most basic infrastructure, roads - will be poorly equipped to compete in the fast-paced, high-tech, digital age. This high-level disintermediation strikes at the very heart of the state. It deprives them of their bread & butter, so to speak.




Importantly, it also indicates that we’re beginning the transition into the 3rd phase of the agorist revolution. As Konkin notes in The New Libertarian Manifesto, the 3rd phase will be marked by the first glimpses of parity between the state & the Agora: “the resources of the economy approach equality between the state and the Agora.” As we'll see below, this parity is beginning to take shape.

In her new book, Information Trade, Wichowski contrasts the federal government's response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico with that of the private sector. Immediately following the storm, the entire island lost electricity & 95% of cell service went out. In total, it's estimated that more than 4,500 people died. Unsurprisingly the long neglected state-owned power infrastructure had been entirely destroyed.

As different levels & branches of governments argued amongst themselves over who was responsible for rebuilding the power grid, Elon Musk and the governor of Puerto Rico reached a tentative agreement over Twitter to refit the island with independent solar & battery systems.



In his book, Tools and Weapons, Microsoft President Brad Smith explains how the market has naturally incentivized that firm to provide free broadband infrastructure to rural American communities. A greater degree of broadband connectivity will enable Microsoft to expand its reach to previously inaccessible communities & market a secondary layer of products to them.

By doing so, Microsoft is assuming the functions and responsibilities once reserved exclusively for state actors. Smith freely acknowledges that by undertaking this project, Microsoft is taking a page right out of FDR's playbook. Roosevelt's expansion of the electrical grid flew in the face of the economic concept of timing, but this time around, it's the market & not the state taking the lead.

"Net-states” have even successfully defended the American public from targeted attacks on domestic infrastructure from our own government. For example, in the wake of the Snowden leak, it became apparent that the NSA was tapping into undersea fiber-optic cables belonging to American tech firms. As Smith recounts, “The reaction at Microsoft & across the industry was swift. In the weeks that followed, we & other companies announced that we’d implement strong encryption for all the data we moved between our data centers on fiber-optic cables.”

Thus, net-states are no longer competing with governments passively, but are now actively resisting government interference in market affairs. 





In 2018 more than two dozen tech firms led by Facebook & Microsoft signed a digital Geneva Convention, which declared that they would not help any state - including the US government - to launch cyberattacks on “innocent civilians and enterprises anywhere.”

Tech firms are standing up to states & competing in other non-traditional sectors as well. SpaceX has already replaced NASA’s shuttle program. Elon Musk’s other venture, the Hyperloop, promises a degree of efficiency several orders of magnitude greater than current public transportation models. Indeed, the examples are endless.

In any case, for the agorist, this is a welcomed and expected trend. We look forward to the increased living standards and improved quality of life that accompanies the death of a state monopolies.


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Weathering With You: An Agorist Perspective

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