Tag: rise of Internet government

The Netstate Project (1.2)

The Netstate Project is the creation of a book describing the rise of an Internet-based world government. I am writing this book in installments on Docudharma and cross-posting the text to other blogs. All of the writings of the Netstate Project are in the public domain and may be copied and distributed freely.

1.2 You Can’t Get There From Here: The Argument of Discontinuity

“You can’t get there from here” is the punch-line of an old joke in which a lost traveler asks for directions only to be told that his journey is impossible. I will use it as a plain English simplification of my first argument for explaining why the Netstate will supplant geostates. There is no practical way that a set of territorial states can effectively manage the affairs of a global, electronically-linked society. There is no viable path of evolutionary continuity that will allow geographically organized states to properly manage global affairs on a collaborative basis. It may be argued that a sufficiently detailed and sophisticated set of multilateral agreements could be developed to seamlessly integrate the laws of all nations and enable friction-free global electronic communications and commerce. But how would this outcome differ from the political subordination of geostate law to that of a supervening Netstate?  And how could such a cumbersome, multilateral process possibly keep pace with the rapid natural tempo of development of Internet-based phenomena? There is no practical path toward achieving the great benefits of utility of the Netstate that preserves the existing powers and prerogatives of the geostates. As geostates fail to generate the political structure necessary to sustain a networked world, the resultant political vacuum will contribute to the formation of the Netstate.  

The Netstate Project

I wrote the Netstate essay in 1997 and never published it. Although I was a keen observer of the rise of the blogs and had ample opportunity to set up my own soapbox, I shrank from publishing a profoundly radical view of technology-mediated political evolution. In part, I was put off by the ferocity of blogosphere debate. I viewed with repugnance the personality-based blogging that dragged down every attempt to create fruitful discourse into a demolition derby of colliding egos and business interests. In short, I was afraid. The circumstances of the world are very different today. The optimistic enthusiasms of the Internet bubble have given way to a paralyzing dread of economic and ecological calamities, and reason itself is under steady assault, as coherent thought is displaced by a babble of fragmentary perspectives and sophistries. I now fear that if no radical and coherent vision of a better way forward is made available, confusion and cynicism will prevail.

It is a strange irony of Internet communication that that successive new modes of human interaction appear to be regressing in their ability to handle complexity. The typical early Web era essay had 10x more content than the typical blog article, and the typical blog article has 10x more content than the typical reader response post, and the typical blog post has 10x more content than the typical cellphone text message or twitter tweet. Perhaps the next big thing after twitter will be tweaks: witty exchanges of TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms). My response to this entropic spiral of increasingly trivial and incoherent communication will be to expand the Netstate essay into a book which I will write and edit here, on Docudharma, as a series of blog essays. I can think of no better way to conform to Docudharma’s motto of “Blogging the Future.”