The Sovereign Individual -- Mastering the transition to the information age
This book is about economy, political philosophy, investing, technology, "microprocessing",
and megapolitics, with special considerations of human history.
The authors explain why they think that the contemporary human society will
itself transform into an information society much quicker and more violent than
the transition from hunting-and-gathering to farming happened.
Quotes - with my remarks in italics:
page 15: "The death of Communism is merely the most striking example. As we explore in detail, the collapse of morality and growing corruption among leaders of Western governments are not random developments. They are evidence that potential of the nation-state is exhausted."
p354: "Socialism having collapsed, interventionists now dream of achieving the ends of socialism through more market-efficient means by heavily regulating the firm."
p356: "The most costly part of what modern nation-states do -redistributing income- is not the provision of a public good at all, but the provision of private goods at public expense. "Public expense" here is a euphemnism for "at the expense of those who pay the taxes".
p356: Nobel Prize winning economist Ronald Coase is quoted concerning problems of pollution: "government is not needed to resolve externality issues."
p358/239: "Mafiyas, ethnic criminal gangs, nomenklaturas, drug lords, and renegade covert agencies ... are microparasites feeding on a dying system. ... Their influence and power is part of the downsizing of politics ... Before most nation states visibly collapse they will be dominated by latter day barbarians. ... The end of an era is usually a period of intense corruption."
Michelle R. Garfinkel and Stergios Skaperdas "The Political Economy of Conflict and Appropriation" is quoted on p363: "Individuals and groups can either produce and thus create wealth or seize the wealth created by others."
That remembers me of what Ayn Rand (or was it Frederic Bastiat?) said long before: "There are two only possibilities to make a living, working or stealing."
In order not to be hurt by a steadily transforming society,
which is "a complex adaptive system",
for which still no mathematical models exist,
as Stuart Kauffman explained in
"At Home in Universe",
we must anticipate the future and make the proper decisions.
"The Sovereign Individual" not only show what's wrong in current society, but where society is headed and propose solutions to vote with your feed, i.e.: to exit compulsion, to denationalize.
Decreasing transaction cost thanks to limitless communication allows the individual to become more virtual. If the state can't guarantee our security and protect our property, we are vulnerable and have other chance than to become virtual. An object without location can't be attacked. As Kevin Kelly in "Out of Control" explained, encryption for example allows to create data havens, as an analogy of the world's banking havens.
p325: "if encrypted system are designed properly, nation-states would merely be able to sabotage or destroy certain sums of digital money, not seize it."
p352: "Objectors will not only complain that information technology destroys jobs; they will also complain that it negates democracy because it allows individuals to place their resources outside the reach of political compulsion. For this reason, the reactionaries of the new millenium will find the financial privacy facilitated by information technology especially threatening."
p366: "Organized crime, after all, provides the main comptetion to nation-states in employing violence for predatory purposes" and quoting Charles Tilly "that governments themselves 'quintessential protection rackets with the advantage of legitimacy' qualify as our largest examples of organized crime."
Another quote from Charles Tilly from p365: "Consider the definition of a racketeer as someone who creates a thread and then charges for its reduction. Governments' provision of protection, by this standard, often qualifies as racketeering."
In this book being published in 1997, four years before WTC collapsed, the authors predicted rise of terrorism.
p363: "The most obvious evidence of declining decisiveness of centralized power is the rise of terrorism. High-profile bombings in the United States in the mid-nineties show that even the world's military superpower is not immune from attack. ... worldwide growth ... of organized crime, along with ... political corruption ... reflect a generally amoral atmosphere in which the state can coerce but not protect."