An (im)perfect illustration of Anarchic Order


While I was listening to the Dead and reminiscing about my tripped out teenage years, I remembered a curious thing.  Anyone who’s been to a Grateful Dead shows knows about “Shakedown Street”.  Here we have a completely spontaneous market place born out of necessity.  As you stroll through you will see tents and roadside venders selling anything and everything you could possibly imagine.  Need an exotic pipe to smoke your wares, or how about those natural consumables to enhance your concert-going experience? How about bootleg tee-shirts( which are often better than the ones in the show)? Are you hungry or thirsty, well they got that too. The list goes on and on, you really can’t grasp the true scope unless you see it first hand. However it’s more than basic commerce, the idea of barter and trade is ever present, in fact it is one of the main elements that makes this little community thrive.  Folks there are willing to exchange items of value (determined by the individuals engaged in the transaction) for other items of value and/or services.  The market of needs and desires drives this spontaneous little community from town to town.  This to me, is an excellent albeit imperfect idea of what anarchic order can and would look like.

Now I’m sure some AnCap’s would say “many of the folks at Dead shows are socialist/statist.  I would respond that you are totally missing the point.  In the absence of a centralized administrative authority dictating how commerce should be done, these folks JUST DO IT!  Yes there are “rules” per se, but they are unspoken; the main one of which is don’t screw anyone over.  Why, you ask? Because in this anarchic market place reputation is EVERYTHING!  If you follow the Dead from show to show and your are known to be disreputable few people will interact with you, and you will have a hard time surviving/thriving.  There is no monopolistic coercion to force people to do commerce with you.  So you see, the “Anarchy” we speak of IS possible.  Yes it will not be perfect, there is not an (anarchic) answer for every situation we may encounter (yet).  However in the absence of The State, we as individuals and as a society will evolve to overcome the perceived obstacles the current nay-sayers bombard us with.


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