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+1 vote
Does anarchism typically assume that a complex industrial society able to provide consumer goods to some extent or maintain things such as the Internet can be sustained without capitalism through wholly decentralized, non-hierarchical groups?
I personally don't think a complex industrial society similar to today's is plausible in the hypothetical anarchist/decentralized societies. I doubt that they'd be able to maintain things close to now, or if they'd even want to. I have a hard time imagining people willingly going into mines to mine rare earth metals that are required in machines that host things like internet. That's just me though.

2 Answers

+1 vote
as human implies, it depends on what kind of anarchist you are (or to put it another way, how you define the state and/or domination). anarchist thinking ranges from a) things would be similar but more efficient, because workers know more about how to run things than bosses do, to b) it would look completely different but equally industrious because capitalism has been stultifying to people's imagination and creativity, to c) it would be be completely different and non-technological because technology and industry are part of a world view that is inherently dominating. that latter option is what folks here on this site tend toward, so you're likely to hear most about it here.
by (53.1k points)
i would add to that d) much technology would fall out of use because maintaining it without coercion/bureaucracy is impractical (e.g. mining rare earth minerals for computers). strictly speaking, decentralized non-hierarchical organizations could probably do it, but not without bureaucracy, which is also undesirable.
0 votes
Yes, it is more than a possibility, but forget about the consumer goods aspect. If we all lived together for one another we would fulfill everyone's needs and desires.

A true society is a community, that is only possible where there is complete co-operation.

So how would this work out?

The basics are food, shelter, clothing, pleasure, etc. Remove money from those few needs and what we'd have is unlimited.

Food would be grown locally and in abundance via new techniques such as massive green houses, hydroponic systems, etc. So even in colder climates we could have plenty. We could also exchange foodstuff with other communities worldwide.

Shelter, a well built house will be home to many for centuries, and thus minimize use of resources. We already have the means to build such homes which would be energy efficient, very low maintenance, which would be built according to climate, according to family needs, etc.

Obviously without the restriction of money a family or an individual would live in an adequate home rather than be squashed in like sardines in a little flimsy tin. Humans naturally like space, lack of such drives us nuts!

Clothing can be made from materials other than animal hair or skin. Mind you sheep don't generally bother about a trim;

Pleasure, even now that need not involve money.

I may have seemed to have jumped ahead a little, but let's look at more detail. All of this will take work, but how much, and can it really be termed work when helping others, when doing things for yourself is actually a pleasure. Obviously co-operation means we'd all be contributing in some way, but that doesn't mean you'd do anything unsuitable or against your will. We do have machines to do most work, yes even now.

The greatest advance would be free electricity. Even with today's technology we could have a complete and perfectly function worldwide community. There are deserts a plenty. So get some panels there and hey presto, mega mega watts.

We've always had inventors, visionaries, but these are all held by lack of money, or big business blocking their methods, buying up their technological know how and suppressing it.

Business is about profit, and that's why business is bad for the planet, for us.

A humanity free of money will be a humanity free of struggle, able to focus on the real needs creatively and bring about a simplicity of living to actually allow us all to live rather than function as machines for making others money.

Every area of our lives is limited and corrupted by money. Education is not education but schooling, with the end of a compliant weak worker and nothing more. Housing is not housing but what you can afford, or not.

So, the real question is, are you ready?
by (420 points)
I never read the bread book, but this seems like the cliffs notes edition.

 That sounds like it would require an immense amount labour and energy to maintain, like massive green houses, farms (i.e. food & clothing materials other than fur/skin), hydroponics, electricity, and more. The fuel and other materials to maintain such energy isn't readily available in a lot of areas. In areas that it is, I wonder if the people in those areas would be willing to mine fuel and other materials (like metals and rare earth metals), let alone for people elsewhere? It's a pretty destructive process to obtain and extract them. Maintaining a farm, especially a massive one, requires a lot of labour and fuel to produce the energy to maintain it and these machines you mention.

To me, that doesn't seem that desirable or plausible without some sort of huge bureaucracy being put into place. :/

Hello there Human.

Labour, effort, call it what you want, is an absolute necessity if we are to eat, to live in whatever state. Some have tried to eliminate all effort, you know like those pretentious yogi's sitting in a cave, or going around the streets mooching alms who can't afford to give but do due to superstition... like royalty pretending they have some pure godly pedigree that all other people do not... like the laird who stole the land then demands all to contribute to his well being, etc, etc, etc. All parasitic types do is live a limited life in a prison of their own making.

To me we have to look beyond the state of the world as it is today, the psychology of conformity to which the vast majority unconsciously and unquestioningly obey. Selfishness is not inherent, it is a trait demanded by a social structure which has the ugliness of exploitation at its heart.

So I see no problem with people living and working with/for each other as is natural.

I've been directly involved in a disaster. Everyone dropped what they were doing and ran to help. That is all that was in that moment; no boss, no waiting for authorities to tell us what or what not to do. It was simply the spontaneous knowing what to do. Even when real danger to ourselves, we worked together with knowing.

Now, why can't that be always?

Obviously if people live within a system which has money as its food supply, the people will want money. What I talking about is getting beyond the problem, the only and real solution. Sure we could modify the money system. Make it so that there is no private ownership of money, no private control. So, governments could issue all money and give everyone enough to have a lifestyle just above their basic needs. But that is just replacing one nonsense with another... ending where we are, a control system.

If we all grasp what real co-operation is, that's all it will take. Suddenly, everyone will say "yeah, we don't need any fake nonsense. We don't need a currency, an exchange system. We all live together anyway, so why not cut the crap and live together for one another".

At the moment as I'm sure you know, we're all living for the boss, for the government, for the church, for the whatever. We have a series of parasites not just demanding but who have created laws to ensure our compliance and continuing contributions to their quality of life.

If it can work with money, with the carrot dangling from the string suspended on a long stick, why can't we simply co-operate with one another for one another?