Sep 28, 2020
A lot of libertarians and anarcho-capitalists envision a future of small corporate states competing for migrants and capital by trying to have the best policies.
But the Internet is about as close to that vision as we’re likely to find outside the pages of a political philosophy textbook. And I am far from convinced.
Let’s back up. Internet communities – ranging from a personal blog like this one all the way up to Facebook and Reddit – share many features with real communities. They work out rules for punishing defectors – your trolls, your harassers – and appoint a hierarchy of trusted individuals to carry out those rules. They try to balance competing concerns like free expression and public decency. They host cliques, power grabs, flame wars, even religious strife. They try to raise revenue, they establish a class system of Power Users and Premium Users, they deal with resentment from people who aren’t getting their way. They develop a culture.