O'Regan, Emlyn wrote:
<regarding implementing a completely virtual government on the net:>
> Do you think that you could somehow attach control of real-world resources
> to mailing lists? So various lists could actually make binding decisions
> that affect the physical world? Then maybe you start getting something
> what Billy proposes above. You could eventually attach *all government* to
> mailing lists which any person in the world was free to join or leave at
> time. Sounds pretty unstable to me, but I'd like to hear good reasons why
> it'd work or not.
I don't think that mailing lists provide the depth of interpersonal interaction (not to mention economic transactions) that you need to have a real society. MUD-type systems can get closer, but what you really want is a virtual community with decent bandwidth and facilities for exchanging real money.
That aside, I think the single bigest barrier to creating purely virtual states is ensuring their independence. Right now, such a community would be very vulnerable to attack by nation-states (especially the state its servers are located in). Since just about every country with decent Internet connectivity also participates in a web of international mutual extradition treaties, it would be very difficult to set up an independent legal regime. On line theft, fraud, and other serious (i.e. widely recognized) crimes will end up being punished by some physical country, which means that the virtual states can never actually have sovereignty.
> As Billy suggests, different styles of control could be tried by different
> groups (democracy, rule by everyone (where everyone can vote on
> monarchy, dictatorships, corporate fun, etc...) and natural selection
> sort out the goats from the sheep. Although anyone who's ever played a
> multiplayer strategy game will concurr that there are many factors
> in surviving such a setup - looking weak can be real bad, looking strong
> be REAL bad.
This is one reason I want that vestigial national government - it can prevent the localities from making war on one another, which forces them to compete within the rules of the market.
Billy Brown, MCSE+I