A Beautiful Anarchy: How to Create Your Own Civilization in the Digital Age is Jeffrey Tucker’s rhapsodic hymn to the digital age, and a call to use the tools it has granted us to enhance human freedom, and to reduce and end intellectual dependency on the state. It shows that every truly valuable aspect of our lives extends not from politics and the regime but from our own voluntary choices.
Choice has created the marvels of the digital age that bestows its benevolence on us every day. Its greatest contribution has been to link the people of the world in communication.
The critical fact about communication is its creative power. It is a form of exchange. The goods exchanged are not property but ideas, and this exchange results in new ideas, new intellectual wealth, the precondition for changing the world.
Unscripted, uncontrolled, uncensored communication illustrates the productive power of anarchy. The more this communicative anarchy has advanced, the more it has served to build civilization.
This is a triumph for human liberty, Tucker argues, and with liberty comes flourishing and the cultivation of civilized life. Philosophers of all ages have dreamed of a world without power, despots, and bullies — a world built by people and for people. The market in the digital age is delivering that to us.
And it’s not only about us. It’s about everyone. Wherever the state is not standing in the way, prosperity comes flooding in. We are in the midst of the longest and most-dramatic period of poverty reduction the world has ever known. In the last ten years, some 70 million people have been lifted from destitution. Fewer than half the people who were so 25 years ago still qualify today.
The reason is technology, communication, entrepreneurship, and that wonderful trajectory away from gatekeepers toward personal empowerment the world over. This is the gift of the digital age, the most spectacular and revolutionary period of change the world has ever known.
The aims of A Beautiful Anarchy are: 1) to draw attention to the reality that surrounds us but we hardly ever bother to notice, much less celebrate; 2) to urge a willingness to embrace this new world as a means of improving our lives regardless of what the anachronistic institutions of power wish us to do; 3) to elucidate the causes and effects that have created this new world; and 4) to urge more of the good institutions that have created this beautiful anarchy.
This books covers the uses of social media, the blessed end of the nation-state, the way the government is destroying the physical world, the role of commerce in saving humanity, the depredations of nation-state monetary policy, the evil of war and the lie of national security, and private societies as agents of liberation. And it offers a hopeful prognosis for a creative and productive world without central control. The book is topical, pithy, and anecdotal, yet points to the big ideas and the larger picture to help frame the great economic and political debates of our time.
The book is in digital format, but 450 pages in physical form.