Governance Without Government: Blockchain Technology
It is said that every generation experiences one revolution in their lifetime, but often are not even aware of it. My generation is standing face to face with technology that has the potential to change the world order as we know it. The blockchain is the running force behind the next Internet revolution that transforms the power structures in place, altering everything, from the way we communicate, do business to the way we deal with politics. In this essay, I will attempt to discuss the implications of such technology on an individual and societal level, exploring the possibilities of the next political system which overcomes the constraints of the current one – nation-state.
The Internet has 3 generations so far (Jain, 2006), the first wave – the internet of information (Google), the second – the internet of service (Facebook, Amazon), and the final, third one, that is now supposed to introduce technology never seen before – Internet of value. Internet of value is significant on so many levels, but essentially it is supposed to give users the option to make transactions via Internet only. You must be wondering if your PayPal account is a part of this extremely valuable concept, and the answer is – no. What makes this type of technology as revolutionary, is that it would completely cross out any existing middleman in any sort of exchange, and in this case – your bank.
This brings out a very important question – what makes us need and use banks in the first place? What makes us give out personal information to random social media platforms? What makes us get in a vehicle with a stranger when using public transport? The answer to this is, in a way, painfully simple and intuitive – we do it because we trust these institutions. We trust the bank to give us money when we ask for it, we trust the media platforms to make our communication easier and we trust the public transportation companies not to hire sociopaths, but drivers who are going to get us from point A to point B. Based on this trust that we have established, we create certain perceptions of these institutions. Our perceptions give them validity and purpose. The same is with countries we live in. We trust the government to keep us safe, to collect and redistribute tax money, to educate our children and do so much more. Trusting the institution of a nation-state, embodied in our government, we enable them to exercise the power of highest authority in the state, thus structuring people’s reality based on how they perceive the institution of a state. This means that any change in our perception would radically change the reality we live in. The Internet has so far changed the way we perceive find and use information and the way we communicate. Now, it’s about to
This inevitably points to the raison d’etre [reason for being] of the nation-state and Anderson’s work (1983) on them in his book Imagined communities. He describes nation states to be a product of so-called print capitalism- the theory he used to describe how people form these imaginary communities based on commonly understood medium of communication (language).
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