People Behave Socially and 'Well' Even Without Rules, Online Avatar Study Shows
ScienceDaily (Jan. 16, 2012) — Millions of human interactions were assessed during the study which included actions such as communication, founding and ending friendships, trading goods, sleeping, moving, however also starting hostilities, attacks and punishment. The game does not suggest any rules and everyone can live with their avatar (i.e. with their "game character" in the virtual world) as they choose. "And the result of this is not anarchy," says Thurner. "The participants organise themselves as a social group with good intents. Almost all the actions are positive."
"Liberty,"Pierre-Joseph Proudhon said," is the mother, not the daughter of order." Too often freedom and security are seen as concepts that need to be balanced and managed by our wise and benevolent leaders when they are really two sides of the same coin. Yin and yang.
The Internet is one of the best examples of "anarchy" out there, a vast and complex web of interdependent networks, decentralized, horizontal, and lightning fast interaction, with very minimal coercive regulations.
There are problems, of course, as any system composing fallible human beings will have, but they tend to be fixed quickly, products improve, and shady characters and swindlers have hundreds of websites calling them out or sanctioning them. When people are left alone to live their lives as they see fit, they prosper and cooperate like no central planner could ever dream of.
The web provides us with a glaring example of the benefits of the anarchic nature of civilization, of unleashed human liberty. And with that liberty, comes order - and just the right amount of it.