Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Anomic Breakdown" and Beyond

The bankster controlled elitist states around the world are collapsing. Greece is a preview. So what is happening in Greece? Anomic breakdown.

Under the headline: Struggling Greeks losing belief in the state, Paul Mason at the BBC reports:
During the autumn, Greek commentators began to speak of "anomic breakdown", where people begin to disobey laws and social norms individually.
There are all kinds of factions developing: hard-right, extreme left, anti-German, most appear unaware that central planning is itself the problem. Most just want their central planners in power. Here's Mason again:
The polls tell one part of the story. The Pasok party, which tried and failed to implement the first austerity bill until replaced by a technocratic coalition in October, is now down to 11%. (Epikaria poll, 16 February 2012) 
New Democracy, the centre-right party that expected to form the government - it has been a two- horse race since the restoration of democracy in the 1980s - is also in trouble. Its own vote - 27.5% - is not enough to form a government. And 20 MPs just got expelled for opposing the bailout.

The Christian Orthodox hard-right party, LAOS, has also split, after leaving the coalition government during the austerity vote last Sunday. I heard two perfectly ordinary guys, sitting next to me in a cafe, comment: "I don't care if the splitters from LAOS were once fascists. They are right."

The far left is now polling a combined 43.5%. The extreme-right party Golden Dawn is on 2.5%. And there's an air of mania....
The left, for its part, remains riven by splits. When the security squad of the communist trade union PAME clashed with anarchists on a demo last summer, the communists pinned the blame on the other big left party, Syriza.
Outflanking both of them, a tiny former "eurocommunist" party called the Democratic Left has gone from near zero to 16% in the polls.

Yiannis Bournous, the international spokesman for Syriza, believes that despite this, it may be possible for the left to attempt to form a government. "And run a state that's part of Nato?" I ask. He makes clear that any left government would do the basic things - certainly not leave Nato.

Syriza and the DemLeft do not even want to leave the euro: Syriza's proposal is for Greece to declare a selective moratorium on debt repayments and use the euro bailout money for a programme of social reform.

In the meantime, their growing popularity is not just down to the militant atmosphere on demonstrations: "We've built a solid record in local administrations," claims Mr Bournous "and all over the country groups of our supporters are organising things: food provision, bartering clubs, self-help groups. That's how we've built ourselves.

"We are talking about a new bloc of forces that have their internal differences but which agree on the rejection of the new memorandum and this suffocating policy of super-austerity."

Does he seriously think they can form a government?

"This is our proposal. They must put aside their partial differences and after the election, yes, form a new bloc of power." 
This week the German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schauble, voiced fears others have only spoken about in private: that given the low showing of the "mainstream parties", there should be a truly technocratic government, with no career politicians involved.
Others, such as the appointed Pasok MP Elena Panaritis - an economist who advises the party leadership - say the elections should be postponed:

"If there's an election so soon, then there'll be elections again in two months, and an election the next months, and then we can kiss the country goodbye, and possibly the euro goodbye. If we're not seriously looking at the repercussions we're looking possibly at a situation like Russia in the early 1990s; then Russia had a poverty rate higher than under communism. And it had crooks running the country."

I have been reporting the Greek crisis now for two years, intermittently on the ground, and it looks like something changed, tangibly, in the past 10 days.

The established parties lost belief in what the EU is forcing them to do; parts of the EU lost belief in it too; and the people - quite wide layers of society - lost belief in the political class.
Governments around the world are all at varying stages of collapse. I fear what will replace them. Anomic breakdown, itself, sounds like something close to the spontaneous breakdown of current state tyranny. If it stopped there, new free markets would develop. However, many will seek to replace the power removed by anomic breakdown. The danger is in these replacements.

The real problem is that the masses may not be able to tell the difference between freedom and chains, and thus simply choose new shiny chains.



  1. "Greece averted nightmare scenario - finance minister" 2/21/12 article by bbc


    Collectivists, statists and elitists have once again saved Greece, the EU and possibly the world. Nothing can stop the genius of the rulers. The press assures us all is well. Continue paying your taxes and abide by our rules.

  2. “The crisis gives us the opportunity to clean the market..." Lots of Austrian undertones from the Greeks in this piece: http://t.co/QepoAuRS

  3. I don't understand the anarchist point of view. Don't we need a state to protect property rights? Sometimes I think it's like a football game, and the Ref is picking up the ball, taking sides, really ruining the game. But does that mean we shouldn't have a referee? I don't know. I guess I just can't imagine it.

    1. No doubt we would need a referee occasionally in an anarchist society, though I believe there would be less litigation and more compromise in an anarchist society. The question still remains: who chooses the referee? Must you submit to an incompetent referee who attempts to force you or should you be able to choose your own?

  4. Anon@205pm-

    Excellent article- I am shocked it is a NYTimes piece. I've always found the NYT magazine more open to libertarian thought than the broadsheet, but this is a wonderful piece of journalism.

    Greece may once again thrive, but it will have to drive out the Minotaur of the EU first.

  5. Deft, the State has replaced Society- the amorphous emergent property of a group of individuals who peacefully co-exist and seek to solve problems via diplomacy instead of force. When property rights are considered sacred, even threats from the outside are dealt with diplomatically at first, with violence as a last resort. Anarchy is simply a rather pejorative name for this.

    Glad you liked the article, RW.

    Dale Fitz

  6. This is a perfect time for secession movements within Greece -- perhaps a return to their ancient citystate model? If I were in Greece, outside of Athens, i think I could easily be persuaded that MY best route back to prosperity would be to have my city or region secede from Greece and the EU and form a new country. Is anyone aware of active movements in Greece of this nature?

  7. Deft, in a an anarchy dispute resolution would be an independant arbitrator. (and am not suggesting it would be wine and roses either) If you had a team in the NFL then your obigated to use NFL refs until you left the NFL to do whatever.(i know my NFL example falls over at a certain point) The difference is you can't escape the state as a monopoly provider of force in a given area.

  8. Deft - having the state to protect property rights is about as smart as having a fox to guard a henhouse.

    State is nothing more than organized crime - theft, armed robbery, mass murder, you name it - on a colossal scale. The size and might of the state overwhelms most people's ability to reason, but try to name a single meaningful difference between the state and a mafia. Aside from meaningless propagandist ritual of voting there's none.

    And, yes, you can have referee and laws without a state. History has seen it working (one such society, in Ireland, managed to preserve Western civilization during the fall of Roman empire, - and lived much longer than any known state before being overrun by much more powerful conquerors).

    In fact, the laws can be logically derived from few completely unassailable facts of life - as was suspected since times of St. Thomas Aquinas and has been proven by Murray Rothbard. The corollary is that there's no need for legislation and democracy or even republic to create the laws. There's only one immutable set of logically self-consistent laws. Most of the time people instinctively adhere to these laws, in their day-to-day lives, anyway.

    The enforcement of the laws similarly does not need any central monopoly; even now private security outnumbers police - and is way cheaper and safer to have around, and a lot more efficient in suppressing crime (that's why businesses hire it even when they have to "support" police through taxes).

    So here we are - anarchism is the only political philosophy which does not lead to either illogical nonsense or statements that some people must have more rights than others. Logically, it is unassailable.

  9. @Deft, maybe these links will help you to understand?:

    ..."The common law itself developed chiefly from market transactions and spontaneously emerging community standards, not from the state; the state merely absorbed and co-opted law as it has so many other functions of the market and civil exchange." ...


    "... any force-based system necessarily compromises private property rights: a system of power cannot guarantee property but can only guarantee property for as long as that power finds it beneficial. In other words, property exists subject to the whim of government leaders, which increases uncertainty and therefore creates disincentives to invest in risky projects.

    Also, such a system provides the illusion of a universal “safe path” for business." ...


    "... markets successfully manage to provide all services that are worth providing. Making government provide a solution that the market “cannot” simply means making a good or service available prematurely while forcing the costs on everybody through taxation. In either case, it is obvious that government is the problem and cause of the “failure” of markets.

    The solution is more market,..."


  10. Here is a perfect Real World example of how property rights work without government:

    The Culture of Violence in the American West: Myth versus Reality

    ... "What were these private protective agencies? They were not governments because they did not have a legal monopoly on keeping order. Instead, they included such organizations as land clubs, cattlemen's associations, mining camps, and wagon trains.

    So-called land clubs were organizations established by settlers before the U.S. government even surveyed the land, let alone started to sell it or give it away. Because disputes over land titles are inevitable, the land clubs adopted their own constitutions, laying out the “laws” that would define and protect property rights in land (Anderson and Hill 1979, 15). They administered land claims, protected them from outsiders, and arbitrated disputes. Social ostracism was used effectively against those who violated the rules. Establishing property rights in this way minimized disputes — and violence." ...


  11. It is called antinomianism, e.g "I not stealing, I'm merely fighting against the system."