I wrote this ages ago and posted it on Indymedia.com. Maybe it will interest you guys as well. I realise it's a bit wordy but give it a skim, see what you think. Andrew Mactier, 17.12.2001 12:44 It's a statement of intent. It's about how the first inklings of anarchy will, calmly and peacefully, begin to present themselves in our (everyone's) lives. How the revolution doesn't have to be bloody and how some can make a start right now. Starts off with a technical description, then there're a few very generic pictures of how it would work, from micro to macro. Then some answers to possible questions. Please, enjoy. A hope, a vision, a small way on. The internet remains intact but spawns an offspring for the real world - the GLAN (Global Local Area Network). By simple design it is organic in nature and remains relevant to its local environment. Instead of the WorldWideWeb, new machines are made which more or less constantly stay in touch with computers in their area and/or sector whenever they are switched on. They do so by means of communication technology similar to a modem + (mobile) phone. Chat rooms are available limited to the surrounding (large or small) area. The first computers they access in a search are those nearby. 1) Local business could interest and get to know local customers and, more importantly for that business, vice versa. 2) Local people could get to know each other (as far as they want) by perusal of the local homepages. Frexample, you speak French and someone's homepage says they want to extend their basic knowledge. It also says they play the guitar which you wouldn't mind learning a bit of. Arrange some mutual lesson time and you're both getting something you want for free! I think these glob access consoles would run on a flexible kind of Local Area Network, expandable as far as the user wanted or as necessary for the task in hand. It would run on two, overlapping but different strata; geographical and sector. So a computer in a clothes shop would be linked to people, shops etc in the area (geographical), and to it's larger suppliers and clients (sector). Hopefully as the technology grows the consoles will work more on their own without the need of outside help for the communication lines and so no one has to pay a company to access computers which are all in the near vicinity. Each person or small group looks after their own equipment. It's important that computers have their own technology built in for getting them a relevant place in the network. Maybe a small amount of the machine would be running all the time like a signal relay on a telecom network. Each computer would contribute to increasing the overall speed and efficiency of the network instead of costing. I think the GLAN would be much easier to access than the net, in terms of maintenance and information transfer. Passing on of knowledge - one of the essentially human joys of life. Facilitation of it = bonus. Removal of the ugly money side of it where practical = double bonus (to me). A lot of the cost of money could be removed in this way and who you are and what you could do could take some of its importance. The skills of teaching and learning, sadly devalued in today's society for the simple reason (and chaotic implications) that kids don't want to be in school, would be practised a great deal more to everyone's benefit. People could learn whatever they wanted to learn, however they wanted to learn it. It's big. And so - with scientific knowledge and information being sold for free on the internet (that's what it was for before all), and skills hopefully being shared a lot more easily through organic LANs, how would it continue from there in your mind? I see moving, organic practicality... Let me show you a microcosm. Kid A doesn't have a guitar but wants one. He goes to Ms B down the road who can make guitars having learned from Master C several years ago. Kid A watches Ms B as she makes the guitar and helps out where he can, picking up general pointers as he goes. When the guitar is finished, she checks it over then presents it to the overjoyed Kid A. If Ms B doesn't think Kid B deserves a guitar for nothing, he could pay for it with a visit to the local forest, where he can do some unskilled work for wood, or to a steel mine for string material or anything else that Ms B wants. Because Ms B makes a lot of good guitars there are quite a few in the area and most owners can play a little so Kid A, through the GLAN or not, can easily arrange lessons even if they are just impromptu. As and when he sees fit, he might want to move away from where Ms B has made her home because his guitar playing is one of his few skills (being a mere kid) and everyone in the area who wants to play, can. He might want to go somewhere where his skill is rarer and perhaps interesting to people living there. Near, say, Complex D, the famous hi-fi production facility where he could trade his skills as an entertainer and guitar teacher for hi-fi equipment or a skill that someone offered to teach him in exchange if he was interested. You have to assume that at any hi tech manufacturer there will by quite a few experts in quite a few things at any one time. Movement promotes life, stagnation stifles it. Let's zoom out a ways. Middlecosm. Each individual or group's homepage would include a certain amount of statistical information made up by questionnaires and give and take lists. Interests, experiences, excess things, things needed, skills wanted and skills offered, empty houses etc. As much or as little as the individual or group wanted to include. The statistics could be converted to colours and overlaid on maps at the control of the GLAN user. This would help guide the rolling person. Trade routes would develop hopefully becoming slowly more reliant on goods exchanges instead of goods purchases but who knows. I wouldn't be in charge (though I'd sure as fuck put in my two cents worth). Out once more. Macrocosm. How would things traditionally reserved for the big world continue to take place if money lost its appeal? How would we progress, technologically, without money as our driving force and guiding light? This is perhaps the easiest of all three. Basically - say you have an idea that you think is good. No one in your local world can tell you if there's anything wrong with it so you put it out on the network in one or several nearby areas which are currently hot with the big thinkers in the relevant fields, tell them the idea and where it's being worked on and await results. Could be your idea is already being developed somewhere and maybe they'll invite you there. Could be the people who know can tell you why it wouldn't work. Could be you'll only attract a couple of misters and a few kids keen to put into use what they've been learning at the hot spot where they were, but presumably these people who turned up with an interest and ability in this relevant field will be able to develop the idea some way and explain it more succinctly to tempt the masters of the relevant fields. And so it grows. Background philosophy summary: Exchange of information is unlike material objects or money, it can be offered to unlimited people though benefiting only some. It is now easy and almost free once you can afford to get yourself a computer. Information to be useful usually has to go hand in hand with understanding and, in many cases, practised skill. Knowledge (info + understanding) unlike money has intrinsic worth. Skills unlike money are rewarding and universally beneficial to acquire. People like to be useful and able and will continue to try to be so for the same reason as they do today - in order to pull, you know, a status thing. Money when you've got it is safe and comfortable. Money has never been fair. I'm not proposing to outlaw it because that would be impractical and I think state control should be minimised where possible anyway, I'm just proposing that an alternative existence should be allowed. Development: As the GLAN becomes more dominant on everyday things over it's big brother, the internet could get back to it's roots, ie become something of an arc containing the sum total of human knowledge. The commercial shit really gets in the way of that. 'What's it all about' is the biggest question of them all. A common answer in this world is money and when people say it they know their tongue is only half in cheek. I'm an idealist but that thought gets me down. It may well be a long time before we can function without money, or without government, but when we do I think we'll function better. The point is that skills would be as attractive a force if not more attractive, than material wealth, because once you have money, all you can do is spend it, and that makes it smaller. Once you have a skill, you can use it, or you can teach it and both these acts would make your world richer. It is more important to gain, give and share non-material wealth because it increases it overall - no one is hurt.