Decentralization vs Anarchism

When defining Tech We Trust and the trustworthiness of tech in terms decentralization, what are the main differences between decentralization and social anarchism?

As I’m not an expert on either anarchy or decentralization, I must first apologize for what may turn out to be ill-informed rambling on this question…

If you take the basic definition of anarchy - “without a ruler” - then decentralization is very much in line with that, with no single point of control (or failure). Digging a little deeper, parallels can be drawn between decentralization and anarchy. Open source, for example, has been cited as an example of how anarchy can work in (or influence) today’s tech. However, I’d suggest that there are key differences between anarchy and decentralization in the areas of trust, conformity and individual agency. In tech today, trust between decentralized devices is managed while the notion of trust in an anarchy must be very different (if it exists at all). Mass production and compatibility requirements currently determine that decentralized devices conform to standards and they are not (yet) equipped to truly behave as individuals. Even the humans using the devices are required to conform in certain ways - I don’t think this can be defined as anarchy, but it can be decentralized.

For me, the real question is when does decentralization not make sense? For example, in the management of identity, if you want to provide your identity to someone else, does there need to be some sort of centralized mechanism that can prove who you are? Forms of ID like passports and digital keys and passwords can be lost and faked, people who can “vouch” for you can be coerced. Centralizing this type of mechanism or information brings in all sorts of opportunities for abuse, but what are the alternatives?
Identity is critical in any society when other people look after things for you. How can identity be managed effectively without some element of centralization? In anarchy, is identity even necessary?

I would conclude that in today’s society and tech, anarchy is by definition decentralized, but decentralization is not necessarily anarchy…

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It is better that even identity is not centralized. Any central system is corruptible and unsafe to trust. Nobody should be forced to trust any single authority over other authorities they do trust. When attributors you trust agree you can have high certainty to the attribution.

Identity standards allow trusting of various identity providers. Federations of providers might be trusted or not.

Considering the decentralization issue vs. anarchy raises the issue of what is the organic structure of our hive mind that might exhibit collective intelligence rather than the lowest common denominator.

Most people want the best for humanity and if they are enabled to cooperate at scale and augmented by deep learning in an organic hive mind that is far from anarchy.

Examining the specialization in hives, and the brain, nature can help guide us in mimicking proven organization for emergent intelligence from the boundary membranes of our social ledgers defining our group memories and agency…

Interoperable autonomous organizations (organs) and teams cooperating by actuated linking communications and norms of local behavior can model cooperation at scale.
Regulating competition to enable requisite variety for viability is necessary. Self regulating processes dominate in nature. Refactoring is a necessary evil disrupting the organism. This may be tempered by a new generation of processes constantly replacing the old.

There is no simple answer, The organisation of our collective being is highly complex. The aim of social ledger support is to expose it simply.

Unless it is organized there would be anarchy. This is why I feel the Diglife effort in developing social ledger support is essential.

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This may be useful in exploring what we mean by decentralization.

Anarchy is a term loaded with a variety of meanings. The popular definition equates anarchy with disorder, chaos and disorganisation. I don’t think that many anarchists actually strive for that. For me, the difference between anarchy and decentralisation is in the particular relationships formed between individuals and groups. As an anarchist, I try to understand dynamics which create unequal and coercive relationships. In the context of a decentralised system, that could be a sidelined minority group, or a group attempting to exercise inappropriate influence over others. My goal is to form mutually agreeable voluntary relationships, and to look for solutions which address all of the concerns of all interested parties.
Trust is important and is derived through affinity, experience and social networks. In this context anarchism is a method of decentralisation which values work, creativity and the inherent worth of other people.