“The worst enemy of life, freedom and the common decencies is total anarchy; their second worst enemy is total efficiency.”
Aldous Huxley, Novelist
Pros and Cons of Anarchy
Anarchy is a state in which the general public governs a country or a region without the need for a government. In the concept of anarchy, all sets hierarchies are rejected and people are basically free what they want to do.
Even though anarchy has some advantages, it also implies many serious problems for society. In this article, the pros and cons of anarchy are examined.
Advantages of Anarchy
- People can govern themselves
- Higher level of freedom
- Lower or no taxes
- Outdated cultural values become obsolete
- Avoidance of machine-like behavior
- General public has more power
- People may become independent at a rather young age
- May strengthen social cohesion
- Anarchy may close the gap between the rich and the poor
- People may develop their own solutions for problems
- Less taxpayers’ money is wasted
- New social norms
- Higher level of tolerance towards minorities
People can govern themselves
One important advantage of anarchy is that people are able to govern themselves. This means that there will be no need to have governments in place that make important decisions but that people can instead make those important decisions.
In turn, chances are that through this more direct form governance, the preferences of the general public may be represented in a more profound way and the overall quality of life of people may improve due to that.
Higher level of freedom
In general, anarchy can lead to a much higher level of freedom for the general public. Since there are no rules and regulations that are set by the government and with which people have to comply with, there is more room for people to try out new things and to behave in the way they really want to behave.
Since we as humans love our freedom, anarchy can be a great way to get this freedom back instead of having to conform with a rulebook of unnecessary regulations that is present in many countries across the world right now.
Lower or no taxes
In an anarchic state, there will also be significantly lower or even no taxes at all. Since there is no government, there will be nobody who takes away a significant fraction of the money you earn.
Therefore, with this additional money that would be lost to tax payments in other political constructs, you could now buy many other things you like. Let’s be honest. I know not a single person who likes to pay taxes and everyone tries to avoid paying taxes as best as possible.
Thus, anarchy may also be a great way to avoid paying taxes and to have more money to spend on other things instead.
Outdated cultural values become obsolete
Another advantage of anarchy is that may cultural values that we currently conform with are just outdated historical social constructs. In order to renew our value systems and to abandon unnecessary rules and regulations of the past, anarchy may be a great way to set new and more senseful rules for a society in order to improve the overall quality of life of the general public.
Avoidance of machine-like behavior
In general, in our current state of the world, people have completely lost the ability to actually behave like thoughtful human beings. People are told to do certain things and many people just comply with our social norms without even questioning things anymore.
Organizational skills are often completely lost since people rather act like machines than like humans. We learn people from an early age on that they have to comply with a certain set of rules which should never be questioned by anyone of us.
This kind of machine-like behavior can be considered to be quite harmful since it basically has nothing to do with being a human and it also takes away most of our mental capacities.
General public has more power
In general, with an anarchic system, the general public will have much more power and will be much better able to influence decisions that may affect them in certain different ways.
There will be no lobbying activities in governments that could lead to unpleasant political outcomes that just benefit a minority of powerful people rather than the general public.
Instead, people can make politics for themselves in order to benefit as many people as possible.
People may become independent at a rather young age
Another upside of anarchy is that people will likely mature much faster and will become much more independent at a rather young age. Since there will be no political system in place, our youth could try out many more things.
Moreover, there would be no need to go to school and the time that is currently lost since children have to go to school could be used for many other things that might be much more useful in the long run.
Our current school system also teaches children a quite narrow way of thinking, which often prevents them to grow in character at a young age and keeps them childish for quite long.
With an anarchical system, chances are that those children would grow up faster and get more responsibility at a young age since many years of unnecessary schooling could be avoided and people could learn a certain craft or profession much sooner.
May strengthen social cohesion
Without a government, there will also be no welfare and social security programs in place. This also implies that people will have to help each other in case they get into trouble. In turn, social cohesion would tend to increase.
Moreover, people may tend to work closer together and support each other. This is another thing that is greatly missing in our current society right now which anarchy might be able to achieve.
Anarchy may close the gap between the rich and the poor
In many countries all over the world, we also have a significant gap between the rich and the poor. While a small elite owns almost all of the assets of a country, the general public will often have no wealth at all and often also even struggles to buy basic things for their daily life.
This leads to significant poverty and global hunger. In an anarchic state, chances are that this huge level of inequality would be prevented since there would be no regulations in place that prevent significant redistribution.
The small fraction of rich people would just be forced to give up most of their wealth in order to improve the living conditions of the huge majority of the general public.
People may develop their own solutions for problems
Since there will be no official government rules and regulations in place, people will also be much more creative regarding how to solve problems.
There might be many unconventional ways to approach certain problems and many of us have lost the ability to think out of the box in order to find solutions for certain issues in our daily life.
Hence, anarchy may also encourage people to neglect social norms and to find solutions on their own, which may enhance our overall technological progress since people may become more creative and develop new solutions and technologies for their problems.
Less taxpayers’ money is wasted
Another benefit of anarchy is that also much less taxpayers’ money will be wasted for unnecessary government projects. Since politicians do not spend their own money but rather use the money of taxpayers to fund certain projects, government spending is often quite inefficient and too much money is spent for projects that are actually not beneficial for the majority of the population.
Therefore, in an anarchic state, we could prevent the waste of taxpayers’ money since on the one hand, there would be no taxes in most scenarios and on the other hand, people would be much more careful regarding how to spend this money in a proper manner.
New social norms
Anarchy would also allow us to introduce a new set of social norms that might benefit the general public rather than only a small minority of people like the norms that are currently in place.
In our nowadays society, people are taught to work in a boring job in order to assure their livelihood. Yet, workers never get rich, only companies make huge profits.
In order to wake up people and to show the general public how unfavorable the current system really is for them, we need a set of new social norms that make this fact much more apparent so people avoid the trap of working as an employee in order to get a higher share of the value they created for themselves.
Higher level of tolerance towards minorities
In general, anarchy would also likely lead to a much higher level of tolerance towards minorities. Although we claim that we are so tolerant and that everyone is welcome in our society, there are still many countries in which minorities are treated quite poorly.
This is often due to flawed cultural values and through anarchy, minorities might get a better standing in our society.
Disadvantages of Anarchy
- Can end in chaos
- Protection of property may be lost
- Lack of police
- Feeling of insecurity
- Survival of the fittest
- Lack of important public infrastructure
- Education levels may suffer
- Depreciation of the local currency
- Insufficient investments in countries with anarchic regimes
- Anarchy may not be sustainable in the long run
- Some people may take the concept of anarchy too far
- New gurus will take the leadership sooner or later
- People may leave the country
- Lack of social security
- Long-term economic problems
- Social conflicts
- Our environmental problems would not be solved
- Not everything about governments is bad
Can end in chaos
Although anarchy can have many advantages, there are also serious issues related to it. One problem of anarchy is that it can lead to significant chaos in a country.
Since everyone will be allowed to do what he or she wants to do, there might be conflicting attitudes towards life and there will be no political instance like independent courts that could solve those conflicts.
Instead, people have to solve their conflicts by themselves and those conflicts can turn from peaceful conversations into physical attacks.
In the long run, people may fight each and the whole anarchical system may turn into a chaotic state where people may turn into animals.
Protection of property may be lost
In anarchy, chances are that the concept of owning things will be lost. For instance, if you currently own a home, chances are that your property rights will be neglected in an anarchic state and people will just take over your house since there will be no institution that will stop them.
Therefore, anarchy may prevent people to own things and in turn, people may have no incentive to invest money at all since they know that all valuable things can be taken away from them.
Thus, in the long run, houses and other assets may be neglected and the overall level of wealth may decline in a country.
Lack of police
Another downside of anarchy is that there will be no police in place which could protect you against attacks. Even though many people do not like the police at all, people still have to admit that the overall level of safety will be much higher with the presence of the police than without.
However, in case of emergency, you would no longer be able to rely on the police to help you in a state of anarchy.
Feeling of insecurity
In general, in an anarchic state, also the feeling of insecurity would significantly increase. Chances are that many people would act in an opportunistic manner and just do what’s best for them, even if this might hurt other people.
For instance, robberies may become more common since thieves would not have to fear any consequences without police around who could arrest them.
Thus, in such a state, many people would be afraid to leave their homes and the overall quality of life might drop significantly for them.
Survival of the fittest
Anarchy may also lead to the concept that is generally known as the survival of the fittest. In simple terms, this means that people who are the strongest may dominate our society while the weakest among us will just die sooner or later.
Anarchy may lead to such a state since people may just do what’s best for them and neglect everything else. In turn, the weakest in our society would have no chance to sustain themselves and may die from hunger sooner or later.
Lack of important public infrastructure
Without taxes, there will also be no money for important infrastructure projects. For instance, plenty of taxpayers’ money is spent each year to build hospitals, schools, universities and other important projects that benefit the general public.
Without those infrastructure projects, chances are that the overall public infrastructure will become quite bad, which will significantly decrease the overall quality of life of the general public.
Education levels may suffer
There are also plenty of public education opportunities that can only be maintained if sufficient taxpayers’ money can be spent by the government.
Since there are no or only insufficient tax regimes in anarchic states in place, chances are that also the overall education levels would drop significantly, which may turn into quite unpleasant outcomes in several parts of our daily life.
Depreciation of the local currency
If a country turns from a democratic into an anarchic state, chances are that also the local currency will depreciate significantly since investors all over the world will lose their trust in this currency.
In turn, people in this country will no longer be able to import foreign goods since they will be far too expensive. Consequently, people in this country will be in serious trouble, especially if they rely on food imports in order to survive since also those foods will be quite expensive and may people would no longer be able to ensure sufficient calory intake and might die sooner or later.
Insufficient investments in countries with anarchic regimes
Countries with an anarchic regime are also quite problematic for investors. Imagine you consider investing in a country with an anarchic regime. Chances are that you will refuse from investing in those countries since you will have to fear to get expropriated.
Thus, the overall investment volume in an anarchic country would also drop significantly. In turn, also the unemployment rate may increase significantly.
Anarchy may not be sustainable in the long run
Since there are so many problems related to anarchy, it might also not be sustainable in the long run. Especially if the overall conditions become quite chaotic over time, people may wish to go back to a state where there is a working political system in place.
Hence, the concept of anarchy may fall sooner or later due to the several serious problems related to it.
Some people may take the concept of anarchy too far
There might also be people who want to use anarchy in order to spread radical ideas. In turn, this may lead to a state where minorities are rather suppressed than supported and radical movements may be started, which may turn into serious problems for society.
New gurus will take the leadership sooner or later
People have strived for power throughout the history of mankind. It is therefore quite certain that even though anarchy is meant to give back power to the general public, new gurus will try to take the leadership sooner or later and the interests of those gurus may not be aligned with the wishes and preferences of the general public.
People may leave the country
Anarchy may also lead to a state where people might want to leave their country. Many people may no longer want to deal with this state of chaos that anarchy can lead to and may want to search for a better future in foreign countries. In turn, the overall development of a country might suffer if highly qualified workers leave.
Lack of social security
Another big downside of anarchy is that it also implies a lack of social security. In many countries all over the world, there are social security schemes in place which offer people financial support in case they get unemployed.
However, in anarchic systems, there will not be such support and chances are that more people will become homeless or starve since they will not get money from the government in case of emergency.
Long-term economic problems
Anarchy may also contribute to many economic problems in the long run. Without the collection of taxes, important infrastructure projects cannot be carried out and people may suffer from serious shortages of important goods and services. In turn, the overall quality of life will drop significantly.
Since there will be fewer rules regarding how people have to behave, the risk for serious social conflicts also tends to increase. People may feel quite frustrated over time since they will not be able to defend against certain injustices since there is no government and no jurisdiction in place who could help them claim their rights.
Our environmental problems would not be solved
In order to solve our environmental problems, we have to invest large sums of money into technological progress related to green energies. However, without tax money, governments around the world would not be able to do so and we would not be able to transit towards renewable energy fast enough.
Moreover, in an anarchic state, chances are that too many people would just not care about our environmental problems and would continue to pollute our environment. Therefore, also from an environmental perspective, anarchy would be quite harmful.
Not everything about governments is bad
In general, while many people are quite frustrated regarding the decisions politicians make, there are also many good things that come along with a working political system.
Governments are not generally evil, there just has to be a framework that incentivizes politicians to act in a way that benefits the general public rather than a small corporate elite.
Top 10 Anarchy Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Anarchy Pros||Anarchy Cons|
|Level of freedom may increase||Anarchy may lead to chaos|
|No taxes||Fake gurus|
|People can follow their passions||Lack of police|
|Young people may learn responsibility||Property rights may be lost|
|Abandonment of flawed cultural values||Insufficient investments in infrastructure|
|New social norms||Higher unemployment|
|General public will have more power||Lower investments|
|People may find new solutions to problems||People may leave the country|
|People can govern themselves||No social security|
|More room for individuality||Social conflicts|
Even though anarchy can have many advantages, there are also serious problems related to it. In my opinion, the cons outweigh the pros of anarchy. Instead of striving for an anarchical state, we should try to improve our current democratic regimes in a way that politicians better serve the general public instead of small interest groups so that the overall quality of life of many people can be improved.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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