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The first and most important conference on P2P
O'Reilly Peer-to-Peer Conference
Westin St. Francis Hotel -- San Francisco, California
February 14-16, 2001


Governance in Coercian-Free Societies

Marc Stiegler, consultant/author

Track: Business Track
Date: Friday, February 16
Time: 1:15pm - 1:45pm
Location: Grand Ballroom

Imagine a world in which walls could not be broken, locks could not be picked, and everyone had the ability to "blink out" if faced with physical force. Such a world would be completely free of coercion: people would work together only on a voluntary basis. Would such a situation lead to hopeless anarchy, or could societies exist and evolve? The answer is, society would certainly endure. Key elements of that society would involve mutually trusted third parties, unforgeable identities, and reputation based systems.

The Web can easily become such a world. We look at the seven features that must be tightly integrated to achieve this transformation:

  • Unforgeable pseudonymous identities
  • Bidirectional, typed, filterable links
  • Arbitration agents and Smart Contracts
  • Bonding agents
  • Escrow agents
  • Digital Cash
  • Capability Based Security with Strong Encryption

We look at a variety of in-the-news problems to see if and how these problems can be solved in a coercion-free society. We learn that most of these problems are in fact soluble. We learn that such a society promotes both personal freedom and personal responsibility. We learn that this leads to a government of laws, not of men.

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