This post was (somewhat) prompted by a discussion with Meta Nomad, articles by @cyborg_nomade, Edmund Berger, some old posts of Nick Land and a few tweets I've seen here and there.

Paleo-agorism

As much as a future rooted in paleo-agorism seems exciting, I can not see it happening, not without significant change in the global dynamics.

The cultural battle lines of our time, with red America pitted against blue, will be scrambled as Buddhist vegan militia members and evangelical anarchist squatters trade tips on how to build self-sufficient vertical farms from scrap-heap materials.

The obsoleted "sacrifice zones" where this kind of society would be plausible seem to me increasingly impossible to believe in.

A sacrifice zone relies on it being abandoned, unwatched, devoid from any actual enforcement of anything. As technology companies start creeping into the meatspace, the costs of manufacturing are falling and businesses start seeping into the government it's very likely that every single plot of land will be accounted for. With the companies like Planet indexing the whole world every day it will be very hard to overcome this kind of automated surveillance. With the kind of analytics like Orbital Insight provide it's impossible to steal a piece of scrap metal from a junkyard and go unnoticed. And it will only become easier to locate the "offenders" in the future.

2-1

And yes, resistance may be possible. At least some attempts can be made. But if we take a look at monopolization and total control of the digital space there is nothing that signals a good future.

With corporations treating the population as an optimization puzzle there is no place for rogue DIY communities. And if (when) the same corporations become suppliers of basic human necessities you can be sure as hell our whole lives will be vendor-locked to the extreme.

It seems to me that the only way for paleo-agorism to really exist is if the current government system stays. Inefficient, slow, corrupted. Otherwise I can not envision a future where mega-corps do not eradicate all rogue elements. Every wasteland surveilled. Every bit of water kept track of. Every data packet sniffed and every signal jammed.

Patchwork

Taking this pessimistic take a bit further, let's talk about patchwork.

While the notion of an exit-oriented environment where people freely move between patches is enticing, it is very unlikely to happen. The premise is flawed.

A company is not interested in this free flow of customers/citizens. It's all about profit, of course. Why should a patch let you leave? They can make the exit seem very possible in theory, but absolute hell in practice. Why should they not do everything in their power to squeeze everything from you until you're useless to them? They shouldn't.

This of course sounds like the usual dystopian whining, but the proof is there. The extrapolations are terrifying.

4

What about the current landscape and dynamics of capitalism makes this strange notion of benevolent corporations possible? Yes, if a patch is being, for a lack of better term, "evil" it might be hard to attract new citizens. Citizens might flee to other patches. But have you ever tried to unsubscribe from an Amazon service? It's just a tiny preview of the things to come and already those 5-7 webpages carry so much manipulation and deception that it's painful to imagine how such a process would be implemented in the meatspace.

Corporations are better at managing their images and setting up optics than we are at deciphering them. We can not overcome their dopamine exploitation tactics, at least not all of us. "Give them a finger and they'll take the whole hand" rings very true in this case. They will take the hand, the arm, the body and the brain. It is only in their best interest to do so.

How can such a system be successful and even worse, how can it be desired is beyond me. Maybe I have too much distrust for capitalism. Maybe I am too cynical. But I see absolutely nothing that might convince me otherwise. At least so far.

3