How anarchy can order the world

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Capitalism is a system designed to protect property rights. It relies on individual interests in land and goods. These rights are backed up by the legal system with its machinery of law and order. Anarchy is often defined in modern vernacular as the opposite of law and order. However, it has also been said that: ‘Anarchy is one of the most abused and misunderstood words in common usage’ (Masters, 1974). This chapter will discuss anarchy as an alternative political system and assert that a Stateless society is not necessarily a lawless one. Indeed, my research has shown that local communities can successfully regulate themselves. In this chapter, I will discuss three examples of grassroots anarchist movements that are setting the scene for the future. These include the Occupy movement, Green Governance and urban scavenging. These very different but connected activities draw on the concept of the ‘commons’ and assert that global harmony relies on the successful sharing of common resources, a process that often begins at a local level. In contrast to the well-known ‘tragedy of the commons’ thesis espoused by Garrett Hardin, writers such as Elinor Ostrom argue for a different form of regulation that flows from the ‘bottom up’. This regulation embraces local knowledges in finding ways to share global resources for the benefit of all.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Governance and Regulation
Subtitle of host publicationOrder and Disorder in the 21st Century
EditorsLeon Wolff, Danielle Ireland-Piper
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781351734011, 9781315185408
ISBN (Print)9781472489012
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameLaw, Ethics and Governance Series

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 selection and editorial matter, Danielle Ireland-Piper and Leon Wolff; individual chapters, the contributors.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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