Brian Holmes on 22 Nov 2000 01:09:37 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Yahoo and the regulators

The French Yahoo ruling effectively raises the question of inter- or
transnational regulation for the libertarian world of the internet.

I am sure many netizens will be scandalized. But in societies where you
have to live with other people, actually and not just virtually, it's far
more interesting to decide which laws you want to press for and which laws
you want to break.

Generally in Europe it's preferable to have laws against everything
fascist, because there are fascists behind every bush and the only viable
solution is to force them to stay there, otherwise they come out into the
public space and start ordering you around.

Along the same lines, but in a bigger forest, it's going to be essential to
create some transnational laws against fiscal paradises, money laundering,
and certain forms of financial speculation sneaking through the electronic
bushes. Without a few more rules, the worst expressions of capitalism will
continue to have the power to shape the common environment.

The argument that you can replace law with the market is as absurd as the
fantasy that both will someday disappear (along with old Nazis and every
other social problem). Personally, I accept the complexity of having to
break certain laws in order to press for others. I am always a little
disappointed when my anarchist friends from the anti-capitalist
demonstrations go on dreaming of a stateless world. I dream of a world
where the state knows that it always has to reckon with vigilant
communities and individuals.

Brian Holmes

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