Could our society survive without the state? | BBC Ideas

Could our society survive without the state? | BBC Ideas

Could we survive without rulers? Without
the state? We have survived for centuries despite them and they’re destructive wars and stifling oppression. Crippling taxes suck half our wealth away
sprinklings just a fraction back. It has been done before. Archaeology shows some of our ancestors living in peace for a few thousand years before armed
rulers appear on the scene. Not in caves, but in cities with tens of thousands enjoying civilisation we would recognise. What would life be like without the
state? Less complicated, divisive and confusing for a start. Poverty would be slashed with half our wealth back in circulation and none wasted on wars and
political schemes. Enterprise and innovation flourish without the regulation that favours large corporations. We do things voluntarily,
never because we are threatened with damage for non-compliance. It is a
climate in which our cooperative and charitable nature can flourish. When join
up in a free system we find effective ways to meet our community’s needs. We
develop systems in which cream rises to the top, instead of scum.
Online vendors value their reputations. The states only vital function is
protecting us from other versions of itself. Everything else we could do
ourselves. We could even develop a less rigid justice system with no victimless offenses, that benefits from a reduction in crime and fear. We could deter, punish and protect with levels of digital exile tailored to the offense. Jails are just so last century. Civilisation developed through the connection and cooperationof people. We are more connected now than at any time in human history. We have the tools to develop structures that self-govern from the bottom up, evolving as times change. Could we survive a crash of the global banking system and the nation states they underwrite? We could survive and eventually thrive!


  • David Rogers says:

    It's all unicorns and rainbows until you actually think about it. Libertarian wet dreams are just that: dreams. This video provided absolutely no reasoning behind it and is a very naive outlook.

  • Hitler's second coming says:

    Lol, BBC is run by Anarchists
    Seriously though, what a bad advert for anarchism.

  • jsbart96 says:

    Removing the state without removing capitalism would be a nightmarish warlord dystopia

  • PyroANTIC says:

    This entire video shows the authors naivety about what a state-less society would look like mistaking it for a utopia, as well as citing some incorrect examples. I really felt strongly about it so I wanted to type my ideas.

    In the beginning of the video, he talks about how we have "survived for centuries" without the state in what I assume would be the "classical period" going by the video at that point and when he says "not in caves, but in cities with tens of thousands."

    Now, assuming he is talking about the classical periods of history (i.e: Greece, Egypt, Babylon ect,) he is claiming this is a stateless society, which is incorrect. These were nations and empires in their own right, with rulers, often oppressive, who collected taxes and managed how these nations were run. That is a state. The fact he appears to be claiming it is not shows his ignorance on not only history, but the subject.

    He also goes on to ask "what would life be like without the state? Less complicated, divisive and confusing". Less complicated and confusing? Yes, perhaps. No state means no laws means no red tape. Less divisive? Well, no. Because no laws also means no organised enforcement of law subject to a state and therefore, free reign for chaos and anarchy. People able to do whatever they want without consequence. Again, this shows the authors naivety about a stateless society. Sure, people can band togeather to form protective groups, but without a central state to control such things, run by the people, these groups would vary comply, and human nature would not stop one oppressive one combatting it's neighbours for wealth and power, therefore forming a state.

    He also says "poverty would be slashed, with half our wealth back in circulation." I would like to know how he comes to this conclusion. Why only half? And in circulation? Circulation of what? Stateless communities? How does this stop the wealthy from utilising this wealth to their advantage and forming a pure capitalist state yet again?

    In addition, he says "an none wasted on wars and political schemes." Going back to what I said above, any stateless society means groups of people with varying degrees of objectives. So any violent and oppressive group could easily use this wealth to fund their own wars and schemes. Removing the state would not stop that.

    "Enterprise and innovation flourish without the regulation that favours large corporations." OK, while he does bring up a good point about how a corrupt state favours large corporations, removing the state would mean that the safety net, in nations like the UK, would mean any group with a pure capitalist agenda would be unregulated and able to abuse people for their own ends. Yes, while I am aware the UK isn't perfect and we still see large corporations abusing the system, it would be worse without the state to control unrestricted capitalism. Without the state, the laws of things like, maximum working week, minimum wage, health and safety laws, ect do not exist, and no one can therefore enforce these things.

    "We do things voluntary, never because we are threatened with damage for non-compliance." I really thing this line shows the authors naivety at it's best. Again, he is assuming that without a state to enforce laws, everybody is in peace. He does not realise that, as I said above, humans would band togeather into groups. The most powerful and oppressive of these may very well bully others around them. We see this in lawless areas today, such as parts of Syria and Yemen. (Yes, I am aware their recognised governments aren't exactly utopias, but the fact the areas they don't control can be just as bad or worse, leads weight to my point)

    "We find effective ways to meet our communities needs." People already do this, and any state that is benevolent can help this idea, using it's collective recourses.

    "We develop systems in which cream rises to the top instead of scum." And this single line comply dismantles his entire argument. What he just described, is a state. A regulated body of people who work togeather. Again, he appears to be assuming that "state = bad" but "communities coming togeather are not states, there for, are not bad".

    "The states only vital function, is protecting it from other versions of itself" Yes, that is largely true, but that does not mean that any state cannot be run by the people, i.e, as his "non-state" community idea he talks about (which is really a state) and therefore, enforce laws which actually help people.

    I'm not entirely sure what he means by a "digital exile" however, the aspects of the justice system are complicated and he is right to point out they need to be changed in some ways, but that is really another issue.

    "Jails are just so last century." This is really such a throw-away line. Sure, it might be for comedy but it's kind of silly.

    Anyway, after this rather long semi-essay by myself, I think it is important to point out the flaws in his argument, because of the rising naivety I see in people who think that any state is always authoritian and that anarchy and stateless societies are utopias, and I say this as a socialist.

  • INS Whisky says:

    Rules and Regulations prevent us from acting on our fetishes and Instincts. Women are literally screwed in a stateless society.

  • not notness says:

    Hmm, is he saying city states, are not states?

  • Julianne Marie Bejar says:

    it's utopia in another parallel word but here it would be dystopia. It's not well thought that's what i would say. Just an opinion.

  • Sankha C says:

    Few questions.. Do they study anything? Is this real BBC? Which drug was used when somebody smoked up the idea for the video? That drug should be banned

  • M. Zahit Kırdemir says:

    Anarchist BBC. I love it.

  • Mango T says:

    Be prepared for the coming of one world dystopia resulting in a financial crisis due to the high tensions of China and the US along with mini wars with North Korea by as early as 2020, we will be controlled by one world govern-ment with high technological advances already being rolled out and ensure compliance is met everyone must be chipped, have a wonderful day!

  • Tururu says:

    Is this serious? Because I am afraid to think that BBC would post such a thing. This is some next levek garbage.

  • Aman Messinezis says:

    Ooh yeahhh yuh

  • David Gordon says:

    “… and no religion too…”

  • TheYingWithMelanin says:

    New World Order.

  • Dux Ducis Hodiernus says:

    Really expected better from bbc than this. No practical explanation was given on how to achieve these goals, and just saying 'everything would be better' when they're as least as likely to get worse, just seems arrogant and immature.

  • A Dude says:

    Im all for a goverment if its fair, but life ain't perfect and theres always gonna be stuff that stinks..

  • Aisulu Yensegen says:


  • Alex Doe says:

    Anarcho capitalism is just not valid

  • acd cat says:

    Keep smoking Bra…

  • Natty Bennett says:

    Can you do one on national socialism?

    No I didn’t think so

  • RAVI TEJA says:

    Without rulers each and everybody would unleash the demon within. Anarchy. Suddenly one guy would claim he is Messiah or messenger. And starts war and his followers go on pillaging the neighbours for bounty and booty.

  • Natty Bennett says:

    Ohhh, so we should leave the eu then?

  • John Derry says:

    No jails? Digital exile wouldn't contain a violent sex offender.

  • Niks995 says:

    Before seeing this video I was a liberist, now I'm f*ing socialist

  • EPIC Fortnite Hippo says:

    ok buddy

  • Libertarian Leninist Rants says:

    First of all, I am a communist, therefore I am for the abolition of the state.
    Secondly, the reason why you want the state to be gone is entirely anti-democratic, anti-freedom and pro-capital. With other words: You are not removing any oppression by simply abolish the state and keep the economic system as it is. There are unjustifiable hierarchies in a capitalist economy, relations of power between classes of people, stemming from the private property of the means of production. You don't increase the freedom by simply removing the state, you still remain unfree in economic terms.

  • Grunkle Tiro says:

    "Who ya gonna call?
    The brothers Gracchi?"

  • Davide Mantovani says:

    The problem is not the state itself, which is absolutely necessary, but the fact that it’s actually run by a small number of elite corporation executives and their big shareholders. Since when a war was decided democratically, it was always the decision of the elite. So if we were to remove the state we would remove the only small power we have over the economic giants, they would have all the power at that point.
    Big corps could even build their own armies, who would be there to stop it.
    The real answer to these problems in my opinion is the proposal of Prof.Richard Wolff of bringing democracy in the workplace so that the big corporations would be run in a democratic way instead of having a tiny number of people taking all the decisions affecting the life of the workers. That would really make a big difference for peace and the environment. Check out one of his conferences if you are interested.

  • Ruslan Kim says:

    Is this serious. Never going to work

  • Molly O says:

    Health, education, housing, roads, infrastructure. What about that stuff? No regulations to stop companies poisoning people and and the environment ? Digital control? Like global rule by amazon and Facebook? BBC you can do better!

  • ProfessorBorax says:

    If noone or nothing is in power, inevitably someone will rally up an army and take over. Also I like having access to state funded education, taxes are necessary.

  • serjthereturn says:

    Depends really doesn't it? Right-wing 'libertarians' talk of freedom but really mean the freedom of business to do what it wants, not realising capitalism needs the state to survive. Libertarian socialism, however, has already been proven to work in numerous experiments before being crushed.

  • Daniel Kariuki says:

    The BBC is now supporting anarchy!!!!!!!!! Such propaganda is very dangerous ….people will always need leadership ……as long as there are poor people ,division will come ……a stateless world is a tyrants dream and I am surprised that the BBC would support death of nations aren't you funded by the government ……..I hope you aren't planning to participate in treason….

  • Anas Diab says:

    BBC?!!! This is plain stupid

  • Franci Tome says:

    nice meme

  • Frederick Röders says:

    Anarchist society COULD work, but I dont see it working at all under capitalism. That would degenerate into a very violent form of feudalism.

  • Courtney Haynes says:

    I disliked this video, but I'm not even mad. I mean, it would be nice if all of that were true and abolishing the state would make this world into a Shangri La but…. none of the shit he said really has any evidence to back it. He's just pulling shit out of his ass for the entire video. Smarter people than me have pointed out his inaccuracies, but the vid's the most obvious bullshit sandwich I've been offered in a while. I'll pass.

  • Bhuwan Neupane says:

    They want to divide not unite so that they can rule .

  • Tony Tiger says:

    This creates questions. There is no real rationale given as to how this could work. It is also weak on historical fact.
    It would have been more useful to refer to the brief and quite successful period of self government in Barcelona, rather than using visual cues to past theocracies, Classical
    period dictatorships and empires.

  • Leo Tuzzo says:

    No government really? And what do we do? We revert to a feudal society? Not that we are not living one already with mega corporations behaving like such. Or do we go hunter gatherer again?

  • Nunya Business says:

    Holy shit what did I just watch

  • Samukele Phiri says:

    I think we had to develop these systems as our population got bigger. Earlier populations were smaller and less likely to bump into each other and fight for hunting ground. As our population grew, we had find a way to cooperate and live together.

  • Jason Devon says:

    Without the state the corporations would have unstoppable control and the nightmare for people everywhere would begin. PROTECT YOUR COUNTRY!

  • Felippe says:

    What the hell, is this a joke?

  • Pun lovin criminal says:

    You should rename the channel "BBC bad ideas".

  • Leon Kharkongor says:

    BBC promoting Libertarianism? Looks like Britain is really going down the drain

  • SuperSagittaria says:

    BBC you have broken your core mission statement in this clip – completely unevidenced and seemingly made from a perspective of ignorance or immaturity

  • YoshiPeach Mario says:

    Digital exile for a murderer, rapist or paedophile? What planet are you living on?

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