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Feature Article by Paul Rosenberg
This is the second essay of James Farber, from the first edition of A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, written in defense of the "free digital economy" he and his friends were building.
History books tell the stories of Rulers. Some are Kings; some, Emperors; some, Presidents or Prime Ministers; and some, potentates of more exotic name. A few of them were more or less benevolent, and others were tyrants. Most were in-between. But they all held one thing in common – they maintained a monopoly on the use of force in their territories. They maintained their right to use coercion, and to prevent all others from doing so.
Stripped of romantic rhetoric and patriotic emotion, the essence of rulership is the ability to maintain a monopoly of force. Argue if you like, but you will be arguing with the dictionary.
Every reform of government and rulership to date has kept the central mechanism of coercion in place. Did some governmental reforms lead t
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