The Libertarians' Saga: tracing the cultural roots of ideology in EVE Online

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The Libertarians' Saga: tracing the cultural roots of ideology in EVE Online

  1. 1. The Libertarians Saga:Tracing the cultural roots of ideology in EVE Online John Carter McKnight Arizona State University @john_carter
  2. 2. facebook – eve online (albums) (csm7 propaganda)
  3. 3. a puzzle
  4. 4. second life• launched 2003• carefully managed real-money economy• about 50,000 concurrent users• community-driven “sandbox”• global user base• terrible UI and social tools• programmer-driven corporate culture• growing rift between designers and users
  5. 5. eve online• launched 2003• carefully managed real-money economy• about 30,000 concurrent users• community-driven “sandbox”• global user base• terrible UI and social tools• programmer-driven corporate culture• growing rift between designers and users
  6. 6. in california• Ayn Rand + hippie culture + engineering culture + 1980s-1990s cyberpunk• generally idealistic
  7. 7. “the californian ideology”• Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture• Barbrook & Cameron essay http://www.imaginaryfutures.net/2007/04/1 7/the- californian-ideology-2/
  8. 8. recipe• “a mix of cybernetics, free market economics, and counter-culture libertarianism” - barbrook & cameron http://www.arpnet.it/chaos/barbrook.htm
  9. 9. in iceland the californian ideology + the sagas + globalization more nihilistic
  10. 10. • government a matter of feudal contract between lord and producers• lords not territorially based but a shifting assemblage of personal contracts• *not* responsible for punishment or enforcement – those are private matters• blood feud and shifting alliances based on zero-sum resource competition
  11. 11. feud is• moral: punishes breach of social norms• executive power of a polity w/o central authority• political: arena where competition is played out• common model of politics in egalitarian societies
  12. 12. “In Iceland, the violence of the law was notsomething removed from the general populace. There were no state apparatus to pretend tomonopolize the legitimate use of force….It was up to free adult males to do the work oflaw”Miller, 232
  13. 13. david friedman– silicon valley scholar of icelandic law http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Academic/Iceland/Iceland.html
  14. 14. mid-2000’s – iceland’s 60’s and 90’s
  15. 15. “the sagas matter not just because all Icelandicchildren grow up with them.They form part of the vocabulary, part of thethought pattern, of young men as soon as theystart thinking about power”Boyes, Meltdown Iceland, 60
  16. 16. “the new vikings” techno-financial emergent elitedefined against the traditional egalitarianism oftheir parents’ generationuse tradition to return to open powercompetition“roadkill in global competition” – lost the gameas it became zero-sum
  17. 17. demographics• sl as the last expression of the techno-hippie demographic (california 1998)• eve as the first expression of young bitter anarcho-capitalists (iceland 2008)
  18. 18. • sl – how 50-somethings wish the world was “your world, your imagination”• eve – how 20-somethings believe the world is “space makes you bitter” “yummy tears”
  19. 19. “A year in EVE will teach you more about human nature than a decade in any other MMO, but what you learn may scar you.” http://tentonhammer.com/eve/spymaster/65
  20. 20. john.mcknight@asu.edujohncartermcknight.com@john_carter

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