A note on terminology: law vs. justice

This probably should have occurred to me to do a long time ago, but for some reason it didn’t, and this may have caused some confusion … but some of you may have noticed that on the one hand I describe Open Empire as “non-hierarchical (aka anarchic)” but on the other hand I also describe it as being about new systems of “law economics and politics”. So … wherever you see the word “law” please do an edit in your head and replace this with the term “justice”.

Open Empire is indeed anarchic, there’s no “authority” and no power structures, merely decentralised systems that operate to provide a framework for motivating human activity. The term law was used I guess out of habit, as I always knew that what I was really referring to was not law, but merely the intended purpose of law, which is supposed to be justice.

So far as rules are concerned, Open Empire has internal rules as it is a system, but it claims no authority to impose those rules on anyone else, nor does it need to. All that happens is that – like any other software based system – it follows its rules to determine what action to take with the data provided, and it then presents that data for human usage.

Humans are then motivated not by rules per se, but by agreeing that they’re responsible for the consequences of their actions, and knowing that the way the system works is to provide access to scarce resources via how well we manage the consequences of our actions … so you’re totally free to screw up if you want, but you realise that continuing to do so, may very well motivate someone else to put a stop to you – while simultaneously they’re also responsible for their actions, so they’re motivated to do so while causing the least harm … thus diplomacy is the better option, but in extreme cases force can be justified, but only where the consequences of failing to stop someone from causing harm is greater than the consequences of using force to do so, and where diplomacy and other measures have already failed.

In such hypothetical scenarios (above), justice is the outcome, achieved without anyone needing hierarchical authority, they merely refer to the data presented by a system that analyses consequences and tells them whether a particular course of action is in their own interests or not, and under what circumstances.

I always loved that quote:

“There can be no justice while law is absolute”

Open Empire achieves justice by creating an anarchic and law-free framework for motivating human activity and behaviour, which allows freedom in the context of personal responsibility for consequences.

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