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Social punishment 1/3: law without enforcers



Social punishment 1/3: law without enforcers

I live in a country where many laws are simply not followed. 

As laws are always behind the times, this can lead to an environment that,
ignoring laws, follows the times. (For example due to no legal precedents
there is theoretically no electronic privacy and all my mail is read. This
is not, in practice the case - if my mail is indeed read, then it's probably
by the NSA).

When the legal system is lax, society falls back on age-old methods of keeping
order - a system of taboos and 'social' punishment such as ostracization. In
small tribes or villages ostracization is the most passive of punishments -
indeed by definition it implies _non_-cooperation or having _nothing_ to do
with a person. It is also the most powerful, often better for the society than
capital punishment which simply gets rid of a person who might be useful if
following the rules.

Of course societies that continue to use 'social' punishment do so to enforce
antideluvian values (don't talk to those people, don't engage in pre/extra-
marital or deviant sex, etc). This is not the fault of the system of social
punishment, rather that of the society itself. 

The system of social punishment can easily be adapted to educated, liberal
inhabitants of cyberspace, much more easilty than can present law enforcement
systems. My next post will examine the similarities between tribal and
cyberspatial society.




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Rishab Aiyer Ghosh             "Clean the air! clean the sky! wash the wind!
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