08 August 2005

An anarchic anomaly

I recently came accross a site about Kowloon Walled City which was a hugely dense settlement (claimed to be the most densely populated location in the world at the time) that had a limbo like existence in Hong Kong until it was torn down in 1993. Britain and China disputed who should control and govern the land, the upshot of which was that neither did, effectively leaving the area free of state interference. The website says:

Basically the indecision and ignorance between the two countries over the occupation of KWC lead to the city's lack of government, and its inevitable self-organization [my italics] and problems with crime and drugs.
Without knowing any of the political background of the authors of this site I thought it interesting that they thought the self-organisation of the Walled City was inevitable without government. Perhaps they meant it in a derogatory way, in so far as the people of the city were forced to self-organize, but even if that was their intention it does show that humans have a remarkable capacity for self-organization as a community without government having to tell them how.

Obviously as an Anarcho-Capitalist I am not particularly concerned about the 'drug problem', I'm sure the biggest issue in the Walled City was drug-lords created by the very government policies that are supposed to eliminate them. As to the crime rate without state police to help out (and excluding 'drug problems') the website goes on to say:

Chan Pui Yin arrived in Hong Kong from Chiu Chow [China] county in 1947, opening his own herbal medicine store in KWC eight years later.

"Once I'd settled here I found that there was less crime in it than outside. Although the police were not around there was a volunteer group to help keep the peace. It is a bit like back home in the villages of China - a harmonious state of anarchy. I don't really want to move."
The inhabitants were mainly poor migrants, especially dispossesed Chinese, and so had limited resources yet they managed to collectively create this impressive structure. Kowloon Walled city obviously had its fair share of problems, poor rubbish disposal systems being a major one and the lack of natural light in some areas, although this is a general feature of a lot of Hong Kong's high density living. However, the point remains, essentially a city of up to 50,000 people peacefully existed in a state of anarchy for over 100 years until the do-gooder government decided to tear it down and throw these people out of their homes.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

good post... thanks.

my site: gifted child

Anonymous said...

Yeah, good stuff.

btw, that looks like we now have blog posting spiders? Lovely.

cuthhyra said...

Thanks for the comments!

"btw, that looks like we now have blog posting spiders?"

It does seem that way, although if I ever need alternative dental insurance in America, where I don't live, I'll know where to look!

Anyway thanks for the real comments. You should use a handle though, then I'll know if my blog is actually worth coming back to! Also if anyone has an Ancap blog I'd be interested in trading links.