AGAINST “AGAINST CYBERANARCHY”
natural selection work identically in the two environments; the mechanics of sound propagation, buoyancy, and chemical diffusion do not. For the purpose of answering some questions (e.g., about the mechanics of genetic recombination in mammals, energy transmission within food webs, or the relative advantages of sexual and asexual reproduction) we ignore the dif- ferences between the two environments and lump terrestrial and oceanic organisms together. For the purpose of answering other questions (e.g., about social communication within animal populations, the mechanics of oxygen transport, or the design of the mammalian forelimb) we must dis- tinguish between terrestrial and oceanic organisms, because for these pur- poses the two environments are very different indeed.
It is true that events and transactions in realspace and cyberspace are identical in many ways, and can be treated identically for many purposes. Transactions between human beings are still transactions between human beings, whether they take place via e-mail, postcards, telegraph, or smoke signal. Whatever it is that motivates human beings to engage in one trans- action or another—love, hate, greed, curiosity, fear, etc.—remains the same, on or off the Internet. A dollar is still a dollar, whether it is earned by a seller of goods from a showroom transaction or a transaction at www.i’vegotstuffforsale.com.
Digitalbooks.com and Analogbooks will thus have many identical characteristics. Digitalbooks.com, like Analogbooks, provides: a forum where buyers and sellers can exchange consideration for goods; a system for making sure that those goods get shipped from seller to buyer after a transaction is consummated; rules for identifying the winners and losers of individual auctions; and means for obtaining payment for its services, ac- counting for those payments, and transferring money to its suppliers.
Therefore, questions about how Digitalbooks.com and Analogbooks spend the money they earn—for example, questions about the investment strategies of book dealers, and the laws regulating those investment strate- gies—can surely lump cyberspace and realspace earnings together.
However, it is also true that events and transactions in realspace and cyberspace are not identical in many other ways. For example, transac- tions in cyberspace can take place at much greater physical remove; they are consummated by means of the movement of bits rather than atoms; they are digitally encoded; they are unaffected by the participants’ sense of smell; they are embedded in and mediated by computer software; they travel at the speed of light, etc.
COMPLETE CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THOMAS JEFFERSON AND ABIGAIL AND JOHN ADAMS (Lester Cappon ed., Univ. North Carolina Press 1959) (May 27, 1813).