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Internet Warlords Versus Governments - Dilbert Blog

Internet Warlords Versus Governments

What would happen if 30% of taxpayers in the United States suddenly decided to ignore their complicated tax returns and instead pay a self-imposed flat tax? 

And let’s say these folks are working together, so they pick the same flat tax rate. And lets say there are some credible economists supporting the rate they pick. 

What the hell happens then?

This is the sort of thing I can imagine happening because of the power of social networks. People would only need to believe that other people are rebelling in the same way at the same time to feel safe, like a virtual mob. If 30% of the taxpaying public rebels as one, and their demands are entirely reasonable and supported by economists, would the government try to penalize them?

It couldn’t.

When one citizen breaks the law, you jail him. When 30% of citizens break the same law at the same time, the law changes. It almost has to. There aren’t enough jails.

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I don’t have an informed opinion on flat tax rates. I’m more interested in the idea that citizens have the power to change tax rates without working through the government. Will we ever see citizens pull the trigger on that sort of power?

I think we might. All it takes is a charismatic figure to get things going. And the revolution doesn’t need to be about taxes. If 30% of the public ignores any kind of law at the same time, the law will likely change. 

The larger idea here is that governments might become captive to organized Internet “warlords” that control specific areas of legislation. At the moment, big money is the corrupter of governments. But the Internet warlords of the future just need a web page and social media. Money might become a lot less important.

We like to think our system of government is stable and permanent. The reality in 2015 is that we could be one web page away from an entirely new form of government and not see it coming.

Scott Adams

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