The country in question is set on an alien planet with humanoids that have technology that shares a resemblance to our late 20th century's technology.

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    $\begingroup$ Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking. $\endgroup$
    – Community Bot
    Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 4:22
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    $\begingroup$ The question admits a multitude of interpretations. For example, from the point of view of the government of Ukraine, large areas in the south-eastern part of the country are currently full of anarchy. For another example, Brazil has a fairly strong government, and yet very large parts of the country are basically ungoverned. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 4:37
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    $\begingroup$ How are you defining “strong government” and “anarchy”? $\endgroup$
    – user71781
    Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 4:38
  • $\begingroup$ Oh you mean like the USA? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 5:03
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    $\begingroup$ Wondering how "science based" applies to this. $\endgroup$
    – Boba Fit
    Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 17:37

5 Answers 5


Ancient privileges, respect for the rule of law protecting those privileges, and strong vested interests maintaining that.

Think of the Channel Islands not formally part of the UK and their financial regulations, or the gambling laws as they do (not) apply to the Native American lands. Their situation cannot be characterized as anarchy, but certain laws and regulations are considerably more relaxed than in the surrounding jurisdictions. The situation benefits both the inhabitants and some people in the surrounding areas, even if it is a net negative for mankind as a whole.

Anarchy is usually much less beneficial for the residents than running a tax haven or a casino, but it could be beneficial for some outside interests to have a law-free zone to conduct certain trades, etc. The "trick" would be to maintain acceptance for the lawless status quo on the rest of the planet.

  • Say there was a single legal act granting privileges to many distinct territories. Several turned into tax havens, several turned into gambling dens, some allowed drugs, a few allowed cutting-edge medical procedures/treatments. And a few had no laws at all.
    Most people are a little embarassed about those "islands of anarchy," and many are uneasy about the others. So vested interests fight any change to the ancient privileges with regard to anarchy, because they fear it would start the slow erosion of their tax and vice havens.

  • Or say that there is a vice which is illegal whereever there are laws, yet it is the 'guilty pleasure' of enough, and sufficiently powerful, people. They can afford to protect themselves from the drawbacks of anarchy when they go there (bring bodyguards from outside, etc.), and reap the benefits.
    As the proverb goes, only the strong can afford a weak state.

  • Or the area(s) of anarchy would be of vital strategic interest to several competing power blocks. Hot and cold wars have been fought over them, until an international treaty was agreed to renounce any governments' claims of sovereignty. There was no civilian population at the time, the military populations were withdrawn, and access was difficult. Since then, anarchists have drifted in.


What do you mean by Anarchy, exactly?

Do you mean just an area where the Law isn't really enforced? In which case there are multiple countries and from multiple time periods that fit that description.

America - especially in the days of the Wild West, Even to a lesser extent - now. Australia - with the outback. Russia - with Siberia.

By 'not really enforced' - I mean 'It's so bloody big that having a significant enough police presence to regularly enforce the law'.

Or do you mean Anarchy in the more general sense that there's lots of crime, looting etc?

In which case - you could look at several countries that have effective 'no-go zones' - I'm thinking of certain places in Sweden, Areas in New Zealand where the Major Gang Headquarters are - other people have mentioned places like Chicago etc.

If you are talking more in a philosophical sense - it's entirely possible that a Country might decide that anything that occurs outside a certain limit is not enforceable - maybe to keep the costs of policing down, maybe as a well to 'encourage' all the illegal activity to leave the city bounds - it would be an interesting thought experiment.


How 'strong' is the strong government?

An example from meatspace would be Mexico, where there are autonomous anarchist regions in Chiapas and Oaxaca where the agents of the Mexican state are not welcome, despite Mexico being an OECD member and one of the world's largest economies.

There are autonomous regions in the highlands of Thailand and Vietnam, where indigenous groups live in their indigenous anarchy with little interference from the state.

Really, nation-state realism is a fallacy that we've all been brainwashed into by maps we were shown as children. Just because an area is coloured as country x on a map, doesn't mean the state has control there. I'd bring up the tribal regions of Afghanistan, only a "strong government" was specified.


Escape from New Vatican City

It's a common staple in dystopian fiction for a society to officially cordon off a region where all laws are suspended. Almost always, the reason is that they put all their criminals in this zone.

So your folks can do the same. Criminals are given a one-way ticket to the bad zone, which they're never allowed to leave, but within which there are no laws or rules. They can be murdered in the first 10 seconds for their clothing, or they can slaughter all the other criminals to become king of the hill, or anything in between.

Importantly, this will have an impact on your society. The laws, police, courts, and society's treatment of those things will change if the legal system has the power to administer as punishment a death-sentence/lord-of-anarchy.


Have you not been to Chicago? Even strong states with deep recourse will have high crime areas. It should be possible that there are areas were the state can't or won't reach.

Perhaps there are to far in the wilderness for the state to care or maybe the local criminal know who to pay to keep the state looking the other way.


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