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Anarchy (from anarchía, "without ruler") may refer to any of the following:

  • "Absence of government; a state of lawlessness due to the absence or inefficiency of the supreme power; political disorder."
  • "A theoretical social state in which there is no governing person or body of persons, but each individual has absolute liberty (without the implication of disorder)."
  • "Absence or non-recognition of authority and order in any given sphere."

It should be noted that "ruler", if used in the context of the third bullet point, has no explicit connection to the term "rules". In an anarchy, as defined by the last bullet point, it is possible to have rules (laws), however, these must be agreed upon by the participants in the system, and not imposed from above, by a ruler (leader, authority). Some Languages, such as Norwegian, have two separate words for the two meanings. This lack of separation causes problems of understanding in a similar way that the word "free" in English causes misunderstandings when relating to open-source software.

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