Do you guys really think Service X would work without any government at all?

We don’t know. And you probably don’t either. That’s the point. Although PTB collects empirical evidence in support of the claim that services work better when provided without governments, that claim may or may not ultimately be correct.

What is certain, however, is that this evidence – and the possibility of a peaceful and voluntary society that it suggests – is rarely considered. It’s just not part of our cultural conversation about how to solve social problems. Our goal is to shift this conversation so as to include more discussion of alternatives to state-provided services.

PTB Alternative X works within a state paradigm, and benefits from state provided services – such as national security, law, infrastructure, etc. – in order to exist. How is it a PTB Alternative?

The fact that a PTB Alternative relies on some government services does not invalidate its significance to PTB.

Since the beginning of recorded history, there has never been a single event that was entirely free of all government influence. If our standards were so strict, we’d have no PTB Alternatives at all.

A PTB Alternative is merely a service that is relatively free from government involvement. PTB Alternatives invite questions of comparison: do these services work better or worse because of more or less government involvement?

For example, consider that most PTB Alternatives rely on the existence of law. And consider that most examples of PTB Alternatives involve state-provided law. In this case, some questions to think about are:

  • Does PTB Alternative X require government-provided law – or merely law with or without government provision?
  • If government-provided law is not required, when would an alternative to government-provided law be better or worse?
  • If government-provided law is still required, might PTB Alternative X be better provided if other government services, like infrastructure, were replaced by their non-government alternatives?

Does Pressing the Button have an ideology?

PTB is an education platform for presenting information that allows people to evaluate the efficacy of alternatives to government-provided services. Our goal is merely to collect relevant evidence, and encourage discussion around it. Which conclusions these discussions elicit is another matter.

This is not a left-wing website – it features alternatives like private businesses. Nor is this is a right-wing website – it features alternatives like worker co-ops, communes, mutual aid societies, and other solidarity-based collectives. And it is not an anarchist website – it may be that only some of the services we highlight ought to be provided without the government; moreover, most of the sources we feature do not identify as anarchist.

Why don’t you have a category for, say, agriculture, clothing, or cars?

PTB Alternatives have two defining characteristics: 1) they are provided through non-governmental means; and 2) they are services that people tend to think can only (or best) be provided by governments. While agriculture, clothing, cars, and many other products and services, have been provided by governments, most of us don’t assume that they must be provided by governments in order to be provided effectively.

Why don’t you have a category for, say, space travel or the sharing economy?

Check out the Other Alternative Services page for PTB Alternatives that aren’t easily categorizable under one major umbrella.

Why don’t you have a category for Service X?

It may very well be that there are major categories of PTB Alternatives that we’ve neglected. If you think this is the case, let us know!

So-and-So is not credible! How could you feature his/her work on PTB?

We do not endorse the writers that we feature. A writer may espouse absolutely awful views, and yet have one really important and insightful PTB-worthy work. By featuring some source, we highlight the source, not everything else put out by the author.

With that said, if you think that we have featured something untrustworthy or fallacious, please let us know and we will consider removing it.

I’ve taken a look at your site. However, for philosophical/theoretical Reason X, I still think state-provided services are absolutely necessary. What is your response?

We love philosophical/theoretical discussions! Write up a post about your Reason X, and we’ll be happy to feature it on our blog, Debating the Button. That’s our space for disagreement and theoretical debate.

The rest of the website is a collection of empirical data – real-world or historical examples and comparisons. Not that we don’t value the theoretical stuff; it’s just not what the main part of the website is for.

What’s with the name?

The name comes from our founding essay, William Nava’s “Would You Press the Button?” In short, the button is the button you press to give yourself more options. It’s the button that creates competition and incentives among services to work as effectively as possible for you and your communities. Ultimately, it’s the button you press to live a freer and better life.