I’ll try to do give the the best answer that is available to us today.
1) If we define anarchy as the absence of RULES (MORALS AND NORMS), then no – without morals and norms humans cannot cooperate.
2) If we define anarchy as the absence of LAWS and JUDGES then no. Without contracts and the common law support of contracts, then no, not in any meaningful sense.
3) If we define anarchy as the absence of GOVERNMENT (meaning group of people who coordinate investments in commons then possibly anarchy can exist, but under very constrained and simple conditions. Realistically it would be very hard for these people to compete economically with people from other groups.
4) If we define anarchy as the absence of LAW MAKERS then almost certainly. The common law alone is sufficient for law making.
5) If we define anarchy as the absence of an abstract corporation we call the ‘STATE’, then absolutely certainly. In fact, when people complain about government they generally are complaining about the behavior of individuals in a monopoly (government) who are insulated from competition, and whose members also for a bureaucracy that is insulated from competition, and who, as members of a bureaucracy, pursue their own interests.
Human societies employ at least these five sets of institutions and by and large, the first three are necessary, and the second two are not. The question is whether in practice a group could compete effectively without the abstract state and the ability to issue commands (we call them laws, but that’s just a way of trying to give commands the legitimacy of natural laws to what are just political ‘commands’.)
So, a homogenous body of people who are not very different in character, belief, genetics, status, and wealth can quite easily create anarchy by writing a constitution with just one a half a dozen rules in it, and then hopefully finding judges that will rule according to those rules and no others.
A government lf laws then, is quite possible. A government of men isn’t necessary. And it’s what our founding fathers were trying to prevent.
Didn’t work well though. Civil war and all that….
REGARDING “IN A PARTICULAR WORLD”
Among a population of people with common heritage, mythology, manners, ethics and morals, who are arguably closely related, it is entirely feasible to draft a constitutions and to supply all services by private institutions. The problem is whether that LACK of a constitutional government creates an opportunity for a private organization to functionally serve the same purpose, and in that same capacity, eventually develop the monopolistic self serviig bureaucracy that evolves the ability to write laws (issue commands)
The general argument in favor of minimal government is that some form of government (weak monarchy for example that ‘owns’ the institutions of dispute resolution) is necessary simply to provide competition against other private organizations that would attempt to function as governments. I do not believe it is possible to counter this argument in any way – it’s quite sound in both theory and practice. ( Although I’m not going to sidetrack into that kind of depth at the moment. )
IN A BROADER WORLD
The anarchic research program commonly referred to as “Anarcho Capitalism” has developed a set of solutions to the problem of institutions, using competing private insurance companies rather than public monopolies. However, this ‘private government’ still does not solve the problem of heterogenous polities (people with different, competing, and irreconcilable differences.). Some of us are working on that problem. We tend to call it some variation of ‘contractual’ government. Meaning that groups make contracts between competing classes rather than allow one class to dominate another class by majority rule.
There is no functional reason why this solution would not work even for large heterogenous polities.
So there are at least two circumstances under which Anarchy is possible, if we define anarchy as the absence of a monopolistic bureaucracy, but not if we define anarchy as the absence of institutions, rules or law.
Fundamentally speaking, it is illogical to suggest that a “polyopoly” of property rights and definitions is possible since a homogenous definition of property right is necessary in order to logically resolve disputes over rights, obligations and conflicts. If there is a monopoly of property rights at any point, that monopolistic definition, in practice, is the premise for all law within that group of people. Therefore even without the institutions of administrative government, any monopoly of property rights is in fact ‘government’. Everything else is just procedure.
That logic may be hard to follow. But it is what it is. 🙂