"There were 16 major political parties now, divided into warrior blocs and ceaseless internecine purges, defections, and counterpurges. There were privately owned cities with millions of "clients" where the standard rule of law was cordially ignored. There were price-fixing mafias, money laundries, outlaw stock markets. There were black, gray, and green superbarter Nets. There were health maintenance organizations staffed by crazed organ-sharing cliques, where advanced medical techniques were in the grip of any quack able to download a surgery program. Wiretapping Net-militias flourished, freed of any physical locale. There were breakaway counties in the American West where whole towns had sold out to tribes of nomads, and simply dropped off the map."