I am curious to know what do you call a country in which people people do not respect rules and disobey regulations? In such a country, injustice, immorality, breaking the law and so on, (in Russian we call it "беспредел") turn to be valuable notions which all spring from the lack of law. (I.e. no adequate executable laws in society, not following the existing rules by people and not expanding and issuing new laws by the government.)

I know two adjectives depicting the concept in my question (at least to me, however):
first, they mean almost the same to me. Second, I have no clue if they sound idiomatic in this case.
Third, I have no idea which one is more accurate in this case and is able to encapsulate the gist of my explanations.

a. anarchic
b. lawless

That said, I would enjoy receiving any better ideas.

1 Answer 1


"Lawlessness" is generally used to mean that the laws are not applied because the authorities do not have the ability to enforce them and a large enough part of the population does not obey them voluntarily.

"Anarchy" means that there is no government. This can refer to an ideal situation where people do not need to be governed. However it can also apply in a situation where a government is unable to govern and lawlessness results. The word is often used when a struggle for control becomes violent. Here it is applicable because nobody has the ability to rule - to exercise control. The phrase "descent into anarchy" is often used to describe the development of such a situation.

  • I am a bit confused, may I ask you to do me a favor and explain a little more @Peter?
    – A-friend
    Mar 30, 2022 at 10:51
  • Lawlessness tends to be associated with criminal behaviour, whereas anarchy tends to be associated with political unrest.
    – Peter
    Mar 31, 2022 at 2:23
  • So your suggestion is "anarchic" @Peter. Isn't it?
    – A-friend
    Mar 31, 2022 at 10:41
  • 1
    I'm not sure which word is best from what you said. If people are stealing although they know it is wrong, but find it is easier than working for a living, then this is lawlessness. If people disobey a law they believe is unjust this may be an act of civil disobedience. (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_disobedience .
    – Peter
    Apr 1, 2022 at 11:17
  • I see @Peter. Let me explain a bit more. In the case in my intention people disobey and break laws because find it easier and more convenient to themselves, commit minor and major offenses to achieve money and the government takes it easy and does not force them to obey the law for two major reasons; on the one hand, when the social situations gets more chaotic, the opportunistic authorities find it easier to take advantage if the situation. On the other hand, the more chaos the more safety for the government. I.e. the busier and the more engaged people, the less threats for the regime.
    – A-friend
    Apr 4, 2022 at 5:12

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