Home > Uncategorized > Why Networks Defeat Hierarchies

Why Networks Defeat Hierarchies

from Kevin Carson’s Why Networks Defeat Hierarchies on c4ss

I stumbled across an old 2006 commentary by Wilikeaks’s Julian Assange, from his defunct blog, courtesy of Internet Archive. It’s reproduced on the P2P Foundation’s Wiki: “Non Linear Effects of Leaks on Unjust Systems of Governance.”

“The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership …. This must result in minimization of efficient internal communications mechanisms (an increase in cognitive ’secrecy tax’) and consequent system-wide cognitive decline resulting in decreased ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaption. Hence in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are nonlinearly hit relative to open, just systems.”

In other words, authoritarian hierarchies handicap themselves by suppressing the information they need to adapt to real-world conditions and remain viable. …

As counter-culture philosopher Robert Anton Wilson pointed out in the Illuminatus! Trilogy: Nobody ever tells the truth to someone with a gun — or someone who can fire them. (“Right you are, C.J.!”). As organization theorist Kenneth Boulding notes, “there is a constant tendency for hierarchy to corrupt communications, and for necessary information to be filtered out before it reaches the top decision makers. The bigger the organization, the more likely are its top decision makers to be living in a wholly imaginary world.”

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