Our civilisation is held together by a series of systems. As the human population has grown over time these systems have been added to or evolved to accomodate different social dynamics. Many of these systems work on the basis that the human animal is stupid and can only deal with its new dense surroundings peacefully by being controlled. These control systems often cause tensions which result in wars as the paradoxes and hypocrisies are revealed. Is the human animal programmed to be eternally at war with itself?
The internet represents a Utopian model of the world, a Distributed Network (DisNet) where human knowledge flows in a virtual pool accessable to anyone able to use a digital portal. In this Utopian vision do we want to see controlling systems determining what it is best for us to be reading, viewing, learning? With inventions like the iPad the internet can literally be read like your own personal book comfortably on your lap. Never has knowledge been so freely and easily accessable. What will our generation do with this new power now a bite has been taken from the Apple? Is Twitter the beginnings of a new political system where the Market expresses it’s views through #DisNet creating a network of needs to be balanced by our Social CEO’s?
Fears about control of the internet may be insignifcant compared to the growth of cloud computing. As a digital model it appears to contradict the decentralised merits of the internet where everybody controls their own knowledge and data by storing it locally. This approach means a virus can only affect one user’s data at a time. If information is centralised in a virtual ‘cloud’ is not the risk for excessive control, corruption and collapse inevitable?
Perhaps our more enlightened readers can share their thoughts on how the internet can evolve in a positive direction? The End?
DisNet Mapping : http://www.opte.org/maps/
As we begin to see light at the end of the recessionary tunnel, governments around the world are advocating an entrepreneurial spirit to lift society into a new era of growth. Unfortunately the reality of a boom and bust economy is that, while those with little free capital struggle to survive, the wealthy are finalising patents, partnership agreements and investment deals which will guarantee rapid success in the next decade and no doubt create yet another recession in ten years time.
It would help greatly if governments inspired entrepreneurs with a realistic ladder to climb when at the moment too much time is wasted building the ladder. The main barrier to success in society is that it is often unclear as to the next step needed in developing ones self. Fortunately the power of the internet provides a mechanism to research for free any topic of use and this helps break down exhausting barriers.
We forget that the internet is a relatively new invention and one that is greatly underestimated for the potential it has to improve society. The internet represents a distributed network model where a simple framework or ‘world wide web’ enables the distribution of knowledge thereby short-cutting bureaucracy, hierarchy and general middlemen. While systems such as Twitter have been used to bring down dictatorships, the internet will inevitably lead to the evolution of democracy and capitalism in the coming years.
The existing capitalist model relies on monopolies and centralisation to fuel consumptive growth. It requires a level of control which ironically contradicts the ideals of the free market it so advocates to increase profits. This has led to an erosion in morality, cultural identity and community as problems caused by this process have been moved out of sight and out of mind.
We see the internet as a key tool to put these social challenges back into focus so they can be solved by a global community. On a smaller scale the internet, a tool not discussed in the latest government retail review , is also the mechanism to empower local communities and high streets that have lost their identity and soul. Sir Francis Bacon famously said that ‘knowledge is power’ and with the birth of the internet we may now have a digital prophet to help balance society.
Tools of evolution
Over the last few years we have witnessed the collapse of global banks and the failure of centralised governments to spend sustainably. Part of this is due to linear thinking where, for example, toxic derivatives have been repackaged and resold without the circular consequences being considered. With linear thinking you will eventually reach the end of the line and in this case it was the credit crunch and a global realisation that the banks didn’t really know how much toxic debt they actually held. It was believed that the ‘Market’ would solve this problem. It didn’t and instead the world entered into recession as trade froze while our leaders tried to work out how to unlock the stalemate and get the economy moving again. This out of sight, out of mind approach to finance can also be seen in trade and politics where centralised systems make the cause and effect consequences unfelt until it is too late. A centralised government makes strategic decisions for a piece of land which is so big it cannot see the consequence of its actions until billions of pounds have been spent. Why does this arbitrary boundary that defines our country determine how the land is managed? How can centralised governance comprehend the complexities of society on the scale they are expected to work without making nonspecific generalisations that impact on local culture and identity? The arrival of the internet, one of the greatest inventions of our recent past, has nearly completely networked the planet. Could this technology provide a distribution of information and awareness for humanity which leads to a global Distributed Network?
The current political system is a relatively new invention. A quick history lesson shows that before 1066 England was ruled by a monarch. The feudal system introduced a debate team of tenants-in-chief from which William of Normandy would seek advice before making laws. In 1215 the tenants-in-chief secured Magna Carta from King John which established the monarch would not levy taxes without the consent of his royal council, which gradually developed into a parliament. Over time parliament limited the power of the monarch to the extent that all laws are now made by parliament and you could say that the monarch acts as an advisor to the prime minister. Realising the evolution of England’s governance is important in understanding that what exists today is not necessarily the best model to secure our future success.
Let me ask you a question. Tell me the top five policies of the three major parties in England and explain the changes to society and directly to you that having either one in power would produce? There are very few people that can answer this question. Unfortunately our hard fought democratic right to vote has become a misleading smoke-screen which has resulted in the whimsical change of government where an opposition party not only debates new laws but actively blocks good ideas to gain personal and political leverage. Does this sound constructive? Yet if we look at large companies such as Apple, that has only existed for 35years, they now have more money than the USA to spend! Is there something in the model of corporations that could be translated to the governance of countries to aid their evolution? Does society need a national voting system to relieve its frustrations or would localised share holding empower citizens to make positive changes to their communities? By making counties into corporations would people realise the pointlessness in accumulating wealth to the detriment of the community?
The Distributed Network is a proposal to devolve the structures of national governance and allow each state or county to independently manage their own finances and affairs. Each county will be managed by a CEO chosen by a board of directors and everybody within the county will be a shareholder with the power to change the board should it fail to deliver. By focusing management by county it will be easier to comprehend the complexity of the systems at work than the current system of parliament is able to achieve. It would also attract a new generation of social CEO’s who are uninspired by politics and would now have the opportunity to make a positive difference to their area. New ideas could be tested in small parts of the country and if successful would naturally spread. This would prevent the arbitrary staking of countries against one another and encourage partnerships to be formed both nationally and internationally between counties. Success could be measured by carbon usage and contentment levels rather than GDP which encourages unsustainable growth for growths sake. Each CEO has the ultimate power to make decisions for the county but the county cannot expand its boundaries nor restrict immigration. Each county would then have to chose between becoming completely self-sufficient or trading with others to find a balance. This process would also encourage cultural identity to be enhanced as each county competed with its neighbours to be the most sustainable and harmonious. The aim of the Distributed Network is to reach a sustainable balance where all systems across the globe are circular and are networked to the benefit of the county, the human species and the planet.
Winston Churchill famously said : “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried…” Maybe there is an alternative? What do you think?
The Distributed Network