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The balance of power

This page was created on Apr 13 2009 and was last updated on Nov 24 2011 
One of the most important characteristics of the new technology is that it enhances coherence throughout society in knowledge, intentions or goals, and actions. In other words, it acts as a catalyst which sums forces from an arbitrarily large pool of independent actors. This particular aspect asymmetrically benefits the multitude to the detriment of a tyrannical government.



 







 

We are now seeing an important transformation in the way social forces organize and oppose each others. This transformation is gradual, as different social factions realize the potential of new emerging technologies, and experiment with them. Science and technology are blind; they serve better the ones who know how to use them. But knowledge about a new tool or method is not everything, social factions also differ in their disposition to receive and integrate the new technology. Their disposition can be related to a cultural specificity, their organizational structure, their leadership, etc. All this plays a role in how fast a group can actualize a new potential. The scope of this page is to analyze the advantages given by the new technology to a hypothetical tyrannical government and to its people, and to try to predict in which direction will move the equilibrium of forces between these two antagonist entities. This is a work in progress... Before we go on, we want to give our guests a flavor of our preliminary conclusions. 

Activists and organizers of social mass movements are starting to think in a radically different way. Networks is the key concept. We are moving towards a highly decentralized form of social movement organization, a very organic and dynamic structure. The role of a central figure as a leader is greatly diminished. There will be less need for a charismatic popular icon, a super leader to move masses, to give coherence to popular movements. Analysis and decision making will be distributed processes. What becomes important now is to build connections between small and strong specialized clusters of individuals that share common goals. To define norms that govern relations between these small groups, in order to enable their rapid coalescence into very stable super-networks, to render them organic, dynamic. To distribute responsibilities and tasks for a planned action according to the specialization and resources of every individual group. To identify the necessities of a given type of social action, and to cultivate and nurture providers of these necessities within our society. Social action will take a holistic, systems approach. 

Here are some key features of modern social movements. They are: 
open = anyone can join and quit at will
transparent = everything proposed, planned is made public and easily accessible  
decentralized = there are no leaders, only systems of reputation and roles (roles are dynamic/emergent)
viral = they produce powerful memes