Hmmm. These days I pretty automatically assume that networks beat hierarchies.

  • There's a lot of talk about it on the net.
  • There's a lot of talk about it in business.
  • Maybe the NationState is under attack from various kinds of network.

But nature has been opposing hierarchies to networks since the BigBang. And yet, human society is riddled with them. All these hierarchies were fitter than rival network-structured things when they arose. Maybe we should have a go at understanding why.

One possibility, as PhilAgre points out with respect to RonaldCoase is that we should only expect communication technologies to empower networks against hierarchies when the market transaction cost (ie. cost of co-ordinating across the network) is lowered relative to the transaction costs internal to the hierarchy. TheMarketLogicOfInformation.

Could be in interesting example. OpenFlow centralizes routing decisions to make networks more efficient.