Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Civilization is the Network

In the early days of the American Republic, there was some controversy between the group we commonly call the Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson became, in time, the figure associated with a position now known as "pastoralism" by some and "agrarianism" by others. (The proper term, for the record, is Jeffersonian Democracy.) While that conflict is now, without dispute, known to end in favor of Alexander Hamilton's American System of Political Economy, which in turn was supplanted by the American Tories and their allies in the City of London by 1913 (the establishment of the Federal Reserve)--whose system now enslaves the world out of the Bank for International Settlements--it is now time to reconsider the Jeffersonian ideas as we seek a replacement for Empire's system.

Jefferson's "yeoman farmer" republic, with emphasis on decentralization and autonomy, is now far more practical and practicable than it was in the 18th and 19th centuries due to the Internet. This is because of another emergent quality identified in 1981, and by explained in very specific terms by Manual Castells in a 2000 publication, The Rise of the Network Society. Cities no longer hold the privilege of position that they formerly assumed; it is now possible, at long last, to reverse the known--and, by now, obviously true--flaws of the Hamilton position (due to its corruption and usurpation by Empire) in favor of the Jefferson position. The network is the key to making this achievable.

There is no longer any need, thanks to breakthroughs in manufacturing technology, to rely so much on centralized production and distribution networks; we can, and we should, shift away from such easily-manipulated models of operation into a truly decentralized and distributed model where if an individual needs something made or built then all they need to worry about are the raw materials. There is also no longer any need to insist upon centralized office models--the current reversal of the telecommuting trend is a freak-out reaction by control-freaks, and will be shot down soon in favor of returning to the decentralization trend--for businesses or other operations whose nature does not require the literal shared presence of all engaged in the work at hand. (You need everyone in the same place to do an operation on a patient; you don't for diagnosis of that patient's problems, administration of his case, or post-discharge follow-ups. Hospitals, therefore, are open to mass reorganization towards their core functions and shedding the overhead associated with their toxic troubles.)

The network is not just the Internet. Before that, we had human networks--clusters of communities tied by personal relationships--and those will return as the city ceases to be important to fulfilling Mankind's needs and instead becomes clear to be the shackles chaining us to Empire. Those original ways we network will be augmented through the Internet, as they already are, when we get away from sharing the shallow and irrelevant in favor of sharing the vital and important. Education is already decentralizing and distributing, both specific training as well as foundational study and practice, and with it the industrial, centralized model--public and private alike--will collapse; your children are better off using Khan Academy at home under your supervision than being mind-fucked and brainwashed into a model corporate drone in the old-model Prussian-style school system. We don't need the middle-men, or the gate-keepers; we can, we have, and we shall again thrive by doing it all for ourselves.

By reducing the cities back to the strictest minimum necessary to do the specific functions that are necessary, and cannot be done otherwise, we also cut away at the environments for corruption and imposition of tyranny that is Empire at its most fundamental level. By replacing city functions with the network, we can ensure that those functions stay in line through reserving those operations to ourselves and not to other parties; all the network need do is make available information and tools required for individuals to do for themselves, and safeguard itself from those who would seek to impose control over this vital space of flows.

The Network is Civilization. This is where our next phase of development, as a species, will build upon for a foundation- as it did long ago, before Empire intervened. Let the cities go, and let Empire fall.

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