Hierarchy Versus Networks

Historically hierarchies have dominated human society. However, around 500 years ago the invention of the printing press was the start of the challenge to hierarchies by networks, ie a group of
"...like-minded people communicating with one another independently of those in authority over them..."
Niall Ferguson as quoted by David Marquand, 2017/18

Since then
"...sometimes hierarchies have crushed networks; sometimes networks have undermined hierarchies. But the tension between them has been constant and inescapable..."
David Marquand, 2017/18

Networks are regarded as more creative than hierarchies and their members are more engaged.

However, historically both hierarchies and networks can be disastrous, ie
"...Most of the 16th and 17th-century, the main threat......came from fanatical, intolerant and often blood-thirsty religious networks that devastated central Europe. For most of the 18th, 19th and 20th century it came from more or less brutal hierarchists - Peter the Great, Napoleon, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Kim Il Sung and the like.."
David Marquand, 2017/18

It can be argued that we are living in another networked age based around the Internet with the World Wide Web and tech giants, like Facebook and Google:
"...The speedy diffusion of information that these websites facilitate allows individuals to form themselves into networks more easily, and more globally, than ever before - these developments are having profound consequences on once stable, or at least predictable, democracies..."
David Marquand, 2017/18

This era can also be described as the age of cyber warfare and trolls.

We need to understand the impact of these technologies on the public realm and on the distribution of income between individuals, corporations and regions. There has been an explosion of inequalities with the returns from networks flowing overwhelmingly to insiders who are in these tech giants and have become super rich, ie multi-billionaires.
Never before has it been so easy for people to communicate with one another. We need to ensure that people stop yelling and shouting at each other and return to listening and thinking before talking.

In the past, successful networks have become the new hierarchies.

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