In the network economy, ownership is fragmented...

...into myriad parts, sped along electronic pathways, and dispersed among workers, venture capitalists, investors, alliance members, outsiders, and, in minute doses, even to competitors. Networks breed swarm capitalism.

Yet as networks rise, the center recedes. It is no coincidence that global networks appear at the same time as the postmodern literary movement. In postmodernism, there is no central authority, no universal dogma, no foundational ethic. The theme of postmodernism in the arts, science, and politics is summed up by Steven Best and Douglas Kellner in their book The Postmodern Turn: "The postmodern turn results in fragmentation, instability, indeterminacy, and uncertainty." This also sums up the net.

Network principles renounce rigidity, closed structure, universal schemes, central authority, and fixed values. Instead networks offer up plurality, differences, ambiguity, incompleteness, contingency, and multiplicity. These qualities are ideal for disruption, for the spread of networked-organized crime, and for fostering the lack of shared values.



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This is a blog version of a book of mine first published in 1998. I am re-issuing it (two posts per week) unaltered on its 10th anniversary. Comments welcomed. More details here.
-- KK