Hierarchy and network

“If this book displays a clear bias against large, centralized hierarchies, it is only because the last three hundred years have witnessed an excessive accumulation of stratified systems at the expense of meshworks. The degree of homogeneity in the world has greatly increased, while heterogeneity has come to be seen as almost pathological, or at least as a problem that must be eliminated. Under the circumstances, a call for a more decentralized way of organizing human societies seems to recommend itself.

However, it is crucial to avoid the facile conclusion that meshworks are intrinsically better than hierarchies (in some transcendental sense). It is true that some of the characteristics of meshworks (particularly their resilience and adaptability) make them desirable, but that is equally true of certain characteristics of hierarchies (for example, their goal-directedness). Therefore, it is crucial to avoid the temptation of cooking up a narrative of human history in which meshworks appear as heroes and hierarchies as villains. ”

Manuel De Landa, A Thousand Years of Nonlinear                                                                                                                             History, p. 69

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