Monday, December 18, 2006


John Robb has an interesting new post called "Radical Transparency to Improve Resiliency." It tackles the same concept that I addressed two years ago in "Open Source Warfare vs. Arcane Use For Power": that "secrecy" is an outmoded symptom of hierarchy, and that focusing instead on accelerating our information processing (via the OODA loop model) and understanding the benefits of transparency within a game-theory model should allow us to move beyond secrecy. Take a look at Robb's article because he provides covereage of this topic from a slighly different perspective--but, interestingly, one that is less "4th-Generation Warfare" centric than his usual posts. Here, his posts directly address economic activities.

I think that the most fascinating part of this whole discussion on transparency vs. secrecy is the prospect that an awareness that processes must move from secretive to transparent may also force them (to some degree) from hierarchal to rhizome. I have long argued that rhizome is a more efficient means of information processing (it just isn't as efficient at accreting benefits to a select few)--perhaps the business world will begin to embrace this? I'm not holding my breath...

**I just can't help but point out, mainly because as someone who is generally not very good at puzzles I'm still rather impressed with myself, that the title of my original post consists of two phrases that are anagrams of each other and ALSO convey the juxtaposition of ideas in conflict therein: OPEN SOURCE WARFARE and ARCANE USE FOR POWER.

However, before I spend too much time congratulating myself, I'd like to appologize for the relative crappiness of my latest post on oil prices, "Curve Ball." I had (and still have) a much more detailed and I hope well-thought out commentary on that topic in the works, but the article as posted reflects a very early and partial draft as it stood at the point when my wife went into labor and I just hit the "publish post" button. One of these days I'll back up and address the issue properly.


Jason Godesky said...

Since you had more important things to deal wth, you might've missed my post from last week. I stumbled on all three of these in one day—three different examples of very hierarchical groups being forced into a rhizome organization out of sheer necessity. When you have people like John Robb putting it in such blatant terms, or Peters' article in nothing less than the neocon Bible, the Weekly Standard, that globalization is doomed to failure because culture is so powerfully rooted in a given place and ecology ... well, that is exciting, isn't it?

Jeff Vail said...

Looks like I did miss that... ah, so much reading to catch up on. It really is exciting--a bit like watching a movie unfold where you know what will happen, but most of the people in the audience just can't conceive of the idea of the plot twist that you know is just around the corner, despite the foreshadowing that keeps hitting them over the head.

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