Hierarchies and Meshworks are always mixed

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Citation

Manual De Landa:

"Herbert Simon's distinction between command hierarchies and markets may turn out to be a special case of a more general dichotomy. In the view of philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, this more abstract classes, which they call strata and self-consistent aggregates (or trees and rhizomes), are defined not so much by the locus of control, as by the nature of elements that are connected together. Strata are composed of homogenous elements, whereas self-consistent aggregates articulate heterogeneous elements as such. {6} For example, a military hierarchy sorts people into internally homogenous ranks before joining them together through a chain of command. Markets, on the other hand, allow for a set of heterogeneous needs and offers to become articulated through the price mechanism, without reducing this diversity. In biology, species are an example of strata, particularly if selection pressures have operated unobstructedly for long periods of time allowing the homogenization of the species gene pool. On the other hand, ecosystems are examples of self-consistent aggregates, since they link together into complex food webs a wide variety of animals and plants, without reducing their heterogeneity. I have developed this theory in more detail elsewhere, but for our purposes here let's simply keep the idea that besides centralization and decentralization of control, what defines these two types of structure is the homogeneity or heterogeneity of its composing elements.

Before returning to our discussion of agent-based interfaces, there is one more point that needs to be stressed. As both Simon and Deleuze and Guattari emphasize, the dichotomy between bureaucracies and markets, or to use the terms that I prefer, between hierarchies and meshworks, should be understood in purely relative terms. In the first place, in reality it is hard to find pure cases of these two structures: even the most goal-oriented organization will still show some drift in its growth and development, and most markets even in small towns contain some hierarchical elements, even if it is just the local wholesaler which manipulates prices by dumping (or withdrawing) large amounts of a product on (or from) the market. Moreover, hierarchies give rise to meshworks and meshworks to hierarchies. Thus, when several bureaucracies coexist (governmental, academic, ecclesiastic), and in the absence of a super-hierarchy to coordinate their interactions, the whole set of institutions will tend to form a meshwork of hierarchies, articulated mostly through local and temporary links. Similarly, as local markets grow in size, as in those gigantic fairs which have taken place periodically since the Middle Ages, they give rise to commercial hierarchies, with a money market on top, a luxury goods market underneath and, after several layers, a grain market at the bottom. A real society, then, is made of complex and changing mixtures of these two types of structure, and only in a few cases it will be easy to decide to what type a given institution belongs." (http://t0.or.at/delanda/meshwork.htm)