Corporation vs. internet

NOTE HXA7241 2011-01-23T10:31Z

(It is not really just Facebook, it is a general problem.)


There is a deep structural opposition between the internet and the corporate/commercial model of the last 200 years since the industrial revolution. With the internet, the essence is connection: in all shapes and directions. With the corporation, the essence is centralisation: broadcast product one way, concentrate money the other way.

The ‘conical’ communication structure of the corporation can exist in the network structure of the internet, but the more cone-like it is, the less network-like it is. And because the cone is a sub-type of network structure, it requires extra effort to maintain stability, whereas general interconnection is built in to the fabric.

And there is a another deep contradiction. The traditional commercial model works by mass production. It is not craft: working by individual skill. It is manufacturing: working by automation. But in the digital world, the very things that are automatable and hence scalable, are the very things that can be trivially copied and owned by anyone.

What corporations depend on to exist is no longer worth anything, and what is worth something cannot support corporations.


But what was most valuable in the industrial model was not essential to the conical shape – the broadcast product and concentrated ownership (they are just commended by those who benefited most from them). It was the systems of cooperation.

The ‘modules’ of organisation of industrial corporate commerce have to be extracted from their conical/hierarchical structure and adjusted and replanted in the graph/network structure.

We have somewhat made a digital structure for people as consumers – online retail and payment. People as producers needs to be ‘digitised’ too. We have some examples in Wikipedia and GNU/Linux; we need more, similar, exploration and development.