A couple of weeks ago I read a post over at Victus Spiritus entitled The Old Kingdom. It is an enticing read on how a lot of old structures are based on centralization for purposes of organization and control. Corporations, Governments and even the web are all based on a centralized schema.
Mark, the author, also starts to riff on how it is not so hard to break the centralization of information, and one of the easier ways is to set up your own server. He writes about it much better so I will direct you read that post on his blog if you are interested. Just follow the link I made earlier.
I see a major, organic shift in society starting. I am not yet sure if it will be a huge, sudden shift or if it will take place over a long period of time but the change will come. Simply put, organization and control will shift from a centralized power structure will become more and more decentralized in the future. It may become more like a mesh network, or it may have another structure but ultimately its about the people, or nodes, taking on more responsibility for themselves and thus having more power.
Well, what exactly do I mean by that and what signs do I see that allow me to draw that conclusion?
For a somewhat long time, a little over 150 years, people on this earth have become increasingly more dependent on coal and oil as their source of energy. This lent itself easily to a centralized power schema, as sources of Oil and Coal were in discrete locations and if those locations were controlled then you could control the energy. If you control the Oil and Coal then you could, and often did, amass political power.
What is different now?
Well, there are a number of things that are either changing or are becoming apparent that is influencing a major change, and reasons why those changes are opposed. The first, and most obvious one, is that fossil fuels are a finite resource. It will eventually run out, so unless another finite resource with discrete locations is found and sold to the public the idea of central energy will rapidly decline. There are people attempting just that sort of thing, like those who support Natural Gas or Nuclear Power as alternatives. The way I see things is those sources will still exist but will never become prominent. What people are looking to more and more are Wind and Solar sources of power, not even bio fuels, geothermal or water/tides have gotten as much attention as those two sources. You would think that they would get roughly equal attention considering that they are all renewable resource fuels, but there is something that Solar and Wind allow people that the other sources of energy do not. They are the most decentralized sources of energy, just about every surface location on the earth has some mixture of Solar or Wind power radiating on or through it just waiting to be harnessed. The technology exists or will soon exist so that people will be able to harness this energy for themselves, and would only need a central power location for emergencies.
Another thing that is happening is that more and more people are beginning to understand that those in power are much more interested in keeping power than helping the average person thrive. The more people come to accept this the more people will take advantage of existing technologies and control themselves more.
Once power and information become decentralized, and people accept more responsibility for their own then you will see a distinct change in structure.
Imagine a world where people could have direct control of Corporations merely by being able to cut off their energy? If the primary source of energy are people with solar panels and/or windmills farming enough power to sustain their lifestyle plus enough to sell off to power other initiatives this could happen. Oh, there are plenty of ways this could not happen, but how awesome would it be if that happened?