Saturday, October 20, 2007

Only Human

While there is much to be said for studying the usefulness of the network form in confronting corrupt institutions, it is good to keep in mind that networks are only as good or effective as the people who comprise them. A good example of this premise is when the Public Good network collaborated with the CWIS network to expose a transnational criminal network involved in trafficking women for prostitution.

David Ronfeldt's proposition is that networks are -- like tribes, institutions, and markets -- a basic form of human organization. In theory, any of these forms can be either democratic or anti-democratic. In practice, some may be structurally more conducive to egalitarian relationships, but no form is inherently immune to corrupting influences; that requires effective exercising of principles of equality.

In other words, laziness, cowardice, or depravity can undermine any human organization -- no matter how pious its rhetoric.

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