Friday, November 16, 2012

Bryant is right, and wrong, on networks

Bryant's post on networks was disheartening. He notes 3 types of network: centralized, decentralized and distributed. He rightly criticizes centralized version as transcendent. But then he wrongly criticizes distributed networks as communist anarchy, a leveling where everything is equivalent. He instead promotes decentralized networks that maintain hubs, gravitational regimes of attraction through which other nodes in the network must pass. He rightly notes that one such immense hub is fossil fuels, required to build anything.

So far so good, except this is what Rifkin means by a distributed network. There will still be electric companies as hubs but their function will change to more of a being a service provider and less of being a power provider, given the nature of the smart grid. And the node of fossil fuels will not immediately be eliminated but there will be competing hubs in the renewable energy sector, thus diminishing oil's dominant hub. And depending on governmental hubs and which policies are enacted, this will determine to what degree and on what timetable this transition occurs.

Rifkin notes this is a process of democratizing the economy, making it distributed capitalism, where a major regime of attraction, energy, is put more directly in the hands of the people when they can generate their own electricity. Yes, this form of democracy still requires the hubs of representatives in government, managers in offices, and energy companies as hubs that monitor and distribute the energy created by individuals. There are still hubs in the network but those hubs are transformed into more equitable hubs intent on fair distribution instead of unfair accumulation at the top 1%. One would think Rifkin would be an exemplar for Bryant's democracy of objects, instead of apparently some form of "anarcho-communist fantasy." Tell that to the EU, which is implementing this fantasy into a reality as we speak.

Note: A search of Bryant's blog for Rifkin reveals zero hits. So I'm not saying he directly criticizes Rifkin but rather apparently the type of distributed networking he promotes. He can prove me wrong if he so chooses.

1 comment:

  1. Lest one responds that this P2P collectivism plays into the green meme notion of pluralistic relativism, and/or the SDi notion of alternating individual/collective memes in the 1st tier, keep in mind the concrete enactment of nodes in a network. Rifkin's P2P network empowers individuals in ways heretofore unimaginable by giving them the capacity to generate their own energy needs at home while being connected to the world via a smartgrid. This narrative sustainably balances the individual nodes with the more influential hyperobjective nodes, and with the network as a whole. That is in kennilingus, it goes 2nd-tier in an individual-collective and well as internal-external manner. Or in ontocologese, the individual machine maintains its own autopoeisis in balance with other machines and the larger environment.

    And not coincidentally, the environment is healed through renewable energy generation via the type of empathic (spiritual) consciousness inherent to this meme. This is the kind of secular spirituality I can get behind, the saectum saectorum.


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