Sunday, June 1

If there's one thing we've learned from the internet...it's this: distributed systems work. In any sort of goods or services production, we're always trying to achieve economies of scale--ever since Henry Ford taught us that lesson. But economies of scale can blaze a trail of destruction in their wake, because they have such massive levels of inputs (often natural resources) and outputs (what is produced PLUS whatever the waste product may be). Distributed systems have small point inputs and outputs of whatever they're producing-distributing-using, and aren't as destructive. I'm speaking in the most general terms possible here--it doesn't matter what the distributed system is "carrying".

Back to our example. The internet, and similarly P2P networks, rely on small scale, interconnected, redundant "pieces" to achieve their power. We should have learned by now that the network, not the central plant, is the key to our future. Actually, I believe we have already learned this lesson (nature of course taught us first), but there is much in this world that is highly dependent on the old ways of thinking, and fearful of losing economies of scale (because what would we do then?), so it will take a long time for things to change.

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