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Networks, Social Evolution, and Power
How it all began ...
Start Your Idea Engines
The Web and the Long, "Soft" War
Interview with Ashraf Ghani, Clare Lockhart, and Lin Wells
Bill Coleman Presenting at HF

Networks, Social Evolution, and Power

By David Ronfeldt

Over the past few years, many of our conversations have examined power in transition. One of the most fascinating ideas came from David Ronfeldt, a RAND researcher and author whose life work has been on building a framework to understand the organizing forms of society:  Tribes, Institutions, Markets, and Networks, or TIMN.  Ronfeldt’s twenty years of research began to focus on the rise of the network as affecting society and the social frameworks of organization--his work represents a theory of social evolution of organizational forms.  We traveled to California to film an interview with him in which he describes the shifts from one form to another, the events that he sees taking place during those shifts, and how that relates to the events of 2011 and beyond. 

While Ronfeldt describes these forms of organization as having existed since human society began, he finds that they have matured at different rates because each form requires a new communications technology to achieve maximum utility. The network form is just now coming to prominence because of the digital revolution. Among the insights you will hear in the interview are: that each form's rise disturbs existing forms and causes the rewriting of social compacts; even when a new form arises, the forms tend to work together to solve problems; networks begin watching everything, as when top-down surveillance encounters bottom-up sousveillance; and networks' activities cause a rethinking of the balance of rights and responsibilities.

Please join us for a visit with social scientist David Ronfeldt.

© The Highlands Group Inc. 2011