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Hierarchies

Hierarchies

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Published by: virtualjustino on Oct 07, 2011
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06/10/2012

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 Why Self-Organized Networks Will Destroy Hierarchies
Kevin Carson, Center for a Stateless Society
http://c4ss.org/content/4247Hierarchies are systematically stupid and inefcient, for the following reasons.
1. Hayekian information problems
: The people in authority who make therules interfere with the people who know how to do the job and are in directcontact with the situation. The people who make the rules know nothing aboutthe work they’re interfering with. The people who make the rules are unac-countable to the people who do know how to do the work. Consequently, allauthority-based rules create suboptimal results and irrationality when they inter-fere with the judgment of those in direct contact with the situation.People in authority make stupid decisions because the people who know morethan they do are their subordinates, and the only people who can hold them ac-countable know even less than they do.The only way the people doing the work can get anything done is to treat ir-rational authority as an obstacle to be routed around, the same way the Internettreats censorship as damage and routes around it.
2. Groupthink 
: Hierarchies systematically suppress negative feedback on theresults of their policies. As R.A. Wilson said, nobody tells the truth to a manwith a gun. Hierarchies are very good at telling naked emperors how good their clothes look.Hierarchies also systematically suppress critical thinking ability in their mem- bers. Psychological studies have found that people in positions of authority become less likely to evaluate communications based on their internal logic, andinstead evaluate them based on the authority of the source.
3. Opacity from above
: A major theme of “Seeing Like a State,” by JamesScott, is that states try to make populations “legible” from above, and hencemore amenable to control. We might add a “seeing like a boss” corrollary aboutthe analogous phenomenon inside hierarchies. The problem is that such legibil-ity is very costly, if not impossible, to achieve.Hospitals are a good example. Most of the paperwork that nurses are requiredto ll out results from the fact that management doesn’t trust them to do what
 Why Self-Organized Networks Will Destroy Hierarchies
Kevin Carson, Center for a Stateless Society
http://c4ss.org/content/4247Hierarchies are systematically stupid and inefcient, for the following reasons.
1. Hayekian information problems
: The people in authority who make therules interfere with the people who know how to do the job and are in directcontact with the situation. The people who make the rules know nothing aboutthe work they’re interfering with. The people who make the rules are unac-countable to the people who do know how to do the work. Consequently, allauthority-based rules create suboptimal results and irrationality when they inter-fere with the judgment of those in direct contact with the situation.People in authority make stupid decisions because the people who know morethan they do are their subordinates, and the only people who can hold them ac-countable know even less than they do.The only way the people doing the work can get anything done is to treat ir-rational authority as an obstacle to be routed around, the same way the Internettreats censorship as damage and routes around it.
2. Groupthink 
: Hierarchies systematically suppress negative feedback on theresults of their policies. As R.A. Wilson said, nobody tells the truth to a manwith a gun. Hierarchies are very good at telling naked emperors how good their clothes look.Hierarchies also systematically suppress critical thinking ability in their mem- bers. Psychological studies have found that people in positions of authority become less likely to evaluate communications based on their internal logic, andinstead evaluate them based on the authority of the source.
3. Opacity from above
: A major theme of “Seeing Like a State,” by JamesScott, is that states try to make populations “legible” from above, and hencemore amenable to control. We might add a “seeing like a boss” corrollary aboutthe analogous phenomenon inside hierarchies. The problem is that such legibil-ity is very costly, if not impossible, to achieve.Hospitals are a good example. Most of the paperwork that nurses are requiredto ll out results from the fact that management doesn’t trust them to do what

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