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The Information Age

The Information Age

July 28th, 2012 // 7:02 pm @

My friend Allen Levie sent me a note in response to an article I wrote about the move from internationalism to globalism, and suggested that the most effective solutions ahead in the new century would be : 1) less institution-based, 2) interdisciplinary, and 3) structured through personal relations rather than geographic settings.

I think he is right, and his note got me thinking.

Numbers 1 and 3 may seem like the same thing, but 1 is really a re-write of the old institutionally-biased perspective that organizations are necessary to solve serious challenges, while 3 embraces long-distance relationships and virtual communities now available in the information age rather than being tied to local and geographical constrictions.

This is revolutionary, and I think he put his finger on 3 of the top developments ahead.

He also suggested that perhaps our current sovereignty and currency problems are the consequence of two generations of decreasing entrepreneurial leadership.

I agree, and I think that getting sovereignty and currency right is even more important in a post-institutional /post-geographical world ahead.

But, as he suggested, the solutions to our currency and sovereignty challenges will only come from interdisciplinary — not just specialized — thinking.

The expert modus operandi is to fit in, to work within past parameters of success, while the interdisciplinary/entrepreneurial m/o is to innovate and push the envelope.

Certainly there can be overlap between these two categories, and experts pushing for innovation are actually on the entrepreneurial side.

These three traits are the beginning of an outline of the emerging Information age.

A fourth model that I think will be central to this is the rise of new tribes.

In other words, interdisciplinary thinking, non-institutional solutions, and personal relationships can present as widespread individualism or as networks of inter-meshed communities: the individual string or the lattice.

I think the lattice is more likely and also preferable.

If this all sounds abstract, any talk of the future must move beyond what we already know. But these ideas make a lot of sense:


  • interdisciplinary thinking rather reliance on over-specialization


  • personal and private (rather than mostly institutional and government) solutions to major problems


  • online and interest-based communities rather than neighborhoods as the focus of community life


  •  networks of people working together on various projects, some as business enterprises and others with charitable or other social agendas


Finally, a fifth trait of the coming era is a new style of leadership, based more on providing information and sharing meaning than on directing others through hierarchy and authority — thought leaders, rather than managers.

Note that the key to this new leadership is the ability to make information, ideas, systems and solutions more simple, rather than the industrial age/managerial penchant for complexity which dominated the last sixty years.

Put all five together and a framework for a developing information age starts to take shape.

The focus needs to be on the following:


  • Smaller, not bigger


  • More participative, less controlled from the top


  • Better, not bigger


When thinkers like Alvin Toffler, Ken Wilber or Ray Kurzweil have suggested significant changes ahead, they have been criticized in terms like idealist, pseudo-science, and unscholarly.

But the same was said of most of the great promoters of progress in human history.

The old way of seeing things is always in power, but the new, innovative, creative and inventive always sway the future.

Note that the technology of our age could be used to promote “Better, Not Bigger” or its opposite, “Bigger, Not Better.”

The decade just ahead may well be a continuing series of battles between these two visions of the future.


Category : Blog

4 Comments → “The Information Age”

  1. Keith

    11 years ago

    The greater the collapse, corruption and abuse of power, the greater the need for honest leadership willing to reveal the truth. Here it is. We are facing fiat controls the likes of which this world has never seen.

    1. Create a fiat tax (carbon tax) to replace an intrinsic tax (property tax). This is the control of wealth through a centrally collected fiat tax.
    2. Control the intrinsic value of minerals and other commodities by buying current and future reserves without taking possession—speculating upon the future is fiat control of the future.
    3. Removing the control of the money supply from the government or from the people into the hands of a private cartel. The intrinsic value of money becomes fiat money.
    4. The cause of all trade of a specific commodity to be traded with only one currency (the petro dollar). Trading becomes fiat trade and not a true market trade.
    5. Moving the world to one single currency. This destroys the intrinsic value of each nation and puts total fiat control into the hands of the money changers.
    6. The movement of private debt onto the books of another nation and calling it an investment. When that investment collapses, the nation is burdened with the loss and then takes out a loan from central banks to operate. When they default on the loan to pay a debt they never incurred, this is fiat control via fiat austerity.

    We could go on and on, such as naked short selling, high speed frequency trading, pump and dump schemes, but this is not the real story. While the American media pumps up the leaders least aware and least informed of all these fiat controls, we need leadership in media to combat what is now controlled fiat opposition to a free market of ideas, meaning we need new media models that truly regenerate the fourth rail of politics again. This will give the breathing room for truly great leadership in commerce, government and community. And we need it fast in this country in the same way the printed media moved the agenda many years ago.

    RT.com is now the largest media outlet in the world and it was created by Russia to combat the media propaganda in the states. China is doing the same. Not only is China bartering with Iran (refineries for oil), they too are looking to start their own media to combat what has been the fiat control of media in the United States. A new free market of media information is the battle new ground, and believe it or not, it is replacing conventional war. Just look at the issues with SOPA? Every attempt at getting fiat control of the media is being applied in the name of protecting copyrights.

    More importantly, the dollar as the world’s fiat reserve currency is dying and nations are rising up against nations not in actual combat but in actual independence. Look to Brazil and Iceland as examples, and maybe the PIGS and BRICKS will catch on. When Hillary Clinton recently noted that “We are in an information war and we are losing the war,” she is correct. Central control of the media and currency in the states is losing control.

    In short, what is coming alive is a fragment of the oral traditions recreated online. People are finding ways to communicate and get informed. As for the above analysis, it sounds far too academic to me. I follow it, I agree with it, and I can talk the same jargon, but in truth it does not show any boots on the ground.

  2. Ammon Nelson

    11 years ago

    I agree that the necessary change needs to include interest and relationship based communities, however it is also important to include neighborhood based communities in this revolution. A local neighborhood has by its very nature common interests. They have at least the common interest of direct interpersonal interaction, which is an essential part of healthy human interaction. If the local neighborhood based community is an essential part of supporting the family as the fundamental unit of society, and an extension of the culture which engenders grandparent-ing, aunt-ing, and uncle-ing as essential ingredients to raising children who have a solid core, a healthy love of learning. and a true scholar phase to propel them into a depth phase to prepare them for their mission and to have impact in the world.
    You cannot do that without a strong neighborhood community, having your community based online and/or insulated only to people who have similar interests. This, to me, seems counter-intuitive to the idea of a liberal arts education.
    An in-person conversation has so much more to teach us about human interaction than the physically and emotionally insulated online discussion. Learning to communicate your ideas and deliver an invitation to participate with the community with the person down the street requires a depth of human understanding that cannot be attained through preaching to the choir of people who share your interests.
    I don’t intend to discount the importance of online and interest based communities. They are definitely essential and the information age makes it possible to communicate with a larger circle of people, and with those who share interests and can cooperate to promote that common interest.
    However, there is no substitute for in-person interaction with people who are your geographic neighbors.

  3. Oliver DeMille

    11 years ago

    Ammon, I agree entirely. I also think that while virtual communities cannot substitute for local community, they have a positive place. ~Oliver

  4. Ammon Nelson

    11 years ago

    No argument from me. I was responding to the idea presented in the article of “online and interest-based communities rather than neighborhoods as the focus of community life”

    I don’t think there should be a “rather than.” Online and interest-based communities must not replace our geographic neighbors as the focus of our community life. Both should supplement and enhance the other, but the priority should be on the face to face relationships, not on the less personal and detached, and thus more emotionally safe online and interest-based communities.

    I can become friends with and get to know on an online community that is based on a common interest, people from around the world, but if I do that “rather than” get to know my next door neighbor and the people down the street, I have missed something vital.

    Virtual communities are a positive development that have the potential for increasing our ability to interact in a healthy way. They also have the potential for replacing and deteriorating the personal face to face relationship skills that are so important for family and neighborhoods.

    The internet and facebook have allowed me to be in contact with people that, in eras past, would be extremely difficult, if not impossible to remain in contact with. I am very greatful for this technology and the value it provides. However, it has also posed a new threat to my interaction with my family. It gives me one more thing to draw my attention while I am at home, when I should be spending time with my family.

    The key to interdisciplinary thinking is that we don’t throw out what is valuable from either old or new technology, but that we set priorities whatever technology we choose to use, and dedicate our allegience to what is truly right and good.

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