jump to navigation

Non-hierarchical organizations

There are many prominent non-hierarchical organizations today. Some date back centuries, but most of them have only been around for less than two decades.Here are some examples: Linux kernel project, the Debian project, Al-Qaeda, the physics, mathematics and other research communities, the Jewish diamond cutting community, the Freemasons, the amateur astronomer community, the global network of financial markets, the global network of multinational corporations, and others. Members of these organizations cooperate for the advancement of their common goals not in a hierarchical fashion, but rather through a gradually emerging set of rules and conventions, without the need of a regulating authority. Cooperation is voluntary.

A great illustration of the mechanisms for the organization of such cooperating networks is the Constitution of the Debian project. Paragraph 2.1.1 of this constitution states that

Nothing in this constitution imposes an obligation on anyone to do work for the Project. A person who does not want to do a task which has been delegated or assigned to them does not need to do it. However, they must not actively work against these rules and decisions properly made under them.

This concise formulation is representative of most if not all of the organizations emerging in bottom up fashion through voluntary association, and which have started to challenge the two existing dominant ideologies, capitalism and socialism.

Order and cooperation in this new paradigm happen not in a hierarchic structure but rather in a more diffuse network structure. Such networks have existed for a long time, but today they are gaining a kind of prominence and popularity never before seen in the whole of human history.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: