From Hierarchy to Web

Meditations on Structure

These are notes I made in 1995 while preparing a talk for an internal audience at ICL Winnersh. I must have intended to write the talk in HTML, but I didn't have much time so I settled for knocking up a PowerPoint presentation. About a year later I decided to convert the talk into HTML and the result can be found in: From Hierarchy to Web. The main reason for doing the conversion was just to try out a new format for Web presentation without having to think much about the content. I hope to return to the topic.

In a variety of different ways there seems at present to be a continuing trend away from hierarchical structures toward web-like structures. This page heads material considering this as an economic phenomenon, elsewhere we expect to consider it from a political viewpoint.

The political and the economic are in some cases inextricably linked, and this is likely to become more conspicuous in time. The most startling recent evidence of this is the collapse of the Soviet command economy, brought down by mere inefficiency. Transition from command structure to free market economy is for the Soviets a long and traumatic experience which offers little evidence as yet of economic benefit.

Another startling phenomenon is the explosion of the World Wide Web, demonstrating the extroadinary dynamics which mature Webs (in this case, the internet) can muster, while as yet not an economic Web in the sense which concerns us here.

UP HOME © rbj created 95/6/16 modified 97/1/21