Opinion | The New Power Structure – The New York Times

The New Power Structure

The concepts binding successful new social movements are clear, emotional and concrete.CreditTed S. Warren/Associated Press

Once upon a time, power was held in the hands of a small elite. This elite occupied the commanding heights of society and controlled big, top-down organizations. It dropped products and messages from on high, and the rest of us passively consumed them.

Then along came the internet. Suddenly, information was dispersed across self-organizing, open-source networks of citizens who had the ability to collaborate, share and shape their world. Hierarchies were smashed, the wisdom of crowd was applied and transparency reigned.

O.K. That didn’t really happen. The first dreams of the tech revolution didn’t come true. Sometimes it seems power was just redistributed from one set of massive organizations to others — Amazon, Facebook, Spotify.

But something has changed. We have seen an explosion of new social organisms that don’t look like the old ones: Airbnb, Etsy, Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, Blockchain. If power in the Greatest Generation looked like Organization Men running big institutions, and power for the boomers looked like mass movements organized by charismatic leaders like Steve Jobs and Barack Obama, power these days looks like decentralized networks in which everyone is a leader and there’s no dominating idol.

Ccontinues in source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/05/opinion/the-new-power-structure.html