Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wikipedia study; maybe anarchy devolves naturally into oligarchy

"One of their most striking findings is that, even on Wikipedia, the so-called 'Iron Law of Oligarchy'—a.k.a. rule by an elite few—holds sway. German sociologist Robert Michels coined the phrase in 1911, while studying Italian political parties, and it led him to conclude that democracy was doomed. 'He ended up working for Mussolini,' said DeDeo, who naturally learned about Michels via Wikipedia.
'You start with a decentralized democratic system, but over time you get the emergence of a leadership class with privileged access to information and social networks,' DeDeo explained. 'Their interests begin to diverge from the rest of the group. They no longer have the same needs and goals. So not only do they come to gain the most power within the system, but they may use it in ways that conflict with the needs of everybody else.'”

I haven't read the actual research article yet.  But this would be sad if true.  This "iron law of oligarchy" is new to me and bums me out.  But I think a way around it at times is to set a simple goal, and once the goal is achieved, disband.