Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Downfall Continues

The institutionally-structured world we have been conditioned to regard as essential to both our individual and social well-being, has been in a state of collapse for a number of decades. The unexpected end of the Soviet Union has been, perhaps, the most dramatic example of this centrifugation of authority. But the decentralization of social systems has also found expression in such areas as the education of children, alternative health care practices, and the development of technologies that place more decision making in the hands of individuals. The Internet now threatens the influence – if not the very existence – of the long-established “mainstream media.” Broadcast and print journalism – premised upon the top-down model in which an authoritative few communicate to the rest of mankind what it is in their interests to have others believe – now face a horizontal system in which hundreds of millions of people exchange information over tens of thousands of independent websites, such as the one you are now reading.