Reprint from March 2003
Only The Agreement(s) Matter
From Britt Blaser’s Escapable Logic, a post titled “Only the Schema Matters” contains this:
“The reason the schema is the big deal is that it does for economics what all the Internet’s equipment does for electronic transmissions—enforce an agreement on how to play nice with each other. That’s a bracing thought: unlike anyone else, Xpertweb people are subject to an overarching economic agreement enforced by forms and scripts conforming to their agreement .”
The previous sets of agreements we had about how to govern, how to exchange value with each other – didn’t foresee the ‘Net.
Hierarchy was (and still is) the dominant form of structure, because there were no easy mechanisms (physical or social) to share a wide range of information.
Sure, you could whisper and gossip, but the main forms of distributing information favored the rich and powerful – and our laws have reinforced this.
In the ‘Net Age, our agreements will become our structures. It will be interesting to watch how the laws change to accommodate (or not) our behaviours.