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#AxisOfEasy started out as a weekly technology briefing for clients of easyDNS, a managed DNS provider, domain registrar and web services company based in Toronto, Canada.

It tended to focus on all matters: privacy, security, censorship, surveillance and free speech. It seems to have hit a nerve, the customers loved it, and as time went on we decided to spin it out as a standalone property.

Something is afoot...

 

When Jesse talks about The Power is at The Periphery he is tapping into the impetus toward decentralization, distributed networks and amorphous, ever-shifting organizational structures.

It goes by many names but they are all emerging in response to the recognition that the incumbent institutions of a prior era will not accomplish their stated missions or appointed tasks in the next. In fact, they may actually impede them. These sclerotic and decaying institutions range from irrelevant and dysfunctional to full blown malevolence and toxicity. Charles groups these institutions under the umbrella of The Saviour State.

In response to this, whether these new structures may think of themselves as networks, or cells, or packs; a common attribute to most of these initiatives is a phrase called "Umveg". From the Austrian school of economics, Umveg means achieving strategic or positional advantage via roundabout or indirect means. It's asymmetric competition, across all theatres.

When Charles, Jesse and I had our inaugural meeting we felt that Jesse's Power is at the Periphery rubric captured our own concept of this:

 

Mark E. Jeftovic
Mark E. Jeftovic
Jesse Hirsh
Jesse Hirsh
Charles Hugh Smith
Charles Hugh Smith

The Power is at the Periphery!

 

Making this claim acknowledges both the power of networks, as well as the networked nature of our current society. Where power once resided in the centre, it now floats above the network, around the network, or it is the network itself.

 

One of the obvious yet also subtle characteristics of networks is that they do not have a centre. There may be clusters that are more central than others, but a healthy network has multiple levels of redundancy and connection that negates any centre from forming.

 

As a result, the periphery may afford a better perspective, an opportunity to see the network as a whole, or at least at a scale that allows for strategic engagement. The periphery may also offer an opportunity for critical distance, a place to find refuge from the strong currents present deeper in the network itself. The periphery may also afford greater flexibility when it comes to connecting and being part of the network without being subsumed by it. The periphery is also an acknowledgement of where we are, and always be, as users, on the edge of the network.

 

The language of power, periphery, and core, are remnants of colonial and imperial structures. When power was centralized, expansive, and extractive. The belief, or arrogance of that period, was that the core was all that mattered, and the periphery could be ignored.

 

Nation states are still based on this concept. With power and wealth often concentrated around capitals and urban environments driving economic growth. However networked states are now emerging, and networked environments are starting to replace urban environments as the drivers of economic prosperity.

 

Not only can the periphery not be ignored, it’s where the action is! That’s why Twitter has become the agenda setting media and the news of record. The voices of the periphery far outnumber the officials hunkered down in centres. We spent a decade or two trying to ignore the comments, but now the comments are the main attraction.

 

We are currently ruled by a cadre of helpless consumers who cannot conceive that participatory or distributed methods might be a more effective means of managing society. The consumer mentality is a tragic example of the dependency that centralization fosters. Seduced by convenience and subsumed by ignorance.

 

In suggesting that power is at the periphery, we should not wait for the centre, we should not wait for the core, but rather leverage distributed tools to build our own future.