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[ih] protocol structure -> economic structure

I think the tussle space concept is an attempt to move the inevitable 
conflicts that occur within and around networks and the enterprises they 
spawn and facilitate into well-defined arenas rather than an attempt to 
define conflicts out of existence. The idea that architecture determines 
economic structure remains an unproved conjecture, made especially 
vexing by the refusal of parties to stick to one and only one layer of 
the OSI model. Comcast buys NBC Universal and whole thing melts down.

There is a similar hope that specific network architectures have some 
influence on the political structure of societies in which they're 
deployed, naively put as the belief that the Internet is a "democracy 
machine." I suppose the corollaries would be that the PSTN is a fascism 
machine or that the telegraph network was an imperialism machine.

Believers in the "democracy machine" doctrine tout of the role of 
network-based systems in organizing the Arab Spring and the Rose and 
Orange Revolutions before it. These notions don't fare so well when we 
look at the election outcomes in Egypt that followed the uprising. Far 
right religious-based parties took something like 75% of the vote, and 
the status quo is that the unelected military is the most progressive 
force in Egyptian society. Gulp. The Rose and Orange uprisings went the 
same way, serving preludes to more organized repression and surveillance.

Can we trick people in developing countries into adopting the values of 
Western liberal democracies by providing them with e-mail, Facebook, and 
Twitter accounts? It doesn't look all that promising at this point, but 
the battle continues.


On 3/2/2012 12:42 PM, Craig Partridge wrote:
>> There's an idea that the structure of a protocol (or the topology implied
>> by the protocol or that emerges from it) determines the economic structure
>> of the service providers and users of that protocol. Sadly I can't now
>> remember where I got this idea from.
>> Does anyone here have pointers to literature mentioning or describing this
>> idea? Is anyone acknowledged as its originator? Does it have a snappy name?
> Dave Clark has been giving speeches for about a decade on this issue.
> He has a 2002 paper entitled "Tussle in Cyberspace" and the term
> "tussle space" has some traction for discussions about the implications
> of particular protocol designs.
> Craig

Richard Bennett