MAJOR ISSUE: "Concentration of power"

Harald Tveit Alvestrand harald at
Fri Jun 20 11:17:30 CEST 2003

--On torsdag, juni 19, 2003 20:50:58 -0400 Scott W Brim <swb at> 

> On Fri, Jun 20, 2003 09:26:17AM +0900, avri allegedly wrote:
>> My perception, so far, has been that those within the trust networks
>> see them as trust networks, while those who are not in trust
>> networks tend to see them as a class, for some definition of class.
>> My perception may be wrong,  and that is why I am asking for more
>> people to speak on this theme.
>> Also it is possible, that it is just a semantic issue, and that 'trust
>> network'  is a gentler more acceptable term then 'class'.
> "class" is intentionally polarizing, fissiparous rhetoric.  What's the
> real problem?  What are the qualities that distinguish the classes?  If
> it's trust, then say trust.  In any case, get to the distinction, skip
> the labeling.

"fissiparous" required a trip to for me :-)
for other people with a similarly limited vocabulary, here's the definition 
from the American Heritage Dictionary:

1) Reproducing by biological fission.
2) Tending to break up into parts or break away from a main body; factious.

"Trust networks" may be the wrong term too; while I don't trust Dave 
Crocker's proposals for action that much (I disagree with him too often!), 
I do trust him to care about many of the same things I do - and we do have 
a long history together. So he's part of my "network" in a way that many 
others aren't - but calling it a "trust network" may be simplistic.
(apologies for using you as a named example again, Dave!)

The reason why I think terminology matters is that it biases the solution 

If the problem is called "class", the likely-to-be-proposed solution is 
"break the class boundary" - such as by forcibly injecting members of one 
"class" into the other, or by removing one "class" en block from power (a 
la China's "cultural revolution").
If the problem is called "network", the likely-to-be-proposed solutions 
involve finding ways to extend the networks, lessen the reliance on the 
networks, or to formalize the networks so that they can be more visible and 
easier to control.

Short version: I think we should keep "network" and throw away "class"; I'm 
not sure about "trust", but "trust" is definitely somewhere in problem 


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