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August 10, 2004

Chapter 6. Two ways to emerge, and how to tell the difference between them

6. Two ways to emerge, and how to tell the difference between them by Steven Johnson

Posted by Jon Lebkowsky at August 10, 2004 8:41 PM


I had just finished Trippi's book when I read this chapter. You provide some very valuable insights for reflecting upon his somewhat self-serving, though very illuminating, narrative. Several things stand out for me. There is a big difference between winning a political contest and governing. Trippi is a scrapper. His self-admitted specialty is underdogs. I find his idealism to be inspiring, and in fact, I found his book to be one of the most inspiring (and constructively disturbing) books I've ever read. Trippi's model is inherently competitive. The left needs a lot more warriors like Trippi, but as you argue in this chapter, there is a lot more to creating a sustainable model for participatory politics than whipping up the crowd. I think another book that needs to be included in this discussion is "The Wisdom of the Crowd." While that book does not finally succeed in describing how to create mechanisms by which individual choices aggregate (largely due to the way it defaults to a sort of soft adherence to the efficient market hypothesis), it frames very nicely the issues involved in what you call coping and provides very helpful language for the discussion.

Posted by: john gibbs at August 18, 2004 11:42 AM

It seems to me that what you are calling "clustering" emergence may actually be small-world network formation. See this post for a more detailed argument:


Posted by: Michael Feldstein at August 20, 2004 6:32 PM

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