Actors Types For Conflict and Global Relations

Note: This is a revamps of an earlier post and is in preparation for a new post

All Global Actors are Networks (aka relationships sets) of humans:

SBN state-based network – states or super-state organizations

KBN Kin-based network – people driven by familiar or tribal ties

SEI super empowered individuals or networks of super empowered individuals

MBN meme-based network – people driven by shared beliefs such as religion, culture, political ideology)

GBN Gene-Based or Gene-Influenced Network (reference discussion)

PDN purpose-driven network – e.g. business enterprises, media outlets, NGOs, social entrepreneurial organization, charities, PMC/PSC/PIC


Mashups – The union of 2 or more actors of different types which I will note with the union operator e.g. MBNuSEI

Overlaps – The intersection of 2 or more actors of different types which I will note with the intersection operator e.g. MBNnSEI

Am I missing any fundamental type of actor here?

Gene-Based Networks?

Curtis of PhaticCommunion and Dreaming 5GW, teased out a term in post that was on human networks – gene-based networks and meme-gene-based network.

I don’t know what to make of it but it sound cool!

Here is what I thought:

Wow. Is this taking the Selfish Gene concept and crossing it with Network Science? Is a Gene-Based Network (GBN) a family or Kin-based network? Is a GBN below the level of human consciousness? What would the Global Brain guy think of this idea?

Anybody else want to take a stab at this idea?

Network Diagram of Purpleslog Blog


Here is the tool:

What do the colors mean?
blue: for links (the A tag)
red: for tables (TABLE, TR and TD tags)
green: for the DIV tag
violet: for images (the IMG tag)
yellow: for forms (FORM, INPUT, TEXTAREA, SELECT and OPTION tags)
orange: for linebreaks and blockquotes (BR, P, and BLOCKQUOTE tags)
black: the HTML tag, the root node
gray: all other tags

Spire’s Fundamental Law of Internet Dynamics

“Badness scales better than goodness”.


Ramification for Globalization/Connectivity Corollary? Discuss.

Lessons from Organizational Studies

The Organizations And Markets Blog has an interesting post on “What Do We Really Know About Organizations?

It seems like our understanding of the nature of organizations is very immature and ripe for interdisciplinary study aka horizontal thinking (e.g combined study of leadership, evolutionary psychology, sociology, anthropology network science, economics). More then half of the organization I have worked in are extremely dysfunctional (lots of waste, inefficiency and wasted human brainpower with high levels of disgruntled employees), so there has to be room for better practices.

Does anybody know of a good book summarizing the state of knowledge and the frontiers of current research in organizational studies? I am more interested in practical applications then pure academic curiosity.

My Conceptual Problems with Network Science

I am a computer guy..I come to computer networking from hands -on experimentation (no formal classes) and I seem to have problems generalizing to a network science. The specific instance of computer networks has warped my thinking to some extent.

I have tabled several network science related posts (especially meme-based networks) because just wasn’t sure they would make sense to other people.

I am trying to learn though. I have been avoiding the Social Network Related posts over at Phatic Communion because I fear they are over my head. I need to spend a weekend reading up on all this stuff and thinking it through.

Required Reading: Phatic Communion’s Revised OODA Series

Phatic Communion‘s series on the Revised OODA is required reading.

It extends and improves upon the OODA concept, has first coverage of EBO that makes sense, and ties it all nicely into the Generations of Modern Warfare framework.

I am still digesting the first three parts before going onto the rest.

Here is an archived version of one of Phatic Communion’s graphic (I put a copy on Flickr for blogging convenience):

Phatic Communion's Enhanced OODA - mapped to the Generations of Modern Warfare Theory categories

What is the Value of a Network?

IEEE Spectrum has a new article suggesting that Metcalfe’s Law (network value is approx a square of the number of nodes) is incorrect.

The article says:

We propose, instead, that the value of a network of size n grows in proportion to n log(n). Note that these laws are growth laws, which means they cannot predict the value of a network from its size alone. But if we already know its valuation at one particular size, we can estimate its value at any future size, all other factors being equal.


The fundamental flaw underlying both Metcalfe’s and Reed’s laws is in the assignment of equal value to all connections or all groups. The underlying problem with this assumption was pointed out a century and a half ago by Henry David Thoreau in relation to the very first large telecommunications network, then being built in the United States. In his famous book Walden (1854), he wrote: “We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.”

Well, that explains alot of problems with Internet business models.
It also explains why most social network web sites don’t do much for me. Maybe I am just getting old.

Update: Metcalfe responds to the IEEE article 

Coming Anarcy’s Neo-Medievalism, Ungoverned Spaces, PNM Theory, and Network Science

Coming Anarchy has an interesting PNM Theory related post entitled Neo-Medievalism II that used historical examples and the idea of ungoverned spaces:

The nexus thereof, ungoverned space, creates a network of internationally connected fiefdoms which engage in smuggling, trafficking, terrorism and other forms of organized crime. The Coming Anarchy meets Global Guerillas.

I think the idea of ungoverned spaces (or little mini-gaps) throughout the world is a better description of the world then the macro level old-core/new-core/gap description with standard PNM Theory.

Recently TDAXP published a series of articles testing how well the core/gap and other common geographic models describe the world based on: poverty, nastiness, shortness, brutality, and solitariness. The results were is bit surprising. Barnett oldcore-newcore-gap wasn't the best fit. One problem may have been that the geographic units used in the models are too large.

A better description of the world may be networks of mini-cores and mini-gaps that also have some inter-connectivity.

For instance China-as-new-core is too broad. Parts of China are old-core (Hong Kong), parts are new-core and parts are gap. The distinction between new-core nodes and old-core nodes is just how strongly they are connected to other core nodes. New-core nodes are not as strongly connected (they are still transitioning, and they have lots of connectivity with the mini-gap networks they are transitioning from).

None of this invalidates the prescriptive parts of PNM Theory – Shrinking the Gap ("The GAP" as a network on mini-gaps or ungoverned spaces) is still the goal.

The Core-networks/Gap-networks idea also transitions nicely to domestic applications of PNM theory. Lesson from Network Science could also be added to expanding PNM Theory.

Update: An earlier Coming Anarchy post on Ungoverned Spaces

Update: Related at Phatic Communion