What If Life Didn't Suck?

// Given at WI?02013 on Mar 2, 2013

Woven through history is a contest between two forms of society: networks, and institutions. For the first 95% of human history, all human societies were structured in informal networks, held together by social ties of reciprocity and reputation. With the end of the paleolithic period 10,000 years ago, human societies became more complex, and institutions began to rise. Over the course of the next millennia, they gradually gained the upper hand, until today almost all societies are governed by hierarchical institutions, be they government or corporations. Over the past few decades we have seen a resurgence of networks as a means of social organization, driven largely by non-institutional forms of communication (read: cell phones and the Internet.) This talk explores what this means, and what this could mean, for where we go next.

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Bjorn Cooley


If Bjorn's life had a tagline, it would likely be Blessed Unrest. Originally from Oregon, he migrated East to get his undergraduate degree at Yale, where he studied economic history and anarchy. After graduation he moved South to DC, where his day job is working on international development. The rest of his time goes to launching social impact ventures, doing his best to think radically about better versions of society, and building a tribe of idealists out to make a ruckus. Stuff from his head gets posted on somethingbjornsaid.com.

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