toward a network society

Our current triform society is based on families/communities, a public sector, and a private market sector. But this form, dominated by Markets is unable to deal with the complexities we face globally — climate change, pollution, populism/fanaticism, nuclear war, etc. A quadriform society would be primarily guided by the Network form of organizing. We are making some advances in that area but we still have challenges getting beyond nation states and financial markets.

The “quadriformist choice” is what we are seeing with the actions of Greta Thunberg, a sixteen year-old leading a global movement of students to take action on climate change. Many of the young inherently understand what makes a network society.

“Thus we find ourselves in a transitional moment, peering Janus-like in two directions, facing two choices: One is to persist with the triform system we know — the legacy of the past. The other is to head deliberately toward a quadriform transformation — the promise of the future. It’s a perplexing choice, fraught with uncertainties. I shall argue for the quadriformist choice.” —David Ronfeldt

Our old ways and structures are inadequate for the world today. We cannot make any place ‘great again’. We have to create something new — we need universal mothers more than we need authoritarian fathers.

“The triform model has depended on the evolution of three sectors — an informal base sector of families, communities, and other kinship associations (from T), plus a public sector (from +I) and a private sector (from +M) — and for many past decades these three sectors have thrived and worked fairly well together. But today all three sectors are in faltering if not failing shape: families and communities are in distress and disarray all across America, while our public and private sectors are failing to work well together. Both of the latter two have extreme proponents who seek to overemphasize one or the other sector, in expansive ways that ultimately distort and confound the capabilities of the triform model.” —David Ronfeldt

We need to promote cooperative leadership and embrace diversity to harness the power of human networks. The key to our transformation to a quadriform society is — citizen sensemaking.

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