ICT and the digital revolution are allies of matriarchy

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Surprisingly, we can find "matriarchist" sources of inspiration in the recent evolution of the information and communication technology (ICT) world. ICTs are the unexpected allies of a movement towards matriarchy, because in addition to offering incomparable tools that will certainly facilitate its implementation, they embody quite a few of its fundamental principles. Indeed, matriarchies are civilizations where sharing and altruism are ubiquitous vectors, two characteristics that the Internet also embodies eloquently.

Consensus decision making

Decisions taken by consensus are a fundamental element of matriarchies. And the rules of consensual decision-making, put forward nowadays by an organization like Wikipedia for example [1], make this form of conflict resolution eminently credible. Not to mention that the great popularity of "Open Source" software, which followed the wave launched by Linux, is a beautiful representation of donarism, matriarchies’ gift economy.

A new industrial revolution

This revolutionary wave catalyzed by ICTs and the internet is gradually spreading to other sectors of the economy. We are witnessing the emergence of a new industrial revolutione [2]. In line with what the software industry has been presenting over the last half-century, it is gradually bringing the manufacturing production organization closer to the communities.

The digital revolution (DR) is a paradigm that is emerging. One of the leaders of this vision is Jeremy Rifkin. He calls it the Third Industrial Revolution (TIR). According to this approach, the first two industrial revolutions saw the reorganization of our modes of production by taking heavily hierarchical models. These have allowed organizations to take advantage of advances in energy sources and communication tools.

Industrial revolutions are based on an energy sources and means of communication tandem

In the beginning, the first IR relied on coal and the steam engine, as well as on the printing press. We saw the emergence of multiple commercial and industrial enterprises of dimensions never seen before. Then the start of the second R.I. straddled the climax of the first, while oil and electricity quickly replaced coal as the main source of energy. At the same time, the telephone, followed by radio and television, came to speed up and magnify the possibilities of communication. International joint stock companies have emerged, further disrupting the organization of our societies.

Three industrial revolutions en.png

Now is the time for renewable local energies, digital communications and sharing networks

In recent decades, the advent of affordable computing tools has eventually led to the emergence of the open source software world, where collaboration and sharing are fundamental. In the same way, the arrival of digital manufacturing tools, and local production of energy at affordable prices, leads to the development of an Open Source Hardware world.

At the level of local energy production using solar collectors for example, the capacity of these in relation to their cost, seems to follow the same trends as we have experienced with computers. [3]. The "Fab Lab" initiative, a network of digitized, all-purpose, community-based manufacturing labs launched by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the late 1990s, is actually one of the most accurate representation of what the TRI forecasts [4].

The end of our society’s hierarchical organization

However, the emergence of this new industrial revolution is hampered by our society’s hierarchical organization [5]. On the one hand, wealth and means of production have gradually been concentrated in very large organizations controlled by a small group of people. On the other hand, this process has fragmented our community by individualizing and disseminating citizens as workers and consumers. Social relations between members of our communities are virtually non-existent today.

Large families’ networks

Instead, the digital revolution has to be able to count on a reliable network of access points, catalyzing local energy generation and manufacturing resources for the benefit of small, interconnected groups of people. By focusing on the interaction of large, strong and united matrilocal families, matriarchy will just restore this community dynamic that promotes links between citizens. This will enable our countries to become the world leaders of this new industrial revolution.

Next chapter: Donarism: The Gift and Sharing Economy
Previous chapter: Facing 3rd millennium challenges with matrilocal families


  1. « When there is no wide agreement, consensus-building involves adapting the proposal to bring in dissenters without losing those who accepted the initial proposal. »
    Wikipedia:Consensus (visited June 28th 2018)
  2. « The Third Industrial Revolution is the last of the great Industrial Revolutions and will lay the foundational infrastructure for an emerging collaborative age. The forty-year build-out of the TIR infrastructure will create hundreds of thousands of new businesses and hundreds of millions of new jobs. » (Introduction, p. 5)
    Jeremy Rifkin, The Third Industrial Revolution : How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy
    Macmillan, 2011.
  3. « Les courbes exponentielles dans la production d’énergie renouvelable mettent la communauté scientifique en effervescence. Dans un article publié en 2011, la revue Scientific American s’interroge : la loi de Moore s’applique-t-elle à l’énergie solaire ? Et, si oui, serait-il possible qu’un changement de paradigme soit déjà en cours dans le secteur de l’énergie, comparable à ce qui s’est passé en informatique ? La réponse est un oui sans réserves. »
    Jeremy Rifkin, La nouvelle société du coût marginal zéro
    Les Liens qui Libèrent, 2014
  4. « Ever since their first inception in 2002, Fab Labs equipped with digitally controlled machines and made available to ordinary people.» (p. 3)
    Peter Troxler, Making the 3rd Industrial Revolution
  5. « To successfully develop the digital manufacturing ecosystem beyond a mere collection of individual tinkerers, a common understanding is needed of how such an ecosystem would function. Such a common understanding could build on a suitable theory. However, canonical knowledge in business administration, industrial engineering and organization science on ‘how to run a factory’ and the collective wisdom of practitioners and consultants alike will only tell us the old story of hierarchies. Their imagery of the centralized, rationalized bureaucracy is increasingly unable to capture the empirical world’ (Clemens 2005 : 352), and insight has to be found outside those disciplines. Indeed, there is a substantial body of knowledge about collective action, self-organization and inverse infrastructures, and about peer-production and governing the commons. One has to turn to organisation science, social movement theory and ethnography to learn about and understand communities and polycentric systems. » (p. 7-8)
    Peter Troxler, Making the 3rd Industrial Revolution