Scripting News: "We talked about decentralization and followed where it led. The end of monoculture. Everything points to it. Why? Distribution of culture used to be expensive, decentralization (ie the Internet) has made it virtually free, esp when done on a small scale."
Dave hits the nail on the head. Decentralization is the theme of “Supernova” because it’s such a fundamental driver of the important social, economic, and technological changes we’re going through.
Like any epochal change, the details get more nuanced, and thus more interesting, the more you consider them. In this case, it’s true that decentralization and cheap global distribution of information breaks down monocultures, but it can also overwhelm local cultures that were protected by their isolation. Satellite distribution lowered the cost of beaming US movies and TV everywhere, thus creating a dominant US media.
It cuts both ways. As distribution has gotten even cheaper, the same trends have allowed Japanese cultural artifaces such as Pokemon to dominate America. The Net gives local and independent content creators the ability to compete against the domainant corporate media, not by building walls but by leveling the playing field. And just around the corner is the greater leveler of all: ubiquitous unlicensed wireless communications.