Friday, November 16, 2007

todays word and idea: Xerocracy

Xerocracy (pronounced zee-ROK-ruh-see, in IPA [ziˈɹokɹɘsiː]) is the idea of "rule through photocopying". It is a form of anarchic organization.

The word was coined to describe the organizational principle of Critical Mass, and it is used almost exclusively within that context. The word is intended to combine the ideas of freedom from bureaucracy and freedom to photocopy. Unlike a hierarchical organization, nobody is in charge structurally because everyone is free to make photocopies of their ideas and pass them around.

In such a system, the power to rule defaults to those who have chosen to photocopy their ideas. This power is proportionate to the number of individuals who receive the originator's photocopy and choose it over any other photocopies that they may have received.

The goals of a xerocratic group are not set by a few individuals in charge but are broadly defined by its members. Each person in the group is free to invent his or her own reasons for participating and is free to share those reasons with others. The degree to which an individual's ideas are shared by the group as a whole is dependent on the number of copies of the idea that are distributed, the effectiveness of the distribution of the copies, and the adoption of the ideas contained therein - either over or in addition to other ideas being distributed within the group.

The lack of an identifiable leadership may be itself a desirable trait for an organization. The ability to make anonymous, clandestine photocopies also makes it difficult for law enforcement to identify and punish organizers, since the "leadership" may be hard to trace and may change over time.


clintpatty said...

I'm gonna make some totally sweet obey all traffic laws flyers.

Anonymous said...

clint your so safe your dangerous