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Axiom 6 - Gatekeepers, Intermediaries, and the Attention Deficit

The number of persons from whom any official can effectively receive messages in a given period is inversely related to the average length of the message (Downs 112).

A plentitude of information leads to a poverty of attention. Attention becomes the scarce resource, and those who can distinguish valuable signals from white noise gain power. Editors, filters, interpreters, and cue-givers become more in demand, and this is a source of power (Keohane and Nye, 89).

Technology encourages the proliferation of intermediaries. Everywhere networks go, intermediaries follow. The more nodes, the more middlemen. (Kelly, 99-100).

When information must be passed through many officials, each of whom condenses it somewhat before passing it soon to the next, the final output will be very different in quality from the original input; that is, significant distortion will occur (Downs 269).


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