Daniel Lapin in his book Thou Shall Prosper: The Ten Commandments of Making Money uncovers a surprising connection between the Cain and Abel biblical narrative and the power of networks.
In the narrative, Cain’s murder of Able led to a two-part curse. The first part rendered the land he was to work to survive unproductive, bad enough; however, the second was more commensurate to Cain’s fratricidal actions in that it essentially removed his ability to take advantage of the power networks by a quarter. No small issue, as Lapin put it ” it is axiomatic that when God punishes people, the punishment always fits the crime with Divine precision.” It’s self-evident that there is only power in communication (bandwidth) if there are people on the other side of the line, removing those people, a quarter of existing humanity in Cain’s case, negatively impacting the scaling up and out of the human domain simultaneously.
Human domain scaling, like many other types of domain scaling, depends on communications power and is a pre-requisite for wealth and productivity from economies to the species that create them. Tom DeGarmo, Principle Technology Leader at PWC cites Dr. Geoffrey West and his colleagues at the Santa Fe Institute which convincingly argue that when a city domain, for example, doubles in size many measures of economic activity, such as construction spending, wealth, patents, and bank deposits increase by 15 percent per capita. In other words, cities become more productive as they grow. It’s what West calls super-linear scaling.
DeGarmo and West lay this at the feet of the power of networks. The power of networks produces the super-linear scaling phenomena, which in turn exponentially improves the power of communication and subsequently, the creation of wealth. Bringing this point home, Lapin concludes that eventually Cain learned from his mistake, his wife bore him a son called Enoch, and immediately Cain began building his legacy to his son in the form of the ultimate incarnation of the power of networks. He built a city!
Cain learned the true source of wealth. What Andy Kessler called the edge of the network-people.
Jaime Porras is a professional technologist helping customers leverage technology to achieve value-based business results. You can contact him via his Twitter handle @ja1meporras