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In which we see the liberation of information from the tripartite elite.

Initially after the fall of Rome, people governed themselves locally in much the same way as they had before its fall. The church, the lord of the manor and his retainers were like the tripartite elite writ small. The few cities that retained prominence did so because they were the seat of a Bishop.

As the former Roman Empire became more and more ‘barbarian’ and more and more local, literacy declined amongst the elite classes, the use of money declined in favor of barter, and payment in goods and labor and by the eighth century there was little trace of Rome.

Only the church retained its administrative structure and its control over information. The Church had a monopoly on religion, the right of direct taxation – the tithe, and a monopoly on literacy and learning. It did not need the support of any of the petty rulers or of the military.

This set up a new condition where the wealth of the common people benefited the Church. It began to teach that labor was a form of worship and mechanical innovation to save labor, and increase wealth, was good because then more good could be done in the world through larger contributions to the Church.

Before 800 CE labor was still depicted as a burden but over time it became worship fostered by St. Benedict and the church as a whole. Evidence of this is found in the agricultural revolution of the ninth century which was spread through the monasteries and the illuminations and paintings of saints and virtues pictured with technological innovations. They are shown with clocks, astrolabes, compasses, and maps. The clear message is that technology is good and use of technology can help people to do good works and gain heaven.

By comparison where the tripartite elite remained the organizational form – Islam, Byzantium and China – there was distrust of technology and the attitude of work being ignoble continued. Common people were not encouraged to innovate or to learn and prosper. Obedience and respect is the prime virtue rather than innovation, work, and good works.

The new Western attitude toward information was one which had not existed since the invention of agriculture. It was, perhaps, the most important information revolution in eight thousand years. It was the information revolution that liberated information from elite control and thus was truly radical (going back to first principles– the principles of hunter/gatherers) and it was, surprisingly, fostered by the Roman Church.