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Welcome to Niche Nation.

Chris Anderson and Nick Gillespie seemed to hit a wall when it came to contemplating the impact of the Long Tail on politics ("Welcome to Niche Nation," November). Anderson says, "We have a scarcity effect in our ability to act on the political system."

I don't agree. The LongTail's dynamic of choice and individual empowerment is having an indirect but profound effect on politics and the political system.

First, the political system can now no longer control the flow or content of information available on a mass basis, leaving politicians at the mercy of blogs, video cameras, and mass punditry. There are fewer and fewer hiding places.

Second, you can make a case that the free flow of information has been the key ingredient in the breakup of several formerly centralized nation-states. The logic of the Long Tail would lead us to the conclusion that no nation-state is immune from the possibility of being broken into smaller, more flexible, more accommodating jurisdictions, as populations begin to view ubiquitous choice, personalization, and individual empowerment as normal. Today 1,000 channels, tomorrow 1,000 countries.

Randy Hilst

Nantucket, MA
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Title Annotation:Letters
Author:Hilst, Randy
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Feb 1, 2007
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