|Mutually assured construction|
The above analysis of benefits and drawbacks focuses purely on short-term outcomes of linking or doing the right thing. What about long-term outcomes? After all, the point of analyzing dynamics is to understand changes over time -- both now and later.
Six Degrees chapter 7 introduces the notion of coordination externalities to integrate the short-term and long-term perspectives of doing the right thing. The influence of coordination externalities boils down to this: I will sacrifice my short-term selfish interests for long-term gains that depend on favors from others, to the extent that (1) I care about the future, and (2) I believe my actions affect the decisions of others.
Example: When my friend lends me $10, I will pay him back the next time I see him. I lose $10 when I pay him back but gain more than that in the long run. Maintaining our friendship is worth more to me than $10.
Coordination externalities influence Web builders to the extent that the following are true:
Thanks to the influence of coordination externalities, we therefore expect that a typical Web builder will do the right thing and link to other sites in good faith -- even if some of those links risk diminishing the short-term popularity and influence of her own work. Web building is a game of mutually assured construction.