What happens when there is no leader? Starlings, bees, and ants manage just fine. In fact, they form staggeringly complicated societies — all without a Toscanini to conduct them into harmony. This hour of Radiolab, we ask how this happens. http://www.radiolab.org/story/91500-emergence/
Swarm Theory and Swarm Intelligence are essentially what’s covered in the Radiolab piece, both related to Spontaneous order and scale-free networks. For more on spontaneous order see these onsite posts: this and this.
Elinor Ostrom explored this as well to some degree with a different angle.
- Clearly defined boundaries (effective exclusion of external un-entitled parties)
- Rules regarding the appropriation and provision of common resources that are adapted to local conditions
- Collective-choice arrangements that allow most resource appropriators to participate in the decision-making process
- Effective monitoring by monitors who are part of or accountable to the appropriators
- A scale of graduated sanctions for resource appropriators who violate community rules
- Mechanisms of conflict resolution that are cheap and of easy access
- Self-determination of the community recognized by higher-level authorities
- In the case of larger common-pool resources, organization in the form of multiple layers of nested enterprises, with small local common pool resources at the base level.
Also see: PDF- Coping With the Tragedy of the Commons