Most of the time, criticism that takes pop culture seriously involves performing some kind of symbolic analysis, decoding the work to demonstrate the way it represents some other aspect of society.
In a peer network, no one is officially in charge. It doesn't have a command hierarchy. It doesn't have a boss. So, all the decisions are somehow made collectively. The control of the system is in the hands of everyone who is a part of it.
I suspect millions of people from my generation probably have comparable stories to tell: if not of sports simulations then of Dungeons & Dragons, or the geopolitical strategy of games like Diplomacy, a kind of chess superimposed onto actual history.
If you look at history, innovation doesn't come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.