First, it seems like religious institutions held power and individuals derived power from being part of the church. Then, monarchs sort of rebelled and usurped power away from them with claims of nobility and military might. Then, there was massive political reform (e.g., Magna Carta) and those who controlled politics had power. Then, the industrial revolution happened and those who controlled industry had power. Then (today), it seems, that those who control information have power.
So, to quickly summarize, it seems like the progression of power centers went kind of like this (obviously, it's not this simple...I'm merely looking at the macro picture here).
Religious -> Royalty -> Political -> Economic -> Information (today)
Let's say for a second I'm at least in the right ballpark. One of the natural questions to ask is, what's next? What types of institutions will disrupt the 'information power center'?
Will it be social and those who are able to be trusted socially will have power? Will it be virtue and those who have a noble, moral sense of purpose will have power? Will institutions devolve in such a way that there will no longer be a locus of power whose prevailing influence controls society?
If I had to guess, I think it'd go like this:
Information -> Social -> Virtue. Why? Because I'm optimistic that virtue - and being good - is what really drives people, when you're able to cut away all the BS in life. If it's the case that it's the core of human motivation, it's probably also at the core of what makes individuals and institutions powerful.
Another relevant question is why did disruption happen this way? My guess is that different groups of people yearned for better prospects in life so the counter-culture with the edge to cause a disruption went after it and toppled the previous standard-bearer of power. They disrupted because they could, it seems.
Also notice that the lag time in shifting to new power centers seems to be compressing - power centers seem to be toppling faster and faster.