The only hope of survival for the inhabitants was to invest in the grid.
The grid became a means of survival.
The grid became a means of commerce and information exchange.
Long ago after original thought was dead there arose a new concept for communications, the concept of 1.
Information flows down the pipe as a series of 1's and 0's in a digital system, the idea of communications existing as a 1 signifies that the knowledge possessed by one as representing the knowledge possessed by all.
All knowledge is known by everyone at the same time, the grid ensures it. The recall of this knowledge however is limited to what the user loads into his short term cache. The grid was intended to preserve memory so as to preserve identity.