[ Edited. ~R]
~ Charles Hugh Smith. June 21, 2012
The primary “news” narrative currently may be the failure of the euro, but the master narrative is much, much bigger: centralization has failed. The failure of Europe’s “ultimate centralization project” is but a symptom of a global failure of centralization. In a cost-benefit analysis, centralization once paid significant dividends. Now it is a drag that only inhibits growth and progress.
The Eurozone is the penultimate attempt to impose an intrinsically inefficient and unproductive centralized authority on disparate economies, and we are witnessing its spectacular implosion.
Gatekeepers and centralized authority are no match for decentralized knowledge and decision-making. Once a people don’t need to rely on a centralized authority to tell them what to do, the centralized authority becomes a costly impediment, a tax on the entire society and economy.
Centralization acts as a self-reinforcing loop that leads to a runaway death spiral.
Centralize the entire banking sector into five corporations and guess what happens? They buy access to the highly centralized power centers of the Federal government. This feedback between centralized capital and centralized government cannot be controlled by more rules and regulations. The two partners in domination will subvert or bypass any such feeble attempts.
The forces of centralized authority will not relinquish their power easily.
Centralized authorities move with glacial trepitude because any change, no matter how modest, steps on the exquisitely sensitive toes of some vested interest, protected fiefdom or favored Elite. But all centralized systems, open and shadow alike, act as heavy taxes on society and the economy.
Centralization is the disease – and devolving power to decentralized nodes based on the transparent power of the Web is the cure.
Access to the Web and the innovation-driven power of decentralized networks of knowledge, collaboration and information will dismantle their power base and wealth, their political and financial control will be eroded away.
[Part 2 – Edited ~R]
The solution to centralized power can be summarized as the three Ds:
Diffusion – Decentralization – Devolution
Why keep squabbling over issues that cannot be resolved within the existing structures? Decentralize, diffuse and devolve power to the lowest level and the national dead-ends vanish. Natural selection will sort out what works and what doesn’t.
Let me first stipulate that I have consistently held that there is an essential role for a strong but limited Central State: it must have the power to disrupt and dismantle local monopolies, oligarchies and criminal organizations, and it must retain the power to guarantee freedom of faith, exchange, movement, expression, enterprise and association to all individuals. It must also be empowered to defend and protect the nation’s “commons” – its soil, water, air, natural beauty and resources – from despoilation and exploitation by global, national or local Elites.
Concentrating centralized political power inevitably spawns State/Private cartels that stripmine taxpayer/citizens. This cannot be avoided or staved off with 1,000-page legislative bills and 30,000 pages of regulations, all of which serve to consolidate the power of co-mingled centralized government, and private capital.
Devolve power ever lower down the ecosystem. All power should be diffused and decentralized to the lowest possible units of local political power,
There is a decidedly favorable element of natural selection to this process of letting local communities choose their own machinery of governance. With no Savior State to skim money from one community to give to another out of political favoritism, local communities will have to tax themselves for whatever services they desire. Each community will be an experiment on what works and doesn’t work, and it is likely there will be a spectrum of successful models.
Those counties which allow concentrations of power to infect and control their social and financial ecosystems will likely stagnate; those which incentivize freeloading will be overwhelmed with freeloaders, and so on.
Risk and consequence will be reunited, as they are in Nature.
Is local control of the way of life “efficient”?
Perhaps efficiency’s elevation to godlike status is as misplaced as confusing convenience with meaning.
What “works” for some communities is not just what’s cheapest in terms of consumerism.
“Efficiency” is often Corporate-Speak for a second-order tyranny.