Charles Hugh Smith, 06, 22, 2012
The Solution to Concentrated Power: the Three Ds
The solution to centralized power can be summarized as the three Ds: diffusion, decentralization, and devolution of power to local communities. Yesterday I analyzed the global failure of centralization: The Master Narrative Nobody Dares Admit: Centralization Has Failed (June 21, 2012).
Why keep squabbling over issues that cannot be resolved except by the Tyranny of the Manipulated Majority? 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.
The concentration of power into the hands of a few bureaucrats in Europe has failed, just as concentrating monetary power into the (privately owned) hands of Federal Reserve bureaucrats has failed. Enabled by a captured Central State, financial power has become concentrated in five banks, media control has been concentrated into six corporations, and so on, ad nauseum.
Concentrating centralized political power inevitably spawns State/private-capital 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 centralized government and private capital.
The Argument Industry (May 25, 2012) is a symptom of what I term profound political disunity. (If I didn’t coin the phrase, I am the predominant user of it in recent history.) This is a key concept in my books Survival+ and Resistance, Revolution, Liberation, for it underpins our inability to address, much less solve, the over-arching problems of our society and economy.
Yes, arguing fruitlessly without hope of resolution is a profitable “make-work” business, but it has a debilitating effect in the real world: views get hardened by propaganda into rigid ideological silos, and fractured institutions are slowly delegitimized.
Take gay marriage as an example. Does anyone seriously think there will ever be some sort of national consensus on this issue? Why does anyone think there *should* be a national consensus that is politically imposed on the minority who disagree?
My friend Richard Metzger of Dangerous Minds recently summarized the “devolution solution”–devolve power to the states:
They want to force their way of life on everyone else, we think they’re idiots, etc, etc. and n’er the twain shall meet. EVER.So why try to force the fit if it doesn’t work anymore? Let Arizona do whatever it wants. Or Wisconsin, Or Florida.
Let North Carolina ban gay marriage… but let the gays in NC pick up the hint and move to more hospitable climes and so forth for other groups and individuals who would not be able to get along in a situation whereby the DOMINANT paradigm of a particular region would be allowed to have free rein.
But let the rest of us do what we want to do and we’ll KEEP our tax dollars *where we live*, thank you very much!
Not only do I totally agree, but I would devolve power even lower down the ecosystem to counties. 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 the nation against external threats and attack, and protect the nation’s “commons”–its soil, water, air, natural beauty and resources–from despoilation and exploitation by global, national or local Elites.
But beyond these limited roles, all other power should be diffused and decentralized to the lowest units of local political power, the counties. If County A legalizes gay marriage, County B bans it and County C decides that marriage is a private affair that the government should have no role in, then people who have concluded this is a key issue will migrate to the county of their choice. (County D may choose by not choosing to enable an “Argument Industry” that endlessly gnaws over the same old tired ideological debates as part of the local “entertainment industry.”)
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.
If productive people are being taxed into penury and receiving little in the way of services they desire, they will move to a county with more favorable policies. Corrupt kleptocracies will be abandoned until there are no productive people left to exploit, and the kleptocracy will implode.
Each county 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.
If County E decides that all CEOs of banks chartered to do business in the county must live in the county, then business/finance will adjust to that political will. As noted yesterday, If 500 banks are forced to compete in a transparent marketplace, it will be very difficult for those corporations to purchase the political power the five “too big to fail” Central State-created banks now own.
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.