Foundation for Economic Education
The 20th century was an era defined by the clash of ideologies. Fascism. Communism. Democracy. As adherents mobilized armies, the implicit assumption was that to be correct was to be universalized — by force if necessary. My ideology is the best, they thought, and we are so sure of it that we are willing to impose it on everyone.
Luckily, we’re moving away from such ideological crusades. By the end of the twentieth century, it seemed social-democratic liberalism had won, but history has not ended.
Instead of ideological battles, the 21st century will be defined by political decentralization. Rather than enforcing a single political model as ideal for all of humanity, people will instead choose from a sort of political menu. Political decisions will be made on a more localized level, encouraging experimentation and innovation.
The economist Albert Hirschman differentiated between “voice” and “exit.” In any given system or organization, voice is essentially about expression: protesting, voting, speaking out, or otherwise raising your concerns and hoping the organization responds to them. Exit is about leaving the system to join — or maybe even to create — a new one.