Tag Archives: Decentralization

The end of the age of globalisation, by Phil Mullan

The war will push the global economy in the opposite direction—towards more decentralization and autarky—than the globalists want. From Phil Mullan at spiked-online.com:

How Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could hasten the demise of the US-led economic order.

The economic consequences of Russia’s bloody and despicable assault on Ukraine are very much a secondary consideration to the immediate human and geopolitical implications. And since the various national responses to the conflict are still so fluid, it is far too early to be able to identify the war’s precise longer-term economic effects. Nevertheless, it is possible to tentatively suggest what could unfold on the international economic front.

At least in the short term, the direct and indirect disruptions to economic relations arising from the invasion will almost certainly damage prospects for economic growth and boost inflation far beyond the combatant countries. In particular, the relative toughening of sanctions will generate economic difficulties in many areas beyond Russia itself.

While the war is of huge importance geopolitically, it would, however, be misleading to overstate its economic effects, given all the other enormous economic challenges already in place. For example, the Financial Times claims that the war has ‘shattered hopes of a strong global economic recovery from coronavirus’. But this implies that a strong recovery was already on the cards. There has long been a prevalent complacency that ignores the fundamental atrophy afflicting most advanced industrialised countries. War or no war, the high debt and weak investment common to many Western economies are likely to mean a continuation of the sluggish growth of the past decade.

More broadly, the repercussions of the war are likely to reinforce existing economic trends towards autarky and regionalisation, rather than taking us in entirely new directions. Analysts at Goldman Sachs, for instance, suggest that the war is going to damage globalisation and reinforce de-globalisation forces. But this conventional counterposition of ‘de-globalisation’ to ‘globalisation’ does not help clarify what is happening. In practice, market capitalism has always operated both nationally and internationally at the same time. As a result, economic internationalisation (‘globalisation’) can easily co-exist with a heightened focus on national economic considerations (‘de-globalisation’).

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Hedge Fund CIO: We Have Begun A Great Transition, by Eric Peters

Hedge fund CIO Eric Peters with some spot on observations about the world’s evolution away from centralized power. From Peters at zerohedge.com:

Red Buttons: Russia has 6,255 nuclear weapons, followed by the US with 5,500. China has 350, France 290, the UK 225. Pakistan has 165 warheads to defend itself from India, with 156. Israel is estimated to have 90 nukes. North Korea is believed to have enough fuel to build 40-50 nukes. Iran is headed there too. We detonated Little Boy over Hiroshima in 1945 and killed 150,000. It had the force of 15,000 tons of TNT. The average nuke today contains the force of 100,000 tons. Many are far larger. One such weapon dropped on New York City would kill an untold number.

Fat Fingers: Vladimir Putin controls Russia’s arsenal. Biden is America’s commander-in-chief. Xi Jinping rules over China, potentially for life. There’s Macron of course. Boris Johnson too. Imran Khan is Pakistan’s Prime Minister, although Arif Alvi is its President and commander-in-chief. Modi is India’s Prime Minister and regularly engages in petty skirmishes with two nuclear-armed neighbors. Naftali Bennett is Israel’s PM. Kim Jong-un leads North Korea with ten stubby fingers. And who could forget Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran for life.

Lonely: One thing uniting humanity is the belief that the majority of earth’s 14,000 nuclear weapons are controlled by men who are mentally unstable and unfit to wield such awesome power. Some of us believe 100% of these weapons are controlled by such people. Barely a person on the planet would choose a nuclear war, yet we created a system that empowers others to do just that, on a moment’s notice. An alien would likely observe that such a concentration of power is a gross failure of any species. Perhaps it’s a stage of development that few, if any, advance beyond. Maybe that’s why we have not been visited.

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A Nation Divided: The Majority of Americans Believe Its Time to Make it Official, by Mike Nichols

A reasonably amicable divorce will be far better than continuing division, antipathy, and strife. From Mike Nichols at genzconservative.com:

“When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

“That, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it., and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

The opening paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence are universally familiar. Those great words began the separation of an oppressed people from a totalitarian regime. It was the beginning of the United States of America; our republic threw off its colonial shackles and declared itself independent of England.

Such words, however, have not been used since. Perhaps it is time they were.

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The Prospects for Soft Secession in America, by Jeff Deist

SLL is all for secession, soft or otherwise. From Jeff Deist at mises.org:

In 1930, Columbia professor Karl Llewellyn published The Bramble Bush, his famous tract on how to think about and study law. Llewellyn urged readers to consider both law and custom when seeking to understand a society, to recognize the difference between black letter legal codes and the day to day practices of state officials and citizens. Where there was no sanction, the author instructed, there was no law. In other words, we should focus on the substance of things at least as much as we focus on the form. This is an important lesson for how we view the United States today, with an eye toward what is actually happening on the ground among people and institutions, rather than legal formalisms.

A few years ago, on a panel discussion at an event in Vienna, Dr. Hans-Hermann Hoppe made an offhand remark I found very interesting. Paraphrasing him, he said that nationalist movements in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were largely centralizing while the nationalist movements of the twenty-first century were largely decentralist in character—breakaway movements represented by Brexit, Taiwan, Scotland, Catalonia, and others. Donald Trump also represented a breakaway movement of sorts, away from DC, but of course this possibility went totally unfulfilled.

This strikes me as an important insight. What we know as today’s map of Europe is really countries cobbled together from principalities, city-states, kingdoms, dukedoms. And the EU seeks, but has not achieved, total dominion over them as a supranational government. What we think of as the US is really an incredibly disparate set of regions which became fifty states over which the US federal government asserts almost total control. And in both cases, cities became politically, economically, and culturally dominant.

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Why Nation-States Will Die-Off in the Information Age, by Joe Jarvis

The Age of Decentralization is upon us, and it may last longer than the Age of Centralization that preceded it. From Joe Jarvis at thedailybell.com:

When was the fall of the Roman Empire? Was it in 410 when the Visigoths sacked Rome, or 455 when the Vandals plundered Rome? Or was it 476, when the last western Roman Emperor was deposed?

Whatever the answer, the people alive on the ground at the time surely did not wake up to a headline saying: “Rome has fallen, commence medieval barbarianism.”

Only later did historians pinpoint certain dates.

It’s possible, therefore, that we are already past the date that will be considered the fall of the American Empire.

Perhaps historians will look back and say that September 11, 2001 marks the sacking of the American Empire. Not because the Twin Towers fell, but because that’s the day rule of law and due process came crashing down as well.

History may shed more light on the silent coup that occurred behind the scenes, which shifted the US governing structure to a relative dictatorship.

Yes, just like in Rome, the appearances carried on. The Senate still passed bills, and the courts still nominally gave fair trials. But the great erosion hit a turning point. From there on out, due process was not required to assassinate enemies of the US, to spy on “potential terrorists”, and even to confiscate property using civil asset forfeiture.

Or perhaps the CIA already took over as dictators in 1963 with the assassination of the last truly elected US President, John F. Kennedy.

Maybe the fall of the American Empire will be seen in terms of the destruction of the US dollar. The 1913 creation of the Federal Reserve, the 1933 debasement of the gold backed currency, and the 1971 total removal of the gold standard from the US dollar are all part of slow downfall.

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Saving Civilization, by Robert Gore

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Savagery or civilization?

Imagine you had been picked as a juror for the Derek Chauvin trial. Before you hear a shred of evidence, you very well might make a decision most people would not only admit was the better part of valor, but that harmonized perfectly with prevailing morality.

Your pretrial verdict? Guilty. There had been threats since Chauvin was charged with second and third degree murder and second-degree manslaughter that acquittals would provoke rampaging riots. After the riots last summer, no one could doubt the threats’ credibility. A guilty verdict on all counts could avoid injuries, deaths, and billions of dollars in property damage. Against those consequences, what do the rights or the life of a policeman matter? You’re predetermined verdict is for the greater good.

Even if such considerations never entered your head, you’d need extraordinary courage and independence to impartially hear the evidence and if you thought it warranted, vote for acquittal. You’d have to withstand pressure from your fellow jurors. You’d run the risk that your personal information was leaked by some mainstream or social media scumbag and mostly peaceful thugs showed up at your door. You might be canceled out of a job, your business network, and your social circle. Your privacy would be obliterated and reputation ruined in the wilting glare of nonstop publicity and odium. Politicians and other public figures would denounce you.

The chance that one such person would land on the jury was remote, the chance of twelve nonexistent. Under the inverted standard of justice that prevailed, the outcome was always going to be dictated not by the facts of the case, reasoned consideration of the evidence, deliberation, and the applicable law, but by “social considerations,” which is a polite way of saying the mob.

The mob hailed the verdict as justice. It’s the same justice as John Gotti’s three acquittals after his goons intimidated jurors. Chauvin was guilty unless proven innocent beyond a “reasonable” doubt as defined by the mob. In the same vein, the policeman who shot and killed Ashley Babbitt at the Capitol is not guilty—without a trial—because that’s what the mob demanded. Such blatant contradiction is mob justice.

A morality that confers “rights” on mobs and strips those of an individual is the morality of savages. Maxine Waters is a savage, but so too are the members of the Minneapolis City Council who agreed to pay George Floyd’s estate $27 million before Chauvin’s trial had begun, the judge who recognized the prejudicial unfairness of Waters’ inflammatory statements but passed the buck for doing anything about it to the appellate courts, and the political, media, and celebrity jackals from Joe Biden on down who’ve been howling for Chauvin’s conviction since Floyd’s death.

Whatever the justifications they cite for their pre-verdict demands, they are implicitly insisting that Chauvin’s rights are of no consequence. When the “rights” of some outweigh the rights of one, anything goes. There are people who call for reducing the world’s population to 500 million, which implies a genocide of over 7 billion. That such people are on university faculties rather than denounced and shunned as advocates of mass murder shows just how far the barbarism of collectivist justification has advanced, even when the collective embraced is a fraction of the number of individuals whose lives are to be canceled!

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Service and sacrifice are the watchwords of government, the ultimate mob. Who’s served and who’s sacrificed? There has never been a government that has not arrogated to itself the privilege of using force and fraud to strip individuals of their production, their property, their rights, their liberty, and ultimately, their lives. That privilege is governments’ defining essence and is the privilege that has always threatened humanity. The rationales and rhetoric are invariably collective: the demands of the mob supersede individual rights and individual justice.

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Never mind The Great Reset. Here comes The Great Reject. by Mark E. Jeftovic

SLL is a sucker for any article that uses Atlas Shrugged as a hook, and this is a pretty good one. From Mark E. Jeftovic at bombthrower.com:

The Jackpot Chronicles Scenario #4: Atlas Shrugged

It occurred to me that I never did finish the final instalment of last summer’s Jackpot Chronicles, wherein I posited four possible post-Covid scenarios.

For a quick refresher, The Jackpot is concept I cribbed from William Gibson. It’s a term he uses across a few of his near-future cyberpunk novels that describes a series of rolling global catastrophes that set in sometime around 2016 (his stories span multiverses, and timelines, but the common theme is that somewhere around 2016, some kind of irrevocable glitch in the matrix occurred that put a permanent end to normalcy as it has been understood up until that point).

If there was a Jackpot, whatever it was, it could arguably have happened at many points throughout the 20th century, or if we wanted to confine our speculation to the 21st century then, 9/11 or the GFC would do. Everything after that being symptomatic as opposed to causal.

And then… 2020 and COVID hit. That’s when the fabric of time cleaves us into the before times and The Jackpot.


The other post-pandemic scenarios from the rest of my Jackpot series were:

  1. Force Majeure: The wheels come off completely and the system comes unglued. Mad Max.
  2. Tin Foil Hat: It really is one Big Conspiracy and we’re into a New World Order.
  3. The Great Bifurcation: The middle class gets wiped out and we get a two-tier society

I had thought the fourth scenario would be the one themed Deglobalization, and to a certain extent it still is. In the original outline I described that Deglobalization:

“Is where multi-national corporations, so shaken from this Near Death Experience, realizing their error of betting the farm on just-in-time supply chains, labour cost arbitrage and having zero buffers, begin pulling manufacturing back home.

The smart ones start building cushions and shock absorbers into their business logic, and they begin to eschew leverage after being on the wrong side of a series of cascading liquidity implosions. In other words, businesses begin to transition themselves into what I called “Transition Companies” as posited in the inaugural posting for [this blog]”.

I also went on to say that I considered this one most desirable yet least likely. My view on this scenario has changed somewhat, and I also think that the staggering government ineptitude and duplicity at all levels in all jurisdictions (with few notable exceptions) has made our regeared “4th scenario” more likely given that it’s in progress. Mass demonstrations, mass exoduses, crypto-currencies are symptoms of a Great Reject, or as I’ve renamed this scenario “Atlas Shrugged“.

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Flying Blind, by James Howard Kunstler

We’re transitioning to a more decentralized way of life, and nobody in Washington gets the joke. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

Events are in the driver’s seat now, not personalities. Gil Scott-Heron was right way back in the day when he said, “the revolution will not be televised.” Only what he called “revolution” turns out to be collapse, led by the disintegrating news business, so that the people of this land are flying blind into a maelstrom of hardship. Everything is going south at once here, and you probably don’t know it.

If you think we’re headed into a transhuman nirvana of continuous tech-assisted orgasm, social equity, and guaranteed basic income, you are going to be disappointed. Our actual destination is a neo-medieval time-out from all the techno-dazzle of recent decades. It’s not as bad as you might think. The human project will continue at a lower pitch, probably for a good long while, but minus most of the comforts and conveniences we’re used to, and with very different social arrangements. You can waste your energy hand-wringing and wailing over all this, or summon the fortitude to go where history is taking us and make something of it.

The old economy is wrecked. Many Americans already know this because they’ve lost their businesses and their livelihoods. What used to be there isn’t coming back. But there will always be ways to make yourself useful providing things and services that other people need, just not within the crumbling armature of the economy we’re leaving behind. There will be a lot of debris left in the way to overcome, especially the crap we’ve smeared all over the landscape.

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Decentralize New York City! by Gregory Bresiger

New York City’s other four boroughs haven’t been too happy about being governed from Manhattan, since long before Bill de Blasio was mayor. From Gregory Besiger at mises.org:

New York’s Forgotten Borough Is Persecuted

Some New Yorkers have a devolution message for our Manhattan elites: let us go.

The battle between liberty and runaway big government is a history of imperious empires crushing political, economic, and geographic minorities. We see such a battle in New York City, whose Manhattan-based municipal government, operating in a mostly one-party system, persecutes a unique part of the city called Staten Island as well other distant areas.

The city’s enforcement of covid regulations has been harsh on the island. Staten Island’s bars and restaurants have been badly hurt by city and state regulations. But Staten Islanders, whose political preferences are different from those of the city’s ruling powers, had had many grievances for years before the covid lockdowns.

A Battle for Local Liberty

Staten Island is so unlike the rest of New York City that many of its citizens have been trying to win a decentralization battle for decades. Indeed, in the 1993 municipal elections Staten Islanders voted overwhelmingly to leave New York City.

Ultimately, Staten Island and some other overtaxed New Yorkers in this mismanaged sprawling city hate being governed by a Manhattan ruling class that often scorns and misunderstands “outer borough” residents. (i.e., those not living in Manhattan). This Manhattan ruling class quietly regards most of us as bunch of Guidos, Archie Bunkers, or local Babbitts. We are the New York City version of “deplorables.”

It is the essence of imperious government: a big political unit will not let a small unit quietly succeed. The nature of imperial government is always to hold on to everything.

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Forecast 2021 — Chinese Fire Drills with a side of French Fries (Jacobin-style) and Russian Dressing, by James Howard Kunstler

Jim Kunstler has a long list of provocative and contrarian predictions. From Kunstler at kunstler.com:

As I write, the presidential election is still not resolved, with dramatic events potentially unfolding in the first days of the New Year. I’m not convinced that Mr. Trump is in as weak a position as the news media has made him out to be in these post-election months of political fog and noise. The January 6 meet-up of the Senate and House to confirm the electoral college votes may yet propel matters into a constitutional Lost World of political monsterdom. The tension is building. This week’s public demonstration by one Jovan Hutton Pulitzer of the easy real-time hackability of Dominion Voting Systems sure threw the Georgia lawmakers for a loop, and that demo may send reverberations into next Wednesday’s DC showdown.

There may be some other eleventh-hour surprises coming from the Trump side of the playing field. As I averred Monday, we still haven’t heard anything from DNI Ratcliffe, and you can be sure he’s sitting on something, perhaps something explosive, say, evidence of CIA meddling in the election. There have been ominous hints of something screwy in Langley for weeks. The Defense Dept., under Secretary Miller, took over all the CIA’s field operational functions before Christmas — “No more black ops for you!” That was a big deal. There were rumors of CIA Director Gina Haspel being in some manner detained, deposed and…talking of dark deeds. She was, after all, the CIA’s London station-chief during the time that some of the worst RussiaGate shenanigans took place there involving the international men-of-mystery, Stefan Halper, Josepf Mifsud, and Christopher Steele. Mr. Ratcliffe seemed to be fighting with the CIA in the weeks following the election over their slow-walking documents he had demanded.

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