Tag Archives: Decentralization

Decentralization Is the Solution to the Government Shutdown, by Ryan McMaken

Ryan McMaken is correct as far as he goes: decentralization in government would be a wonderful thing. Not much analysis, though, on why centralization occurs (hint: it’s in somebody interest for it to occur), or how decentralization can happen. From McMaken at mises.org:

The partial shutdown with the federal government has helped, perhaps more than any other recent political event, to illustrate some of the biggest problems that come with centralizing an ever-larger number of government activities within a single, centralized institution.

Were the US government more decentralized, we’d not now be facing a nationwide systemic failure that has continues to cripple the private sector in many ways.

Held Hostage by a Shuttered Regulatory State

The federalization of resources and regulatory power over the past century has created a situation in which numerous industries depend on licensing and regulatory approval from federal regulators to function. And yet, thanks to the shutdown, these industries can do little when facing a federal government that imposes mandates, but won’t provide the agency “services” necessary to allow agencies to function under those mandates.

For example, As The Washington Post has reported , those areas where the federal government has a large regulatory footprint — such as Alaska — are at the mercy of politicians thousands of miles away.

Most (61 percent) of Alaska is government land managed by five different federal agencies, according to the congressional Research Service. The state’s main industries, including fishing, tourism and oil and gas, all depend on the day-to-day actions of federal workers and regulators.

The fisheries have so far avoided major disruption, despite a few close calls. Most boats are still getting by on licenses and inspections which occurred before the shutdown.

But time is running out. Major commercial boats are required to carry onboard observers to monitor their catch. But when they return from a trip, those observers must be debriefed by the National Marine Fisheries Service — and it’s not holding debriefings during the shutdown.

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2019: Fragmented, Unevenly Distributed, Asymmetric, Opaque, by Charles Hugh Smith

The powers that be desperately want to keep the rest of us in the dark. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

Add up Fragmented, Unevenly Distributed, Asymmetric and Opaque and you get a world spinning out of centralized control.

Here are the key dynamics of 2019: fragmented, unevenly distributed, asymmetric, opaque. Want to know what’s happening with inflation, deflation, recession, populism, etc.?

It depends on what you own, when you own it, where you own it and its relative scarcity and stability–assuming you have trustworthy information on its scarcity and stability.

By ownership I mean all forms of capital: cash, tools, skills, social capital, trust in institutions, etc. Whatever forms of capital you own, the returns on that capital and its relative stability depend on the specifics of context and timing.

Will there be deflation or inflation? The right question is: Will there be deflation or inflation in my household?. In a rapidly fragmenting economy and society characterized by opacity, asymmetric information and unevenly distributed results, generalizations are intrinsically misleading / false. The only possible answers arise in a carefully limited context: my household, my neighborhood, my industry, my company, etc.

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Hayek’s Case for Decentralized Communities, by Allen Mendenhall

After centuries of increasing centralization, decentralization is the wave of the future. From Allen Mendenhall at lewrockwell.com:

This talk was delivered at the Abbeville Institute’s conference on Secession and Nullification in Dallas, Texas on November 10, 2018.

My talk today is about decentralization and epistemology. At the outset I wish to disclaim any specialized expertise in this subject. I’m a lawyer by training who loves literature and earned a doctorate in English. It would be a stretch to call me a philosopher or a political theorist, hence this anchoring disclaimer to prevent me from sailing too deep into philosophical seas.

I have divided my argument, such as it is, into two parts: the impersonal and the personal. The former is a philosophical case for decentralization; the latter involves private considerations about intimate human relationships around which communities of common purpose organize and conduct themselves. In the end, the two approaches are mutually reinforcing, yielding, I hope, benevolent and humane considerations. Presenting them as separate, however, signals to different audiences whose tolerance for appeals to feeling may vary.

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Why Secession Is a Big Problem — For Politicians, by Chris Calton

Big government, and big taxes, big regulation, and big programs are a lot more difficult in smaller political subdivisions. From Chris Calton at mises.org:

When the southern states were debating secession in 1861, there was one other proposed secession that almost always gets overlooked in history: New York City. The Mayor of New York at the time, Fernando Wood, saw disunion as an inevitability at the start of 1861, and in a January 6th address to the city council, he advocated New York City’s secession.

“When Disunion has become a fixed and certain fact,” Wood asked the council, “why may not New York disrupt the bands which bind her to a venal and corrupt master — to a people and a party that have plundered her revenues, attempted to ruin her, take away the power of self-government, and destroyed the Confederacy of which she was the proud Empire City?”

Although Wood did cite slavery as among the reasons for the city’s need to secede (he believed New Yorker’s benefited from trading with the slave economy, and the city was home to a respectable number of slave traders who continued to operate their not-entirely-clandestine businesses for places such as Brazil and Cuba), he did not propose joining the Confederacy, which had yet to be formed. He wanted to establish New York City as sovereign entity — the Free City of Tri-insula, referring to the islands of Manhattan, Long, and Staten.

The Common Council agreed with Wood, and the city looked poised to secede. They only changed their position after the bombardment of Fort Sumter, not because they objected to the Confederacy’s actions as much as their desire not to be surrounded by territories that would view them as traitors during the oncoming war.

But New York’s near-secession is an example of what many people in the North — particularly Republicans — feared from secession; they were not worried about severing their nation, but rather that it might dissolve altogether — or at the very least, break into multiple smaller countries. The relatively new Republican Party had grand plans for the country, rife with economic interventions such as infrastructure projects, a transcontinental railroad, a protective tariff, and a homestead act.

The only thing that had prevented such reforms taking place in the past was sectional disagreement on various policies. Southerners, for instance, supported a transcontinental railroad, but they wanted it to be built in the South, and no compromise was ever successfully made. Southerners also supported homestead legislation that would have sold public lands, rather than granting 160 acres for only a standard clerical fee. Infrastructure and economic protectionism were more widely rejected by southerners, and Southern Democrats continually blocked the passage of such bills.

To continue reading: Why Secession Is a Big Problem — For Politicians

Doug Casey on the Demise of Nation States, Part 2

The second part of Doug Casey’s thesis that nation-states will fail, from caseyresearch.com:

Justin’s note: Yesterday, Doug Casey and I talked about the decline of nation states. Today, we continue our discussion… and look at what could ultimately replace them…

Justin: Will politicians allow this to happen? Or will they use the next crisis as an opportunity to seize more power and wealth from everyday people?

Doug: There’s no question about that. The prime directive of every living entity—including governments—is to survive. They’ll try to do so at any cost. They’re like giant dinosaurs in their death throes, thrashing around wildly. They’re very dangerous. You’re going to have to be a very smart little mammal that hides in a hole to not get crushed by them.

The best template for how this is probably going to evolve was laid out in Neal Stephenson’s book, The Diamond Age. In that book, which is a work of genius, Stephenson explains how the world is likely to reorient itself. He expects most nation states will dry up and blow away.

Sure, some will still exist, but most will be replaced by what he calls “phyles.” These are support groups based on whatever you value most. These phyles will provide services like defense and insurance. So, they’ll offer all the benefits that nation states offer today but they’ll necessarily do a much better job, because they’re private, voluntary, and cohesive.

More and more people will discover who their real countrymen are. You’ll find out who you really want to associate and ally yourself with. And it won’t be people who just so happened to have been born in the same area as them, many of whom you have nothing in common with except proximity or government ID. Some may even be enemies or parasites…

Justin: And he thinks these phyles will replace governments completely?

Doug: There will still be governments that control certain geographical areas. After all, governments have lots of force. And most people are like chimpanzees; they crave, or at least accept, leadership by the biggest and most aggressive monkey. But I expect many will eventually be replaced by phyles. This will be technology driven.

And with migration unfolding the way it is, Africa is going to have hundreds of millions of Han Chinese changing the situation on that continent. They’re basically going to take over that continent. At the same time, scores of millions of African migrants will take over Europe.

Those are two big trends that I feel certain about. Who knows what other side shows will happen? But the nation state in its present form is a dead duck. And good riddance to it.

To continue reading: Doug Casey on the Demise of Nation States, Part 2

If You Want to Understand the Next 10 Years, Study Spain, by Michael Krieger

Michael Krieger “gets” it: Catalonia is the shape of things to come. From Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Some of you may be confused as to why a U.S. citizen living in Colorado has become so completely obsessed with what’s going on in Spain. Bear with me, there’s a method to my madness.

I believe what’s currently happening in Spain represents a crucial microcosm for what we’ll see sweep across the entire planet over the next ten years. Some of you will want to have a discussion about who’s right and who’s wrong in this particular affair, but that’s besides the point. It doesn’t matter which side you favor, what matters is that Madrid/Catalonia is an example of the forces of centralization duking it out with forces of decentralization.

Madrid represents the nation-state as we know it, with its leaders claiming Spain is forever indivisible according to the constitution. Madrid has essentially proclaimed there’s no possible avenue to independence from a centralized Spain even if various regions decide in large number they wish to be independent. This sort of attitude will be seen as unacceptable and primitive by increasingly large numbers of humans in the years ahead. Catalonia should be seen as a canary in the coal mine. The forces of decentralization are rising, but entrenched centralized institutions and the bureaucrats running them will become increasingly terrified, panicked and oppressive.

As I’ve discussed, this isn’t coming out of nowhere. Humanity’s current established centralized institutions and nation-states have become clownishly corrupt, merely existing to protect and enrich the powerful/connected as opposed to benefiting the population at large. As such, legitimacy has been shattered and people have begun to demand a new way. Whether we see this with the rising popularity of Bitcoin, or the UK decision to leave the EU, evidence is everywhere and we’ve already passed the point of no return. This is precisely why EU leaders are rallying around Madrid. They’re scared to death and fear they might be next. They’re probably right.

To continue reading: If You Want to Understand the Next 10 Years, Study Spain

Surprisingly, I’m Quite Optimistic About the Future, by Michael Krieger

It’s nice to hear some optimism once in a while. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

To summarize, in just the last few years the world has invented a way to create software services that have no central operator. These services are called decentralized applications and they are enabled with crypto assets that incentivize entities on the internet to contribute resources — processing, storage, computing — necessary for the service to function.

It’s worth pausing to acknowledge that this is kind of miraculous. With just the internet, an open protocol, and a new kind of asset, we can instantiate networks that dynamically assemble the resources necessary to provide many kinds of services.

– From Adam Ludwin’s: A Letter to Jamie Dimon

I’m actually pretty optimistic about the future. I know some of you might be surprised to hear that, but it’s true. This might not be the case if I had only five years left on the planet, but assuming I’m fortunate enough to stay healthy for another few decades, I think the world will be a much better place when I leave it than when I came in.

The simple fact of the matter is this. For things to get substantially better from any situation, it’s always easier to start from a pretty bad place. When I write articles describing the U.S. economy as a rent-seeking, oligarch controlled swindle, I don’t do this to fill you with a sense of insurmountable dread. Rather, the purpose of those posts is to shake as many people as possible out of their slumber. There’s simply no way we can come up with appropriate and conscious solutions to our problems unless we can identify the various scams that govern so much of life around us.

The most lucrative scams are simultaneously extremely bold and well hidden. As such, there’s no greater scam on earth than the scam of the monetary system. A system where a small group of unelected technocrats (central bankers) are given power to create and distribute money at their discretion. The power that these people wielded during the financial crisis was historic in nature and dastardly in its results. Essentially, the monetary system was used as a weapon to bailout and further enrich those already entrenched in positions of power and wealth at the expense of everyone else. There’s simply no way Donald Trump would be President today had it not been for the extraordinarily lopsided “recovery,” which was a direct result of government’s extremely unethical and arguably criminal response to the financial crisis.

To continue reading: Surprisingly, I’m Quite Optimistic About the Future