If there was ever a time when the dangers of centralization were most obvious, it is surely now. We live in a time where every aspect of our society is being attempted by existing centralised powers, to become even more centralized. Everything from our governance to our money to our healthcare systems are being centralized more and more by the day. I say dangerous, and here is why.
There are two ways to define ‘Centralization’ that are banded about. Both ultimately mean the same thing, but one is used as the sales slogan for centralization, and one is the harsh reality of it.
- ‘the action or process of bringing activities together in one place.’
- ‘the concentration of control of an activity or organization under a single authority.’
It is true that centralization can often create more efficient systems, particularly in small business’s compared to a decentralized alternative, however at a cost. Furthermore, the more we develop decentralized systems, the better we can make them, and, in time, I believe a decentralized system will be able to outperform any centralized systems with ease.
Even centralized organisations understand the issues surrounding centralization and use semi-decentralized systems to improve the functionality of their organisation. They do this by dividing the organisation up into departments and subsidiaries. By doing this, each area of business within the organisation can be placed into its own separate structure, with its own procedures and systems, without having to refer back to the central point of control every time, i.e. the CEOs.
But this, as I stated is semi-decentralized, it is by no means full decentralization.
The most frightening example of the dangers surrounding centralization is with Government. As World leaders strive to reduce the number of power structures around the World and condense them into a single controlling entity, often referred to by many as Globalization or a New World Order, we should be looking on in horror, as this is the exact opposite of what we should be doing.
To see why it is such a dangerous approach to managing society you only must consider the issues within your own country today. Here in the UK most of the decisions made for the entirety of the UK are by a small group of people in Westminster, London. I know people will be yelling, “No, that is not true, we have local councils, we have boroughs, we have districts which all manage governance to some degree”, well, kind of, but not exactly. If there was ever a time where this statement proves to be worthless was during the recent pandemic, all the introduced pandemic protocols were done so by Westminster. These decisions were final, and regardless of which council one lived, the protocols were the same.
The reality in the minds of some Eaton educated politicians who have never lived in the real world, is very different to an individual brought up in high-rise flat in Liverpool, working their way through a high security school, into a factory job and struggling to make ends meet for their family. Likewise, what is good governance for London, is very different to the needs of rural communities where farming is their major industry and public transport is just not an option. Different communities have different needs, and the further away from the central point of power these communities get, the more disconnected policymakers and their policies become.
History shows us that those societies that decentralize power, prevail most magnificently. The apaches are a prime example of this. You can read more about the history of the Apaches in the book ‘The Starfish & The Spider’, but here is a summary of one of the examples given in the book on the merits of decentralization.
A Spanish explorer by the name of Cortes travelled to the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan in Mexico and was confronted with a civilisation with a central government and hoards of gold. Cortez took the gold, killed the leader Montezuma II, and starved the entire population of the civilisation which was estimated to be around 240,000 people. Within two years the entire civilization had collapsed.
The Spanish did exactly the same thing when they stumbled upon the Incas, by 1680 the entire continent of what we consider now to be South America was under Spanish control. Or so they thought, before they encountered the Apaches that is.
The Spanish failed in their attempts to root out the power behind the Apaches. The Spanish assumed these people primitive and underestimated their might. So how did the Apaches defeat the all-powerful Spanish?
Well, it was all down to how they organized their society. They prevailed because their entire power structure was decentralized, they were a leaderless system with no central point of power. A typical centralized power structure requires rules, it requires someone to set those rules and a structure beneath it to enforce the rules, the Apaches didn’t need this though, they were decentralized.
The power was distributed among all the people and across all geographic regions. There were no chiefs, only a Nant ‘an, who was a spiritual and cultural figure who led by example. The Spanish when trying to take down traditional civilisation structures would go for the leaders, but here in the case of the Apache’s there were no leaders, no central point of control. When the killed the Nant ‘an, another would automatically replace them. The Spanish became aware in fact, that the more they attacked the Apache’s, the stronger they became as is the nature of decentralization.
The Book goes on to compare the story of the Apache with that of Napster. Napster was the first major file sharing platform, but they came under attack by the music industry and before long the entire network was shutdown. But from this grew Kazaa, an almost identical setup to Napster, but with no central server, it was decentralized. The more a decentralized system comes under attack, the more decentralized it becomes, and thus, the stronger it becomes.
It does come at a price; this price is the speed at which the decentralized system and advance its infrastructure. But just as the tortoise defeated the hare, a decentralized system will always out compete a centralized system.
Bitcoin didn’t take over the World by storm because of its efficiency or features, it’s a simple peer-to-peer payment processor which has changed little since its birth over a decade ago. No, it has revolutionised money because of its decentralized nature. If it had a central point of control, then you can be sure Bitcoin would not exist today. But there is no one they can arrest, fine, or prosecute that would put an end to Bitcoin, it would continue onwards regardless.
But also, just as Bitcoin itself is decentralized, so is its development infrastructure. There is no CEO or single organization responsible for its development. Anyone can be a part of the Bitcoin Core project, anyone can submit and compile changes to the code, new features, and changes. If consensus is met between all the distributed nodes, then Bitcoin will be changed, if not, then the new instance of code forks off into a new chain and another currency is born.
Bitcoin cannot be shutdown, it cannot be easily hijacked and it cannot be maliciously sabotaged. It is the world’s most perfect example of why decentralization is key.
Decentralized Science (DeSci)
But it isn’t just economies that can be decentralized, everything can be decentralized. An emerging trend is the uprising of what is being duped DeSci, and I welcome it with open arms. If the pandemic has taught people anything, it is that our scientific infrastructure is severely flawed.
If we can decentralize the science community and infrastructure, we open the door to funding that could never have been issued before, data that was never public before and allow 100% transparency on all aspects of science, which in turn can assure accountability is always made where necessary.
If our Science was decentralized and recorded on an open distributed blockchain, the multiple conspiracies that emerged out of the coronavirus pandemic could have been put to bed in an instant. The funding by Tony Fauci to the Wuhan Laboratories for gain-of-function research would have been confirmed or dismissed in seconds. We could see the data from studies performed around the World in real-time, and funding could be carefully traced to ensure conflicts of interest were kept to a minimum. Whether or not the proposed decentralization of science will indeed turn out truly decentralized is yet to be seen, and I have my suspicions that Big Pharma and their philanthropist sugar daddies will ensure it does not – but, if it is – we would undoubtedly see a fairer and more just scientific process.
Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO)
A decentralized autonomous organization is an organization represented by rules embedded as code that is transparent and controlled by the participants of the network. DAO structures can vary, some can be more decentralized than others, however it is entirely possible to have a DAO that enables anyone, without exception, who wants to participate to have an equal share of the consensus in decision making. Such a system could be used for societal governance as well as organizations, after all government is just an organization.
They have yet to be utilized to anywhere near their full potential, but if, and when they are, we could run our communities in such a way, that everyone within the community had their say, and their say would hold as much power as all others within the community. Decisions would be democratized without the need for centralized voting systems, without the need for single entities making final decisions. The people suggest how their community is run, and the people form the consensus. Again, the price is a possible slowdown in progress and innovation, but what is progress?
Societal progress is commonly thought of as technological advancement, strength in state issued currency, space travel and so on, but is that really progress in human prosperity? I don’t think so. I believe progress to be measured in the strength and contentment of a society. I believe the true strength of a nation is not whether it has allegedly visited the moon or sent robots to mars or become the world’s largest exporter of smartphones. None of this really has anything to do with progress, at least not one that secures the longevity of its civilization. Progress is securing the future of our civilization; it is to ensure we do not leave ourselves open to destruction from within. This, in my humble opinion, can only be done if we concentrate more of our efforts on decentralizing our way of life in every aspect, with societal governance being the endgame.
Be careful once again though to not get sucked in to the statements we hear from the WEF and other think tanks, who talk of a world without leaders, a world where everyone is equal and our systems are autonomous, these are all based on centralized system controlled by AI that is maintained by a powerful centralized authority – if we reach this point, we have reached dystopia, not the utopia they are dressing it up as.
Look Around And Ask….
Look around yourself, your local environment and beyond, what aspects of your daily life do you think could be strengthened by decentralization?
The decentralization revolution hasn’t begun, and it may not. But we should all understand the importance of decentralization and how it is the answer to just about all the world’s problems. I’d love to hear your ideas on this, because there is opportunity everywhere I look, join us on Element (which is decentralized) and get involved!