Centralization and You

Ten or twelve years ago I took a trip to Virginia with my brothers.  There we visited a famous farmer and listened to him speak as we toured his spread.  Aside from the gorgeous scenery and amazing farm, he said a few things that piqued my interest. 

Not least among them was his claim that the long-term (350 year) movement toward centralization in this world had peaked.  I can’t remember if he said the peak topped when the USSR toppled, but it peaked.  Maybe someday the experts will look back and point to the below as the peak, but the more I live, read, observe, and think, the more I agree with him. 

Lately I’ve been slogging through pages and pages of technical market analysis (some so incomprehensible that I am sure it was written by relatives of ancient aliens).  Between trying to decipher the importance of foreign exchange markets relation to the dollar’s strength and the quantitative theory of money, I have felt like I’m spending my off hours, blindfolded, and mentally swimming through watery concrete.  Here and there, I pop up for air and understand a sentence or two. Then, it’s back down again. 

One such breath of air came during a discussion of our modern banking system.  The article is ancient – written in 2009 – by a former IMF bigwig.  In it (https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/05/the-quiet-coup/307364/) he clearly calls for the banking system’s decentralization.    Regional decentralization, he says, is necessary to break up the enormous power of today’s banking oligarchy.  Alas, that wasn’t done in 2009 or ‘10 or ’11 or ‘19.  The rape of the American middle class wasn’t painful enough to spur regular folks to force such change.  The housing market collapse (caused by big bank’s mortgage backed security scandal) that wiped out half of the average American’s personal equity didn’t do it, either.  Nor did the blatant middle finger the banks gave the average American by paying multi-million-dollar bonuses to higher-ups using bailout money.

Whew!  That’s some awful stuff.  Truly terrible.  But we took it.  Sure there were televised Senate hearings and such, but let’s be honest.  Those play the same role in this current system that voting does.  They effect no real change.  Mostly they  simply put on a good enough show to keep pacified the minority that’s still paying attention. 

But the point remains.  If a decades (some say centuries) long shift to centralization has topped (or is now topping), signs should be everywhere, right? We’d see political movements all over the world surprisingly electing outsiders, and growing secession movements.  We’d see enormous excesses from the biggest power.  Excesses that delegitimized them in the eyes of the rest of the world. From monetarily to militarily and everything in between, we’d see some superpower rule across the globe.  It would throw it’s weight around, robbing and killing from its own and foreigners alike, leaving such a wake of destruction that regular folks would remember for generations their desperate need to decentralize everything and rule themselves. 

I don’t know.  Maybe that IMF fellow’s wrong.  I’m not sure there’s a country out there doing any of that stuff yet.

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