Why decentralisation is a paradigm shift that will change the balance of power and wealth.
Many people, especially older generations, are fearful of authority and its manifestations today. They fear central banks, they fear Klaus Schwab and his World Economic Forum, they fear the United Nations, Bill Gates, 5G, and Google.
There is something about the idea of centralised power that is creating palpable fear deep in the primitive parts of our brains. The narrative, and its screeds of corroborative evidence, takes up hours of video viewing time and social media commentary, seemingly paralysing us from getting on with our life’s work, which presumably is to boldly and ambitiously express our ideas and talents before we die.
We have gone through tens of thousands of years of infinite iterations of centralised power and control, from chiefs to lords to kings to emperors to cabals to central bankers to parliaments. People submitted to this power, in exchange for protection and not having to think too much about how society was run.
The last century – supposedly the era of the triumph of Democracy over the evils of Fascism and Communism – also saw the exponential growth of government legislations and monetary interventions. The European Union alone built up over 100,000 legislative acts and regulations in 60 years! Paradoxically, the banner of democracy may have brought more meddling in our lives than previous tyrannies.
Our “Free Market Economy” is far from free, and has seen governments taking it upon themselves to interfere in all aspects of a nation’s economy, the rationale being that without their intervention, economies, which have run freely for millenia, would suddenly collapse in chaos.
The evidence, however, according to a group of economists called the Austrian School, is that the last century has seen the most violent business cycles in history, which also have included tragic economic outcomes for millions of people, both the poor and the middle-class. They say that these boom-bust cycles, far from being unpredictable according to governments, are actually caused by their monetary policies, and are analysable through simple economic principles.
These interventionist strategies were theoretically justified by the writings of John Maynard Keynes, whose hypotheses found favour among post-War government policymakers, followed by Monetarism, which has become the mainstay of interventionist economic practice.
The most outstanding voice of the Austrian School, Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973), says in his book Liberalism, that the true way for economies to find their natural balance, is for the price of every economic good to be found through the free market, that is, the decentralised subjective choices of everyone in society. Without this natural “price discovery,” there is no conceivable other way to determine policy decisions for important things like resource allocation, production, and distribution. That is why, he says, any form of central planning, from the tyrannical fascist to the benevolent socialist, cannot possibly be effective because it is not based on true and relevant information.
Mises cites as an example of a nearly-pure liberal period the decades before 1914. This was called “La Belle Époque, “ a time of free travel, free expression, wealth opportunity, free trade, an explosion of scientific theory, and world peace. The word “liberalism” subsequently took on a meaning that was directly opposite to its classical one, confusing people and turning many away from the ideal.
Since the terrible First World War, people accepted increased centralisation as the ostensible solution to wars and anarchy. This was a double-edged sword, and, eventually, every aspect of our life, from birth to death, was taken over by governments and their “experts.” We just accepted that this was the only way to ensure peace, stability, safety, and a reasonably comfortable existence.
But now we feel uneasy. The promises were not kept. We now have a damaged world we never asked for. The corruption of the system is increasingly evident. And so we create cynical narratives and let them play around in our minds, and we feel afraid.
However something else has also happened. We realise there is a solution to the stranglehold of centralisation. A disparate group of mathematicians, computer programmers, and visionaries have shown us that we can build an alternative, decentralised, reality. We can be our own bank, our own trader, and we can sell our creative works to the world, without greedy middlemen, and earn lifetime royalties. We can grow our wealth like never before. We can be co-owners of billion-dollar assets. We can create organisations that are managed by the owners, the token holders, and that can potentially address all our societal and environmental issues.
These same programmers are exploring many new applications, in the areas of finance, education, culture, and governance, using the foundational blockchain principles of transparency, immutability, privacy and non-censorship. In short, they are exploring how to dismantle the tyranny of centralisation, in a way that can never be reversed. For them, this is an incredibly exciting time.
The Blockchain is bringing an intoxicating sense of freedom, of infinite possibilities. This brings the potential of true liberalism, true laissez-faire economy, true lifestyle and career choice.
Centralised authority will feel its power being undermined, and will fight for its existence. This is a macrocosmic reflection of our own microcosmic struggles with the ego. The ego fears nothing more than the ceasing of its existence.
Centralised power will attempt to control the growth and spread of decentralisation through its main tool, regulation; of course, ostensibly to protect the people.
But the genie is out of the bottle. What has been seen in decentralisation cannot be unseen. I believe this is one of the biggest existential paradigm shifts in human history.
We will hopefully come to understand that decentralisation is natural and organic. If we allow the collective intelligence of society to make choices through a decentralised free market economy, we might end up choosing the obvious – peace, mutual care, stewardship of the environment, holistic health. Then the cabals, institutions and tech giants will become defanged and largely irrelevant, and will be forced to review their roles and their responsibility to society.
A little book is still being read in China 2500 years after it was written. Lao-Tse’s words, “Rule a country like you fry small fish,” meaning, don’t keep stirring but let the fish fry by itself – otherwise it will break up – is now even more apt in view of the last 100 years of interventionist “democracy.”
The decentralised Blockchain is opening up trading, working, and other engagement between people around the world, in ways that they freely choose. A totally free economy, as envisioned by the Austrian School of economists, could bring the balance and flow of wealth that we need after a century of meddling. I believe this will play into the hands of the young people who will fashion a world that we cannot even imagine.
Gerald gained a law degree in London, and has been a photographer, writer, natural health practitioner, yoga and aikido instructor, and digital media consultant. His passions are photographing the beauty of New Zealand, and how the Blockchain could offer wealth for every human.