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Sharon McCann

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What if both of these talks : decentralization of government and extreme wealth inequality occurred simultaneously?

Chystia Freeman lays out a documented provable fact: Wealth distribution globally has never been more unequal. And, then she shows us that this leads to a small group of people have extraordinary levels of control.

Benjamin Barber argues that central governance is not good for a global world and that what we really need is to remove the central perspective and let smaller, more decentralized leaders govern on a global scale. His particular target for this leadership role are city mayors.

But, what if both of these occurred at the same time? If you removed the nation-state as a ruling force would not that group of the global super rich - and their multi-national corporations move into the power void left behind? If they did what would the outcome be?

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  • Oct 1 2013: I agree that the take over has already happened. But, I think those nation states which have reasonably functioning representative governance (I am being careful with my terminology as I think the US' republic is not functioning correctly but remains salvageable) still have freedom of speech and protest and press etc with which to begin the change. The government is the only tool we have, we must take it back to the people who can then lessen corporate control. The problem is the number of people, like Barber, who are well studied and well intended who for some reason do not seem to see that they are dismantling the only thing preventing us from being corporate owned entities. His version of decentralized governance is naive at best and dangerous at worst and I fear the worst has already come.
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    Sep 28 2013: . .
    Then, there will be wars to overthrow the super-rich.
    If people know what invalid (harmful) happiness is, there will be another situation.
  • Sep 27 2013: couldn't agree more. it is cheaper and easier to buy power in the local government.
    • Sep 30 2013: And local governments cannot and will not be able to stand up when we see nations now having trouble standing up to multi-national corporations.
  • Sep 26 2013: Power is a zero sum game, and history abhors a vacuum, so I'd say that yes, if both processes were to take place, we'd all end up owned by some mega-corporation or another.

    The current system of large centralized governments is far from perfect, but given the alternatives, I think we ought to be glad its here to stay at least for the immediate future (and probably beyond that).
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      Sep 28 2013: The problem is not so much large centralised governments per se, but the fact that they are not doing their job - which is to regulate over-powerful corporations, and the banking system - (as well as changing the light-bulbs on dud street-lamps). In this way governments have betrayed the people.
      • Sep 30 2013: Joshua, the problem here in the States is that the libertarian wing of the Republican party is so busy dismantling centralized government that they have left the door wide open for the level of corruption and take over by corporations that has already happened. The Libertarian de-centralization policy is what caused this and will most certainly not be how we fix it. How do we get them to stop dismantling the only thing preventing the outcome?
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          Oct 1 2013: Hello Sharon,
          The intention of my comment was to be mainly about centralized government staying for the mean-time - but doing their job properly - which is to protect citizens from over-powerful businesses taking over.
          But as you comment, it seems already too late for that. This is also a world-wide phenomenon, perhaps most visibly seen in the last 20 years in the USA & UK. For me, it started in the 1980s in the Reagan-Thatcher era of privatisation where state assets owned by government (in theory on behalf of the people) were sold off into private hands.
          The danger is that any outcry now by the public of "protect us from these invasive mega-corporations!" is likely to result in the worst of both worlds worlds - fascist government, and no change with respect to corporate over-influence. Look at what has happened to the regulation of the banking industry after they recklessly threw the world into recession - all the calls for tighter regulation have amounted to absolutely nothing. This confirms your point that the 'take-over' has already happened.