One of the ideas I have been interested in for the past fifty years is the clash between centralism and decentralism in human affairs. Many times in these broadcasts I have disparaged centralized systems for beating up on ordinary people and their little civic platoons, as Edmund Burke called them.
Over the years I have clipped and copied and thrown stuff in boxes to do something with later – and finally I have gotten all those pieces organized into an online decentralism file.
As it stands it offers 124 selections from decentralist writings, starting with Lao Tze in 5th Century DC China. I invite you to go to centerforneweconomics.org/decentralism and rummage among those authors, most of whom you’ll never have heard of, but some maybe you have, like Aristotle, Thomas Jefferson, and even Ronald Reagan.
The hosting organization is the Schumacher Center for New Economics down in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, that I helped found in 1980 and served as board chair for a dozen years. It was created to promote the ideas in E.F. Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful, that came out in 1976. I wrote the introduction to the Harper & Row American edition in 1989.
One thing you can learn from this file is the breadth and extent of decentralist thinking over the centuries, and in many different cultures and unexpected places. It can be a fun trip. Again, it’s centerforneweconomics.org/decentralism.