Fragmentation and the De-Optimization of Centralization

By Charles Hugh Smith

Many observers decry the loss of national coherence and purpose, and the increasing fragmentation of the populace into “tribes” with their own loyalties, value systems and priorities.

These observers look back on the national unity of World War II as the ideal social standard: everyone pitching in, with shared purpose and sacrifice. (Never mind the war killed tens of millions of people, including over 400,000 Americans.)

But few (if any) of these nostalgic observers note that history has no rewind button or reverse gear. It is impossible to recreate the national unity of World War II, as modern war is either specialized or nuclear. Neither enable mass mobilization.

Few observers note that World War II set the template for the next 60 years:the solution is always to further centralize power, control and money to serve the goals set by centralized authority.

The wartime economies of every combatant were optimized not just for production of war goods but for centralized command and control of that production.

We are now so habituated to centralized decision-making, control and power that we don’t even question the notion that a wildly diverse nation of 320 million people can be well-served by a single healthcare system that requires thousands of pages …read more