Does every civilization contain the seeds of its destruction? Maybe the historians are right when they publish learned tomes describing trends and signals of certain decline in highly organized cultures. Conservatives sometimes claim when the ‘takers’ out number and out vote the ‘givers’ the end is coming. Maybe, maybe not. Another signal I’ve recently heard is fascination or obsession with spectator sports or games is a sure sign we’re sledding downhill. Again, maybe. I don’t find either of those or a number of others, persuasive.
My own worry is the embedded drive in humans to continue the process of centralization. Defined as combining segments of government, business or religion into fewer and fewer segments where fewer and fewer people make decisions. This process expands the scope of control beyond the ability of anyone to be an effective manager and steward of public funds. It is all part of the desire to make things better. Watch, when things go ‘wrong’ the cry is, put someone in charge. Make someone responsible. 9/11 gave us that opportunity. Something was wrong. How else could such blow strike our homeland? A conservative government, under President Bush, moved to fix the problem. By, of course, putting pieces of government together under a central control. To start with the pieces of government in their separateness, were not well managed. Many of them were already too large.
Today Homeland Security, is an example of centralizing management until you reach numbing inefficiency. Another example is the DNI organization. The Director of National Intelligence is about the worst fix anyone could have made to improve the collection, analysis and dissemination of intelligence. I defy anyone to prove money is being saved or that the product produced has been improved. Top managers of such over centralized organizations don’t have a clue to what is happening in the trenches. Their main concern is often getting enough reporting from the far reaches of their commands to make them look credible, especially when briefing the President or appearing before an aggressive group of journalists or legislators.
Unfortunately both our main political parties are vulnerable to the drive to fix things by centralization. National Health Care or Obamacare, Dodd Frank, over reaches of OPA and the Department of Energy are examples of good intentions leading to disastrous unforeseen consequences.
While some centralization is necessary, decentralization is the sure path to renewed growth and vitality in both business and government. Good people in charge of manageable organizations can fix problems. Over centralization cannot.
by the author of the Jack Brandon thriller series http://www.factsandfictions.com