Sinking Into The Centralized Cesspool Of Corruption, Cronyism, And Sclerosis

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Charles Hugh-Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Those urban regions that pursue decentralized, networked, localized solutions will likely prosper as the adaptive advantages of these principles pay self-reinforcing dividends.

In yesterday's entry, I suggested that rather than bemoan the inevitable failure of centralized "fixes," let's turn our efforts to the real solutions: decentralized, networked, localized. To commentators such as Richard Florida, decentralized, networked, localized describes cities.

He describes the transition from central states imposing solutions to cities being the incubators of solutions as The Most Disruptive Transformation in History: How the clustering of knowledge lays bare the need to devolve power from the nation-state to the city.

Florida has authored three books on the increasing concentration of the "creative class" and capital in urban zones--cities and their surrounding satellite cities, suburbs and exurbs: The Rise of the Creative Class and Who's Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life.

More recently, he addressed the soaring costs of living in these urban area in The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class—and What We Can Do About It.

Florida's main thesis is straightforward: solutions are coming from city governments, institutions and enterprises, not central states. Since the world's populace has rapidly urbanized, this transformation affects the majority of people in both the developed and developing worlds.

I've often written about the need to move from centralization to decentralization: centralized command-and-control mechanisms are optimized for the economy and society of the late 1940s - early 1960s, not the economy/society of today that is being creatively disrupted by the 4th Industrial Revolution (digital communications, software, automation, robotics, Internet).

Florida's premise makes a great deal of common-sense, for the basic reason that different cities face different problems (or different versions of the same problem), and each regional mega-city is embedded in a different state and economy.

Cities also have different resources and dominant political cultures.

In effect, devolving political power to cities would enable a suite of local solutions rather than a single "fix" imposed by a topdown centralized authority.

This article illustrates the spectrum of cities (the categories are somewhat arbitrary, of course): The Megacity Economy: How Seven Types Of Global Cities Stack Up.

To understand why the city may be the ideal political-social-economic unit to manage successful adaptation, look at these three maps of the U.S. The first reflects the GDP generated within each county; the second shows real growth in GDP by region, and the third displays the wages of the so-called "creative class"--those with high-demand skillsets, education and experience.

The spikes reflect enormous concentrations of GDP. This concentrated creation of goods and services generates jobs and wealth, and that attracts capital and talent. These are self-reinforcing, as capital and talent drive wealth/value creation and thus GDP.

Unsurprisingly, there is significant overlap between regions with high GDP and strong GDP expansion. The engines of growth attract capital and talent.

Those urban regions that pursue decentralized, networked, localized solutions will prosper as the adaptive advantages of these principles pay self-reinforcing dividends.

Those urban regions that pursue the hierarchical, one "solution" fits all, high-cost bureaucratic model of central states will sink into the same cesspool of corruption, cronyism, sclerosis and failure to adapt that characterize central states.

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jamesmmu's picture
The Internet Will Soon be Under Complete Agenda Driven Control, It’s Time for an Alternative

papaswamp's picture

Grow that food in.... well wait get your water from.... oh yea... well energy....damn it!!

Pinche Caballero's picture

Nailed it! And, therein lies that particular dilemma- how to feed said masses of highly skilled metro-sexual consumers who don't/can't feed themselves.

Much like my beautiful velvet Elvis wall-hanging versus some old Monet. I can take the wall-hanging down and roll up in it if need be. How this article define's "producers" leaves me dumbfounded.

Live in the city? No thanks! Being removed from the land and herded into the cities was at the start of the rise of America's consumer-oriented culture. Look where it's led to, almost as if by design... Naw, couldn't be!

Watch the clueless swarm out of those destitute shit piles in search of people who can produce something of real value and practical use, WHEN the need arises. Everyone wants to be so f--kin' connected to technology, they've lost the ability to live in the natural environment, or even at least mix the two.

DrData02's picture

Yeah, The highest level of government will be the city state. That should work well. I can see the federal and state governments willingly agreeing to the transformation. Hold your breath, it should be soon.

Catahoula's picture

The author has had an epiphany. Nothing new. Way of the world

venturen's picture

I call bull on the crony economy....silicon valley comes up with a complete crock is pedaled by Wall Street which IPO's it....knowing it will fail....billions are collected....pension funds, insurance and investors are shafted. The large mega banks need to be broken up....all else irrelevant.


They bribe Washington to give them whatever they want....and they sell it to pension fund and large investors...WHO THEY BRIBE to take it....the buy side buyers....aren't paid well and actually...COULD CARE LESS What happens as the sell side straight up BRIBE THEM.


Remind me against why I gave trillions to rescue a bunch of criminal bankers who destroyed the system? They are all there RICHER than ever!


KILL THE MEGA BANKERS...or all is lost! Forget trying to build stuff....Wall Street COULD CARE LESS. While you are at it...GOOGLE and FACEBOOK SHOULD BE BROKEN UP...Google controls information at this point....and they straight up doctor it!

venturen's picture

last I recall about 50% of all Wall STreet money flows through about 3-4 firms...Goldman, JP Morgan, BOA, CITI...

Kurt1963's picture

ok, so the dark blue make all "this ' money.....but how much is a G#d Damn coke in NYC????...or L.A.?????.....I'm just sayin'......cost of livin' you f#cking genius......cost of living..................................................................     :-)

esum's picture

Fucking useless cocksuckers

Sledge-hammer's picture
Sledge-hammer (not verified) Mar 14, 2017 7:16 PM

Interesting how 10% or our nation's wealth is concentrated in NYC/NJ.  One would almost think that it had been planned and executed for generations by (((someone))).  And, certainly, there was no cronyism or corruption involved.

jewish_master's picture

what NY produce again? dollars? 

Solio's picture

Overlay Where the PizzaI Is onto the Where the Money Is chart, just for cuiriosity sake.

Faeriedust's picture

"Creative class" my ass.  It's been known since ancient Greece that cities vacuum up the wealth of the countrysides by COLLECTING RENTS/TAXES.  Those who have become wealthy from such rents, then splurge on living it up in high-status digs, patronizing the "middle classes" of fancy artisans, coutiers, and home decorators.  Hasn't changed much since Corinth was THE place to go for luxury (the Corinthians controlled the strategic portage between the Aegean and Ionian Seas and collected hefty tolls for the crossing).

Those high peaks on the income map aren't the signs of productive activity.  They're the tentacles of the Vampire Squid.


Common_Law's picture

An easy way to decentralise within our current legal framework would be to make more people state citizens instead of Federal Citizens. 

Because, if the feds only power in the states is through the commerce clause how are all of us in their jurisdiction? (think IRS)

Part of it has to do with there being 3 separate legal definitions of the term "united states" as shown by the supreme court in [Hooven & Allison Co. v. Evatt, 324 U.S. 652 (1945)]

And as we all know ignorance of the law is not an admissable plea. 

Tons more info here:

Hongcha's picture

CHS and doomsayers in general are beside themselves.  Their returns over the last 6-7 years have been abysmal.  But they will be right some day!

Stick with it!

Cloud9.5's picture

It is easy to imagine such things while you are in the corner pub surrounded by the beautiful people.  When the food is good and the beer is cold it is easy to overlook the complexity that made your moment of bliss happen.  An economic meltdown, a grid collapse, a supply chain disruption and your blissful megacity becomes uninhabitable in less than a week.

Sixtus VI's picture

Full circle...from Empire back to City State in reverse progression via historical regression. However, the main point is true regarding the best source of solutions is the smallest governmental unit closest to an issue or problem, barring a nuclear event and destruction of infrastructure permanently.

DelusionsCrowded's picture

In my opinion Decentralization is the only way to maintain some sort of ordered reality to human economic involvement and activity . As machines and robots end up commoditizing manufacturing industries , its really quite pointless for millions of people to be crammed into huge cities , there is no scale advantage . Many most services are becoming internet based one does need to live in the 'hum' of a large city to get all the services they used to offer .

The rat race has become the sheeple effect .

Yet our politicans keep building and encouraging larger more choked metropoliis with larger house etc . To sit in a car for hours to get to work where you service the need of this (artifically) choking city that you have created ?Idiotic .


Where ever I look I see a politican and a lawyer at the bottom of all of societies problems . They have gone feral and are tearing up the landscape .