Complexity and Globalization
…In response to globalization, many states have over centralized due to a loss of local control. These centralized efforts haven’t resulted in a single hierarchy, but rather a plethora of overlapping and often conflicting efforts that routinely trump local authority (an example of how complexification in response to environmental stimulus is now providing negative returns on investment). The remoteness, obscurity and opacity of these parallel “authorities” add to the equation…
“Once the legal monopoly of armed force, long claimed by the state, is wrested out of its hands, existing distinctions between war and crime will break down much as is already the case today in . . . Lebanon, Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Peru, or Colombia.” Martin van Creveld.
States may not have an option. The catch is that if the national government doesn’t/can’t step in to rectify a decline in local control, forms of organic security… will replace them.
Is he talking about how local societies and built-up groups can inherently have more affect on their neighbourhood than over-beurocratic imposed orders from a national government? Nope – he’s talking about insurgencies and guerrilla warfare. Read his blog (and book when it comes out!) – it’s fascinating stuff.
In all these explorations of how I want neighbourhoods to restore control to themselves and foster bottom-up organisational methods, it’s important to remember that things might not necessarily go smoothly. In fact I’d say they almost certainly won’t. I’m hoping that the starting point (middle class British suburbia) already contains enough respect for order and peace that things wouldn’t shift too badly towards anarchy, but power vacuums are always risky – no matter how small.