A very thoughtful recent blog post makes the point that institutions that seem “decentralized” or claim that as a value often exhibit centralizing tendencies over time. Some recommendations:
- Be specific about what things you want to decentralize, and why. Regard decentralization as an ongoing process that can never be complete.
- Find checks and balances, so that it is harder for any set of actors to achieve centralizing power. Use multiple forms of decentralization and participation.
- Consider accountability: often what we really care about is accountability, and a centralized but accountable entity (such as a government antitrust enforcer) can limit the centralized and unaccountable power accumulation that we fear.