Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The Causes of Decentralization

            In the chapter fourteen of “Law, Legislation and Liberty”, published in 1979, F. A. Hayek cited three causes of the progressive centralization of government powers: the main one was the danger of war; the second one was the necessity of dealing with the effects of natural disasters; and, finally, the third one was the assurance of a certain minimum income as a compensation for the dissolution of the personal ties of the small communities, which formerly cared of the persons who could not earn their living in the market, brought about by the extended society.

            Today, in 2015, it is interesting to question whether the inverse statement holds true: the dissipation of the danger of war, the international cooperation in case of natural disasters, and the financial aid to countries by supra-national entities contribute to decentralize the government powers. We are thinking of the referenda that are held among the members of the European Union concerning the independence of some of their regions: the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Spain, for example.

            The avoidance of war is the main objective of every supranational union and the humanitarian aid is now a moral duty of every country despite its affiliation to any international organization. The novelty that could imply a turn of events is the legal duty from the interstate union to provide its members with financial assistance. Normally, the financial aid to a country is based on the interest in preventing the dramatic social consequences of an economic collapse, i.e.: the third cause mentioned by Hayek of the process of progressive centralization of government powers.

            If the financial help to its members becomes a legal duty of the interstate union, then it will be more alluring for a region to leave the country it belongs to and switch to the direct assistance of the interstate union. Moreover, it will be easier for the interstate union to help a small region than it would be for a single member. In the case of The European Union, that is why we consider that the decisions to be made on the economic struggles of Greece will boost or diminish the process of fragmentation experienced by some of its members.

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