I talk a lot about decentralization—about how people should move away from centralized institutions and networks. Why is this necessary? After all, banks, social networks, ISP’s, and other institutions, while ominous, seem to serve our needs well enough.
Most have settled on the idea that these systems are the best we have, so we might as well use them. Others opt for a full or partial boycott, sacrificing utility for freedom.
The main problem with centralized systems is that they’re risky. In one case, the system fails, leaving large numbers of people without service until a fix is made or an alternative is built. In another case, the economy of scale these centralized systems enjoy leads first to conglomeration, then to monopoly.
If we wait to pursue decentralized alternatives only when the high prices and poor service of monopolistic organizations seriously affect our quality of life, it will be a painful process wresting ourselves of their grasp. Instead, let’s gradually supplant our centralized institutions with decentralized technology. The world could be a freer, more equitable place for it.