How would a decentralized system support the community in a crisis as opposed to the support centralized systems are providing now?
When there is no centre any initiative has to come from the community. That seems to be happening in some countries at least with regard to the current situation.
I see no reason why a decentralised system couldn’t provide anything governments are currently doing — it’s mostly a matter of scale. The nation-state as we currently know it is a fairly recent phenomenon too, although the systems of control it relies on are older.
Of course anything that requires a great degree of specialisation (f.e. ICUs in hospitals) would still have to be pooled anyway, for obvious practical reasons.
But the main issue with building decentralised systems is that they place a lot more responsibility on the individual. And in our current model, many people are neither educated nor equipped to participate in a more grassroots paradigm.
Our educational system is a great resource for those looking to educate themselves, but mostly it seems to be geared towards popping out worker drones to keep the system running.
In the current crisis I see many people who are worried but keeping a level head, and being proactive in doing what is best for themselves and those around them. Many more citizens are badly shaken by this disruption of their daily routine, and are so hopelessly dependent on the system (for lack of a better word) that they’re barely keeping it together – these are the people who panic and start blindly stockpiling whatever “essential” supply they think of first. And then there are some who’d almost make me rethink my stance on eugenics…
That, IMO, is usually the greatest obstacle on the path toward decentralisation. Teach people responsibility and critical thinking, and most (bar the occasional psychopath) will be able to participate.
As for “how would a decentralised system solve a crisis like this”, well, I don’t know. I’m sure they’ll figure something out, but nobody here can (or should) predict that.
For this I’ll refer to Italian anarchist (or “decentralizer” ) Errico Malatesta, who was asked a similar question at least once too often:
That’s all very well, some say, and anarchy may be a perfect form of human society, but we don’t want to take a leap in the dark. Tell us therefore in detail how your society will be organised. And there follows a whole series of questions, which are very interesting if we were involved in studying the problems that will impose themselves on the liberated society, but which are useless, or absurd, even ridiculous, if we are expected to provide definitive solutions. What methods will be used to teach children? How will production be organised? Will there still be large cities, or will the population be evenly distributed over the whole surface of the earth? And supposing all the inhabitants of Siberia should want to spend the winter in Nice? And if everyone were to want to eat partridge and drink wine from the Chianti district? And who will do a miner’s job or be a seaman? And who will empty the privies? And will sick people be treated at home or in hospital? And who will establish the railway timetable? And what will be done if an engine-driver has a stomach-ache while the train is moving? … And so on to the point of assuming that we have all the knowledge and experience of the unknown future, and that in the name of anarchy, we should prescribe for future generations at what time they must go to bed, and on what days they must pare their corns.
If indeed our readers expect a reply from us to these questions, or at least to those which are really serious and important, which is more than our personal opinion at this particular moment, it means that we have failed in our attempt to explain to them what anarchism is about.
Might initiating the thinking of the need for eugenics be an element of this crisis? As in, first, cull the herd…
Trolling is not welcome here, I haven’t flagged you yet, but it’s borderline…
I was being flippant there, as I’m sure you at least suspected. Aaanyway… I’ll play along just this once:
I’m sure some of the more authoritarian and/or elitist-thinking individuals would gladly take that and run with it.
Personally I draw the line at indulging in the occasional cathartic daydream about brutally beating a particularly obnoxious individual.
But I never want to be put in a position where I get to decide which part of the population gets to live and which should be liquidated. I wouldn’t trust anyone, including myself, with that kind of power.
And those who would have no objection to assuming such responsibility, well… they’re the ones we ought to shoot first, in self-defense.
P.S. That last line was, again, not meant to be taken quite so literally, as I’m sure you at least suspected. Let’s not push our luck, mkay?