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Hi, I've been posting this on the Capitalism, Socialism, Free Market, Command Economy, and Planned Economy wikipages. I post this here because I think this is the best article that fits the Decentralized economy model.

I don't think, however, that it would be quite fair to change this article into a Decentralized Economy article (obviously), but am wondering about taking out the aspects of decentralized economies out from here and into a separate article named that.

Here is my post on those other pages:

I actually think there should be a separate series for Captalism vs. Socialism vs. Free Market vs. Command Economy vs. Planned Economy vs. Decentralized Economies vs. Mixed Economies, as their definitions are somewhat intertwined.

I got out my econ notes from a while back, if someone wants to rewrite the article with these definitions assuming they get no objections, go ahead:

There are two different ways to catergorize an economy into two.

Little Regulation Heavy Regulation


Low Government Expenditure High Government Expenditure

Heavy regulation AND high government expenditure are command economies, heavily regulated economies are planned (price wages enforced by the Nazis for example (although I didn't mean the example to be so extreme)), little regulation is decentralized, low government expenditure is capitalist, high government expenditure is socialist, and free market is both low government expenditure and little regulation.

Note that these are very subjective, and are not as simple as saying "Above 50% government expenditure as a portion of the GDP is socialist," because France has above 50% government expenditure as a portion of GDP and some people refer to it as Capitalist and some as Socialist. Similarly the argument goes for little and heavy regulation, some may say that the U.S. is decentralized while others are extreme enough to say it's a planned economy, the difference in opinion comes from the subjectivity of the two terms (I, for example, say that the U.S. is a planned economy because I'm pissed off and opposed to the regulations on power companies; but that's my opinion). China considers itself Socialist, while many other consider it Capitalist. Some consider the Soviet Union Capitalist because of it's Black Market activities. And so on.

In other words:

Little Regulation AND low government expenditure=Free Market Economy

Little Regulation=Decentralized Heavy Regulation=Planned


Low Government Expenditure=Capitalist High Government Expenditure=Socialist

High government Expenditure AND heavy Regulation=Command Economy

Oh! And a mixed economy is any economy that is thought of as a mix between socialist and Capitalist, technically this is all countries, but it is also a subjective factor (Subjective in that the percentiles aren't really placed, it's not like below 10% government expenditure is Capitlist, from 10-90 is mixed, and Socialist is >90). Fephisto 16:23, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

There are much more specific names for more technical kinds of decentralisation, and when the ordinary person hears it, it's in the management or political context. Therefore, this article covers the political focus heavily and tries to finish with the point that there is usually a balance or limit where centralisation versus decentralisation applies.

This is tough, but worth hashing out. The political case is the hardest case as it involves decentralising assessment of risks of bodily harm, so that's why it gets such attention here.

An article on dialectical materialism could include the links to Darwin and Freud instead, I thought that the article on natural selection, and one on Freud's id, ego, superego theory should all refer to each other for the major influence that these views had on 19th century thought.

I'm not trying to advance Marx by crediting him with the theory of political decentralization, that's as much due to Smith's "invisible hand" and Ricardo's theories on labour, but the balance between Marx and Engels is actually the clearest statement of the *balance* between de/centralisation, and the way the state did and didn't act in arbitrary ways (that classicals had taken for granted), that the 19th century produced. Marx later become a real decentralizer in all ways, post 1872, and washed his hands of the "dictatorship of the proletariat" somehow being able to control bourgeois professionals (whose social capital and ability to deceive he considered himself to have under-estimated after the Paris Commune showed that bankers and lawyers and such could still reverse a workers' revolution by being sneaky ;-)).

This isn't true.....

In the more social sciences, however, decentralisation is not presumed to be quite so amenable to mathematical models. Throughout the 20th century, in parallel with the mathematical models, heuristics describing desirable means of political and of social decentralisation have relied more on dialectic methods or informal analysis. The modern study of this, and the origins of studies of decentralisation processes in sociology and in the political economy of socialism, dialectial materialism, is often traced to the two authors of the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels. Their views on this subject, along with Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection and Sigmund Freud's theory of id, ego, superego, were part of a very broad 19th century European movement opposed to both rationalism and the morality arising from the centralised systems of religious fundamentalism.

Much of 20th century sociological thinking is based on Michel's Iron law of oligarchy, which is at its heart is a mathmatical model of how organizations work.

  • Hmm... I think that depends on the country... some would say Weber and his thinking about bureaucracy and specialization defined it... but I grant the central importance of that thesis for this topic of decentralisation, and should drastically weaken the claim as stated. It's probably wrong way 'round... the 19th century thought was more dialectic and informal and challenged rationalist models, and the 20th century thought froze it into Weber's and Michel's respective models... which, now that I think about it, I learned about in object oriented analysis class, making the assertion totally wrong... hmm... shall you rewrite this, or shall I? What's wrong with it is the claims of what was driving what... not the statements of what was going on... 24
  • OK, the whole question of Weber's bureaucracy and Michel's oligarchy is irrelevant to this article... it reads far better jumping from Marx to Engels directly, since the only value that paragraph added was reference to centralized religious fundamentalism... which is a very tiny and maybe misleading part of Marx's analysis in this context. Sociology as such is more interesting here for studies of community/village *size* not structure, and that's mentioned near the end... finally, the Marx/Darwin/Freud thing definitely belongs in dialectical materialism, not here.
  • I'd be happy if a real sociologist commented on Weber and Michel here, but I'm not qualified to do it. What I know about them comes from technology circles...

umm... on the part: "total decentralization...anarchism" -this is wrong. Total decentralization is the antithesis of anarchism via the hyperextension of Foucault's panoptician. (esp. through media technologies such as the Internet and cell phones (see Marshall McLuhan) ) -- Kevin Baas

on engels, 2 more points. I agree that we should have a npov. (duh!) which means, ofcourse, that we should present objections and so forth, but when those objections miss the point, we should also show that, so as not to confuse people.

  1. from the article, it appears that engels misses the point. Esp. in contrast to the first part, where it describes decentralization in the foucaltian sense of subliminal and automatic social power relations.
  2. "in critical times" ... "division and dissent" -> this assumes that the right decision would otherwise be made. How can one justify this? This assumes that whoever is in power has "divine knowledge". Isn't it more dangerous, in critical times, to leave the decision in the hands of a few, or one? Especially in that those few or one have partial information, and must rely completely on their own self-discipline. (which is not something manufactured, but constructed by the discipline of society, which is in this case absent.) Is it less dangerous if few people decide or many? Which is more likely to produce the "right" decision? Which has more information, and more power to process that information? In any case, I think this argument should be presented along with engels'. It is a point of contention; it's a popular debate, and shouldn't be presented as "accepted valid reasoning", esp. if a "NPOV" is desired.

One additional point: it was brought up that there are different types of or aspects to decentralization. maybe this should be clarified; these separate territories discussed? Might we take into account, at this point, the general phenomena of the overlapping of different territories in a signifier? i.e. that different territories have encoded these signifiers differently; that semiotics is fragmented? might we accept this as a general principle? Esp. insofar that we are inclined to ask for a "NPOV", which implies the conflict of different territories? -Kevin Baas

The definition of decentralization in this section is quite different from the one that i am familiar with. Refer to page of mine for details. I see this as a major flaw. Most crucially, the definition that exists here is a mix between a modernist and a pre-modernist approach, when the term itself is a post-modern term. -Kevin Baas


I want to explain that I added this template not because the article is missing wikilinks--seems to have plenty. What it doesn't have is sections; it's one long introduction. This template was the closest fit I could find. --Trovatore 06:15, 4 October 2005 (UTC)


I disagree with Decentralism redirecting to Decentralization. The latter term defines a process in business, economics, and politics, whilst the former is a philosophy advocating the breakdown of large institutions (be they nation-states, corporations, or governments) into smaller, more easily managable, and more democratic forms. In the latter half of the 20th century, men like E. F. Schumacher, Leopold Kohr, and Ivan Illich emerged as radical advocates for Decentralism, and there ought to be an article to explore their ideas, as well as their predecessors (such as Ralph Borsodi). It is my intention, in future, to create such an article. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 18:22, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Obviously a full article needs to be created. On my long to do list. In the meantime, I think I'll add to intro to political theory. CarolMooreDC (talk) 18:37, 5 April 2011 (UTC)


I am editing to make the introduction a bit better.Rajankila (talk) 11:47, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

What is this?[edit]

I was reading the Political Theory section and it's horrible. I don't want to sound like a jerk, although I am a jerk, but it's biased AND poorly written. I'm thinking of removing it, putting the text here on the talk page as not to lose it. Anyone disagree? Beam 19:14, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Too focused on politics[edit]

I feel this article is too focused on the political aspects of decentralisation - it's all about decentralisation of state and society. But decentralisation is also an important concept in corporate governance, as demonstrated by Jan Wallander of Handelsbanken, for example. How could this aspect be fitted in? Tamino (talk) 23:01, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

This article needs to be completely re-written[edit]

This article is full of spam, promotions, and nonsense. The real meaning of decentralization is lost. Needs to be completely re-written. I'm not an expert on the subject and that's why I'm not taking this endeavor myself. Pm master 15:52, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

The article is very good, it can still be made better (there is always scope for improvement)[edit]

Don't just say that the article is bad or nonsense or horrible etc. The article is reasonably good, though it can be made better. There is always a scope for improvement. This article clarifies many concepts and I found some of its sections to be very useful.

If you can't edit it constructively, don't say it is nonsense. BE CONSTRUCTIVE. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Helpingforum (talkcontribs) 17:55, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

Decentralization of Environmental Management[edit]

First, thanks for this article. I'm researching the underlying causes of deforestation, and I was wondering what the hell all the World Bank papers talking about "decentralization" of forest management actually meant. On that note, however, there's a couple issues that should probably be addressed. The first is Hardin's "Tragedy of the Commons" scenario. While it did provide a useful justification for the privatization of natural resources, its acceptance has been far from universal. Even the World Bank has recently admitted that privatizing formerly public land has exacerbated deforestation in some cases, particularly when dealing with lands formerly managed under communal tenure arrangements (e.g. indigenous communities). A number of other, less guarded assessments of the World Bank's decentralization efforts describe them as anything from "largely ineffective" to "devastating." One of the more common objections to TotC is that it creates a false dichotomy. In actuality, lands that Hardin describes as "commons" are frequently governed, either at a communal level or a societal level. In many cases, privatization has disrupted this governance and resulted in an even more rapid depletion of the resource. World systems theorists have also pointed out that the international composition of power is such that when natural resources in a developing, non-industrialized, or--in their terms--periphery country are "decentralized" from public management, control frequently ends up shifting to a multinational corporation based in a core country (i.e. control over the resource moves even further from the local level). That said, the State has obviously not always been an exemplary steward of public resources, either, and some conflicts take place between common property institutions and the State (this is particularly true in Southeast Asia, where States have displaced indigenous communities or tried to force them into peasant production in the name of conservation). I'm a bit busy at the moment, but I can try to come back and make some of these changes when I have a moment. A few sources I'd suggest offhand would be Monboit's "The Tragedy of Enclosure," Peluso's "Rich Forests, Poor People," Reddy's "Communal Forests, Political Spaces," and Richards' "Common Property Resource Institutions and Forest Management in Latin America" (okay, so four sources).

Napzilla (talk) 15:09, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

Rewrite of article[edit]

Ok, it took two weeks but per the tags {Essay-like|December 2010} and {Refimprove|April 2011}, I rewrote it. Did use most of the substantive material from good sources and actually inlined sourced it; found sources for a couple good things that were unsourced; removed a lot of WP:OR.

Still in progress: Will do another copyedit tomorrow. Also: Need to put further reading in better order, add a few things. A couple refs have to find or misplaced are noted; have more info for the "challenges" section (including the ref to source that described it that way), some of it more critical; could use more on technology. And I have some miscellaneous points made by WP:RS in a list of things I probably will add at some future time, depending on any commentary here. CarolMooreDC 21:59, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

Orphaned references in Decentralization[edit]

I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of Decentralization's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.

Reference named "Noam Chomsky 2004, p. 739":

Reference named "Ostergaard 1991. p. 21":

I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT 06:27, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

WP:OR section on "Libertarian socialist decentralization"[edit]

Having see User:Euden add much of the same material to libertarianism, even though a complete reference check showed little of it even mentioned libertarianism, I have a feeling that most of it does not even mention decentralization at all and is WP:OR. I've tagged it and when get a chance will remove irrelevant material. Or the editor can actually quote in the text of footnotes material that explicitly uses "decentralization". Thanks. User:Carolmooredc 12:56, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Gosh, I was just about to write the exact same thing here. I can see the editor reverted whatever I did. Well, will put it higher on my list and check sources more thoroughly to remove those that do not mention decentralization explicitly.
I realized it is best to create a new major section on ideological decentralization (there are more forms than current two sections on libertarian socialism and free market, including various other libertarian political decentralist solutions. Also moved some more general material to government section. User:Carolmooredc 16:53, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

"Section on Libertarian Socialist Decentralization.. This section focusses [sic] on anarchism and is largely irrelevant for decentralization."

Libertarian socialism variant (social anarchy) is very much about decentralization and subsidiarity. However, within an overall structure that maintains rights and duties. The emphasis on the balance and reconciliation between individuality and sociality stronger suggests this concept. Hence, libertarian socialism...

Nantucketnoon (talk) 07:20, 17 December 2019 (UTC)

I'll leave it up to you. (Decentralized planning (economics))[edit]

The article about economic planning is the only relevant article that exists here. At least people have some sort of idea as to how decentralization works within economies. That's why it says, see also and not, main article. But if you have an aversion to socialism then leave it out. Just know that theoretical socialism is very far from what has been practiced in countries like, say, China. China is actually state capitalism. Soviet Russia was also said to be state capitalism. See the second paragraph in the article, Marxism-Leninism. Decentralization has its roots in theoretical socialism, whether you want to accept it or not. To be fair, it also has as its foundation libertarianism, something I see you're fond of. Lighthead þ 19:35, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

Frankly, I haven't been able to work on the article for more than a year. I only noticed onr really off thing haven't had a chance to fix. Hope to look at it soon - maybe even this week!! Anyway, I definitely think a summary of the article Decentralized planning (economics) can have it's own section or issues mention in both the Government decentralization sections (especially where already practiced) and the ideological decentralization sections. It's just not the main article for either. I put it in the section header as a reminder to myself or anyone else. Or feel free to work on it yourself. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 19:46, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
What I can do is write something in that section about economic planning, and quote something directly from that article, as well as use a reference from that article. Do you mind if I do that? I'll get started on it, but just let me know here if you have any problems with it. Lighthead þ 21:27, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
I just put it in that section. You can modify it or move the paragraph up or down as you wish. Lighthead þ 21:45, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

Dr. Shah's comment on this article[edit]

Dr. Shah has reviewed this Wikipedia page, and provided us with the following comments to improve its quality:

General Comments: This article almost completely ignores the mainstream literature on decentralization; fails to provide a balanced view of the concept, its development and real world applications; mis-defines basic concepts and misinforms the reader about the relevant literature and its contributions. The article is replete with long quotations that do not inform but often mislead about the subject. A reader would be well advised not to treat this article as a useful reference on this subject.

Specific Comments "Decentralization is the process of redistributing or dispersing functions, powers, people or things away from a central location or authority.[1]" No, decentralization is not about "dispersing people or things.

"Economic and/or political decentralization can help prevent or reduce conflict because they reduce actual or perceived inequities between various regions or between a region and the central government." Quite the opposite most likely to happen unless national government ensures a common internal market free of barriers to trade and factor mobility accompanied by equalization programs that ensure universal access to reasonably comparable level of public services at comparable burden of taxation nationwide.

It is "more than a process, it is a way of life and a state of mind." Hyperbole with little clarity of its meaning.

"Political decentralization aims to give citizens or their elected representatives more power". Very imprecise. Political decentralization refers to the local residents' empowerment to elect or appoint representatives directly and hold them to account, and the right to provide direct oversight of local institutions, including the recall of elected officials, overturning local council decisions through referenda (direct democracy provisions).

Administrative decentralization not defined. It refer the ability of local governments to hire, fire and set terms of reference for own employees and on the human resource management and government organization framework.

"The European Union follows the principle of subsidiarity, which holds that decision-making should be made by the most local competent authority." No, it states that public decision making for all function rests with the lowest order of government unless a convincing case can be made for higher order assignment.

"Deconcentration, the weakest form of decentralization, shifts responsibility for decision-making, finance and implementation of certain public functions[72] from officials of central governments to those in existing districts or, if necessary, new ones under direct control of the central government." No, under de-concentration, some central government decision making is shifted from the capital to the central government officials and agencies with physical presence in regional and local/municipal locations in rest of the country.

"Delegation passes down responsibility for decision-making, finance and implementation of certain public functions to semi-autonomous organizations not wholly controlled by the central government, but ultimately accountable to it. It involves the creation of public-private enterprises or corporations, or of "authorities", special projects or service districts." No. it means local governments are authorized to deliver specified central functions.

"Fiscal decentralization means decentralizing revenue raising and/or expenditure of moneys to a lower level of government while maintaining financial responsibility." No, "while (central government) maintaining financial responsibility" is not correct.

"Fiscal decentralization means decentralizing revenue raising and/or expenditure of moneys to a lower level of government while maintaining financial responsibility.[50] While this process usually is called fiscal federalism." No, it is not fiscal federalism. Fiscal federalism refer to appropriate balance and divisions of power within a multi-order governance system to suit local circumstances - implying both centralization of certain functions while decentralization of others.

Section on Libertarian Socialist Decentralization.. This section focusses on anarchism and is largely irrelevant for decentralization.

Section on Free market decentralization. The discussion in this section is about private monopolies and cartels and not relevant for decentralization.

Section on Technological decentralization. Not very useful.

Section on critique. Need to be integrated with various sections.

"It has been noted that while decentralization may increase "productive efficiency" it may undermine "allocative efficiency" by making redistribution of wealth more difficult." No, allocative efficiency relate to appropriate sectoral allocation choices consistent with local people preferences to advance local welfare.

"Effective Judicial System, Citizens’ Oversight and Anticorruption Bodies to prevent Decentralization of Corruption. "

Empirical evidence shows that in most developing countries ant-corruption bodies lead to a higher incidence of corruption.

We hope Wikipedians on this talk page can take advantage of these comments and improve the quality of the article accordingly.

Anwar Shah (Ph.D. economics) is Senior Fellow Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, USA, Advisor/Consultant, World Bank and Director of the Centre for Public Economics, SWUFE, Wenjiang, Chengdu, China He has previously served the World Bank (23 years), Asian Development Bank, Canadian Ministry of Finance, the Government of Alberta and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. At the Canadian Ministry of Finance, he was responsible for federal fiscal transfers to provinces for health, education and equalization. With the Government of Alberta, he was responsible for provincial fiscal transfers to local governments and municipal annexation and incorporation issues. He has published more than two dozen books and numerous articles in leading journals. His recent books include Fiscal Federalism (with Robin Boadway), by the Cambridge University Press, The Practice of Fiscal Federalism: Comparative Perspectives, published by McGill-Queen’s University Press, Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers, Local Governance in Developing Countries and Performance Accountability and Combating Corruption by the World Bank and Fiscal Incentives for Investment and Innovation, by the Oxford University.

ExpertIdeasBot (talk) 00:30, 30 September 2016 (UTC)

Anwar: you say at end, "Empirical evidence shows that in most developing countries ant-corruption bodies lead to a higher incidence of corruption." That seems unlikely. Maybe not higher incidence but higher level of reporting, which would be a sign of success. Errantius (talk) 22:49, 28 January 2020 (UTC)


I feel like cyberocracy fits in this article somewhere. I don't have any citations to refer to, so I am not appending it just yet. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Candide124 (talkcontribs) 02:35, 11 December 2017 (UTC)

False Fact[edit]

"[The] first decade of the 20th century businesses were highly decentralized and competitive, with new businesses constantly entering existing industries. There was no trend towards concentration and monopolization."


"The formation of the Standard Oil Trust in 1882 effectively established a monopoly..." "Although consolidation did advance the large-scale production and distribution of oil products, many critics believed that the resulting concentration of economic power was becoming excessive. In 1906 the U.S. government brought suit against Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) under the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890; in 1911 the New Jersey company was ordered to divest itself of its major holdings—33 companies in all." "...[C]ontrolling 90% of the industry's refineries and pipelines."

So, obviously, that first statement, included in the article, is false.

Nantucketnoon (talk) 07:10, 17 December 2019 (UTC)

"Socialist confederalism" listed at Redirects for discussion[edit]


An editor has asked for a discussion to address the redirect Socialist confederalism. Please participate in the redirect discussion if you wish to do so. signed, Rosguill talk 19:06, 28 January 2020 (UTC)

Decentralized finance[edit]

Need to add "Decentralized Finance (DeFi)", which seems to be growing in the crypto market - example. Errantius (talk) 22:40, 28 January 2020 (UTC)