The Dangers Of Centralization

Markets tend to have redundancies. We generally refer to this characteristic as “competition.” When there is demand for a good or service everybody wants a piece of the action so monopolies are almost nonexistent in free markets. Statism, on the other hand, tends towards centralization. Where markets have competitors trying to provide you with the best good or service possible states actively try to push out any competition and establish monopolies.

The problem with centralization is that when a system fails any dependent system necessarily fails along with it. The State Department, which has a monopoly on issuing visas, recently experienced, what it referred to as, a computer glitch that effectively stopped the issuance of any visas:

The State Department says it is working around the clock on a computer problem that’s having widespread impact on travel into the U.S. The glitch has practically shut down the visa application process.

Of the 50,000 visa applications received every day, only a handful of emergency visas are getting issued.

I’m sure this news made the neocons and neoliberals giddy because it meant foreign workers couldn’t enter the country. But this news should give everybody cause for concern because it gives us another glimpse into how fragile statism is. In a free market this kind of failure would be a minor annoyance as another provider would need to be sought out.

Centralization is the antithesis of robustness, which is one reason statism is so dangerous. Under statism a single failure can really hurt millions of people whereas failures in a free market environment tend to be limited in scope and only insomuch as forcing customers to seek alternate providers.