I’m a Smallist. In 2009 our economy was rated by the National Security Agency as a higher threat to our national security than terrorism. One side blamed big government and the other blamed big business and big banks. But virtually no one was angry with local business or local government. This is very instructive as to where the problem is and where the solution lies.
It is universally accepted that “too big to fail” businesses that are cozy with big government who will bail them out are the cause of recessions, and small business brings us out of them with no assistance whatsoever. Yet both sides patronize and ignore small business and are committed to big business or big government getting even bigger.
The issue is not with capitalism, free markets, government systems or bureaucrats; the issue is simply “the problem of big”.
Macro-Decisions for Micro-Problems
One problem with “big” is that both giant corporations and massive federal government make macro-decisions (national) to solve micro-problems (local), and every time they do it, somebody gets left out, hurt or dismissed as decisions are made to benefit the 80% and ignore the 20%.
The other problem with big is that Macro-capitalism results in the accumulation of wealth and decision-making in the hands of a very few people in business, and macro-government results in the accumulation of power and decision-making in the hands of a very few politicians. And as we’ve seen throughout political history, the reality is that these two “bigs” have a parasitic relationship that both sides use regularly to preserve and grow their own centralization of wealth and power, all to the detriment of local business and local government.
Local Business and Local Government
Does small always work better than big? No. It is easy to find both local businesses and local government that make self-preserving decisions that aren’t in the best interest of their employees or customers. But the negative affects are not as damaging and are always more apparent. And removing that local politician or shunning that local business is a lot easier.
Micro-solutions for Micro-problems
Even with the best of intentions it is simply too big a task to ask macro-entities to solve local problems. The problem isn’t government or business, but simply the size, massive reach and slow-grinding gears of both.
We need to return to local government and local business for answers to our local problems, and push as many decisions down the food chain as possible. This is difficult for both national politicians and big business leaders because they lose control over their own macro-wealth or macro-power. There is a place for both big business and big government, but I believe we would be better off and safer as a nation with less of both.
Big is Still the Problem
Neither government or business is inherently good or bad, but the bigger any system gets the more difficult it becomes for it to truly serve those in the system. Our economy would flourish with more and smaller competition, and societal problems would find much better solutions closer to home than in D.C. This is why I’m such a fan of local businesses and local government and am so committed to seeing them both flourish.
My focus is to take local businesses from survival, through success to significance. The better we do this the more partners we will have to solve local problems and create great local communities everywhere.