Decentralism and responsibility
Responsibility comes from immediacy.
If somebody leaves them on, I turn off the lights in the basement because I have immediate concern for my electric bill. People on our block clean up the spilled-over/blown-around papers on the street after the recycling crew has gone by because otherwise the street can look like a mess of litter. Our community culls invasives from the patch of woods and wild flora on its outskirts because otherwise it gets overgrown and problematic for our gardens.
It isn’t always, but the local government of a humanly-scaled municipality at least has the potential to be responsive to immediate concerns. It can be made aware personally and directly by local residents. Our current governmental scales are too big. When decision-making is too widespread, far-flung, remote, and opaque it tends to be impersonal, insensitive and even irresponsible, if not corrupt.
That’s why statist socialism sucks.
The modern left says it knows this.
The Green politics movement emerged during the seventies and eighties. The impetus wasn’t just a burgeoning ecological consciousness. It was also the desire for an alternative to extant capitalism and communism. The Greens advocated decentralization in a way that the traditional left had not: as a key principle. From the experience of the Soviet Union, etc. it had become clear that any attempt to direct-in-detail a complex industrial-scale economy from a centralized Planning Bureau was sheer folly. Talk about insensitive!
So now the left is contorting itself in an attempt to meld socialization with decentralization.
“All economic enterprises must be structured as cooperatives.”
“Run the economy democratically through citizen participation via internet surveys.”
The Reds tend to say that socialization is the primary principle and decentralization is secondary. The Greens should say the opposite.
Here’s my interpretation of our key value “Community-based Economics”:
Greens seek the deconcentration of wealth and power. We advocate an egalitarian economics which fosters sufficiency (meeting the basic the needs of everyone) while taking account of the natural limits of the Earth. We promote decentralization in the economic sphere as well as the political sphere. This would mean regionalizing economic activity as much as practical — in order to encourage local self-reliance, accountability, and responsibility.
Nothing about socialized property relations.
We disdain the economic empires that the large corporations have become, especially the multinationals. They have little regard for local communities. They drain resources from communities. Walmart funnels revenues back to Bentonville. Within the context of an economy that’s “of, by, and for the people,” the local bakery could be privately owned, publicly owned, or cooperative. What’s key is that it be embedded within and responsive to oversight by the community.