DownsizeDC.org
May 23, 2008
Decentralized Goodness
By Jim Babka
Quote of the Day:

"Research and development (R&D) activities undertaken by the business sector seem to have high social returns, while no clear-cut relationship could be established between (government funded) non-business-oriented R&D activities and growth."
-- from a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

Subject: Decentralized goodness

At Downsize DC, we do what we do because we want YOU to be rich.
We believe everyone could be vastly more affluent if the government spent less and did less, leaving increased resources for people like YOU to spend more and do more.
The U.S. Gross Domestic Product is about $14.5 trillion. Total federal spending is just shy of $3 trillion. The federal government takes a huge bite out of the national wealth.

We believe GDP would be vastly higher if federal spending was vastly lower.

Here at Downsize DC, we try to keep up with all the evidence that justifies this claim. We can't. There's simply too much. It's like trying to drink water from a fire hose. But here's just one example . . .

Everyone is feeling the pinch of increased gasoline prices. But that's nothing compared to the rate at which the cost of first class postage has risen. The average price of gasoline has increased 1,400% in the last 89 years, but the price of a first class stamp has risen 2,100%.

There are many reasons for this. Here's a big one: Government is a monopoly. It has no incentives to economize. Another problem is that spending decisions are made for political reasons, not because the social benefits outweigh the costs. Here's another example, that relates to the first one  . . .

The U.S. Postal Service has purchased more than 30,000 ethanol-capable trucks. This has caused their gasoline consumption to rise by more than 1.5 million gallons. A Postal Service study found that the new vehicles get as much as 29% fewer miles to the gallon.

Aren't you glad we have the government to solve our energy and environmental problems?

The American people are partly to blame because when they look to the politicians to solve problems they are appealing to the most wasteful, incompetent, and often harmful institution in the world -- Big Government.

The solutions to our problems can't come from the top-down. They can't be dictated by monopoly government. They must and they will come from the bottom-up. Solutions are found when creative individuals can profit by responding to the demands of consumers. Today's higher prices are the inventor's and the entrepreneur's signal to get to work.

The knowledge and ideas we need to solve our problems can't possibly be concentrated in Washington, DC. Knowledge and creativity are decentralized resources, dispersed across the entire world population. This is why the worst errors are centralized in the halls of government, while most of the truly viable solutions are decentralized.

This is true even of our environmental and energy problems. While the politicians are floundering in error, with their top-down mandates for mass-produced ethanol and farm subsidies that drive-up the cost of food, the decentralized sector of our economy is busy creating real solutions.

We recently reported on a breakthrough in solar power technology by Sunrgi. Their new solar cell technology concentrates the energy of sunlight by a factor of 1,600. But within days IBM announced a similar technology that concentrates sunlight by an even larger factor -- 2,300.

These are big and important breakthroughs, but it's vital to understand that they will not be THE SOLUTION to all of our energy related problems. That's because there will be NO SINGLE SOLUTION. Instead, there will be a host of developments, all of which, taken together, will contribute to a future world of clean, cheap energy.

The examples are as boundless as the evidence for government failure . . .

* Volkswagen will soon be offering a two-seated car that gets 230 miles to the gallon.
* A company called Aptera is already offering a really cool looking car that gets 300 miles to the gallon.

The point is not that everyone will want to drive these cars. The point is that not everyone will NEED TO.
A thousand different small solutions adopted in different measures by the people of the world will combine to create a bigger positive impact than any centralized, top-down scheme devised by know-it-all politicians.
If we want to, "think globally and act locally," then we must exert ourselves to prevent centralized government action, because such action is usually the cause of problems, rather than the solution to them.

We have a choice. We can either continue to support the centralized errors of politicians, or we can work to eliminate these errors in favor of the decentralized goodness provided by the voluntary sector.

Deciding in favor of decentralized solutions, and a Downsized DC, is a sure path to a more affluent life. This is what we want for you, and for ourselves. We are trying to do our part by devising ways to increase the cost politicians pay to expand government, while lowering the cost you pay to fight that expansion. We consider ourselves an important part of what we call the "more with less revolution."

We are now at the end of a productive week, and the end of the month is also drawing near. It's time to pay a few bills. If you can, please . . .

* Start a monthly credit card pledge. It could be as low as a few cents per day -- $3, $5, $10, $15, $20, or $25 per month. Or, . . .
* You can help us earn a $1,000 matching contribution from DC Downsizer James Marquart by making a one-time donation of $100 or more. Your contribution will be worth $200 to us! We've received 7 of these contributions. We only need 3 more.
* Help us with whatever size contribution you can afford. 

Your contribution is our budget. Your investment is our expansion. You can contribute here.

NOTE: If you want to forward this message to others (we hope you do!), or post it on your blog, it's okay to cut out the funding appeal. In addition, this message is also posted on our blog, and you can leave comments there if you so desire. 

Thank you for being a part of the growing Downsize DC Army.

Perry Willis
Communications Director
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.
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