Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Explaining the Great Freedom Reversal

 In a paper co-authored by Xavier De Vanssay (Glendon College, Toronto), we present an explanation of the general, worldwide, wave of economic, civil and political freedoms that reversed the previous, century-old trend towards centralization, authoritarianism, market suppression and statism that characterized most economies since the end of the XIXth century.

The paper is available online here, and is published today in the Review of Austrian Economics (the paper version will come later).

To make a long story short we claim that the social demand for individual rights – or freedoms (whether civil, political or economic) – is derived from, because complementary to, the changing size of hierarchical organizations, and that the general downsizing and decentralization process observed worldwide after 1975 is itself the result of the information revolution and of the new abundance of information it created.

Many theories purport to explain the differential expansion of democracy between states and nations by very long term “institutional hysteresis” (the weight of past history) but they cannot account for the worldwide, simultaneous, reversion towards markets and democracy, at work since the last quarter of the XXth century. We suggest that the road to freedom is built and based on the massive production and diffusion of information that new technologies have made possible. 

No comments: