Centralization produces apoplexy at the center and paralysis at the extremities.
— Hugues Felicité Robert de Lamennais
By David Tulis
Students of the free market understand that prosperity — lower costs, more wealth, happier people — comes from the unleashing of human callings. The modern era’s greatest constraint against this exuberance is the welfare-warfare state with its messianic pretenses and bureaucratic morass.
In the Chattanooga area a “reform” is being proposed by civil governments and civic-minded do-gooders under the banner of Thrive 2055 to deal with the effects of Lamennais’ dictum about the effects of administrative centralization.
Thrive 2055, with a F$3 million budget and calendrial ambitions eight times greater than a Soviet five-year gosplan. It proposes “regional” controls and transjurisditional and interstate authorities. It proposes all its good benefits through the lense of euphemism, namely “public-private partnership.”
Here are questions people who care about prosperity should consider asking.
— Is there market failure that requires a new layer of government and quasi-governmental bodies such as those implied in the Thrive 2055 scheme?
— If market failure underlies the need for Thrive 2055, is there a person or group that is at fault? Or are you saying the fault is structural, which is why you are proposing a new governmental controlling structure? If there is indeed no market failure, why not simply rely on self-interest, the marketplace’s interest in serving the customer, and mild-mannered government agencies assisting here and there? WHY A NEW SUPERSTRUCTURE with a REGIONAL PRETENSE?
— Thrive 2055 seems to be organizing to better attain free money from Washington. How wise is any one county or town in joining in a program which pins its hopes on an effectively bankrupt national power with an unpayable F$18 trillion in paper money obligations and past F$100 trillion in IOUs and guarantees?
— Is Thrive 2055 open to sustainability, or is it pinning itself on the public side of its “public-private partnership” paradigm? Sustainability in economics is achieved when costs are lowered, service is provided, and profit attained. In other words, in the real world, sustainability is inseparable from profit. Without profit, there is no future. Without profit arising from service in the marketplace, there is no tomorrow. Subsidies and bailouts do not sustainability make.
— Thrive favors not the invisible hand of the marketplace as described by Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations, but the VISIBLE hand of state control and state-oriented and state-trained and state-subsidized parties. Do we really want more centralization? If centralization has brought us to an impasse in the region and made us dependents on Washington, why do we think a new flavor of centralization will help solve the problem?
— Thrive 2055 sees sustainability as emanating from committees, civic orientation, organization and behind these, the state itself. Why not instead place confidence in small farms, small entrepreneurs, family life, decentralization, substances and wealth vs. money?
— In promoting a 16-county “region” in three states, is Thrive 2055 proposing an ersatz provincialism, a phony lococentrism that is intergovernmental and administrative, nonorganic?
Questions play out in interview with Thrive backer Denny Mobbs
I quizz Denny Mobbs of Polk County about Thrive 2055 and his commitment to regionalism. This hourlong interview has about a 7-minute blank space in the middle, marking a news break. The station is Hot News Talk Radio 1240 1190 an 910 AM.