Home Rule Globally


      Abstract of -
Decentralized Governance and Servant Leadership

Decentralized governments minimize the power of remote bureaucracies. Politicians who rise to leadership of giant constituencies, on the other hand, will strive to increase the budgets and power of the bureaucracies that serve them. Robert K. Greenleaf, who popularized the concept of "servant leadership," maintained that the lust of politicians for power and/or wealth is essentially insatiable. Over the course of history political consolidation of independent tribes and cities into nation-states has lead to oppressive and therefore unstable remote, top-down monarchic, oligarchic, plutocratic and fascistic governments.

The remedy for this, according to Greenleaf, will be some sudden trauma stimulating a shift to a sustainable mode of governing. The traumatic world wars of the 20th century each stimulated pressures for such a shift, respectively resulting in the League of Nations and the United Nations. But in each case the charters of those organizations failed to provide the essential requirements for sustainability; failing to scuttle the influence of ambitions politicians and failing to allocate power upward from citizens.

Greenleaf suggests those "essential requirements" can be accomplished with an institutional structure geared to discerning "servant leadership" qualities and altruistic motivation as preconditions for public service. Ewbank takes a pragmatic view toward the accomplishment of this sort of "upward from citizens" style of power structure, which he labels "panarchy," characterizing the initial phases of a global transition to panarchy with this analogy: "Any parent who has coped with. guiding an adolescent to assume greater responsibilities while complying with parental guidance can appreciate that top-down decentralism can be useful."