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Graphical comparison of centralized and decentralized system.

Decentralization or decentralisation' is the process of redistributing or dispersing functions, powers, people or things away from a central location or authority. Concepts of decentralization have been applied to group dynamics and management science in private businesses and organisations, political science, law and public administration, economics, and technology.


  • I find myself just a little annoyed at the tendency of all of us to adopt certain clichés about decentralization and then glibly announce that we're for it. I have been somewhat amused at some of my colleagues who are most vocal in expounding the virtues of decentralization and yet quite unconsciously are apt to be busily engaged in developing their own personal control over activities for which they are responsible.
    • Ernest Dale, Planning and developing the company organization structure. No. 20. American Management Association, 1952. p. 18
  • Anarchists reject centralization of authority and the concept of a Central Committee. All groups are free associations formed out of committees not revolutionaries disciplined by fear of authority. When the size of the work-groups (which could be fanned around Labor, fundraising, anti-racism, women’s rights, food and housing, etc.) becomes cumbersome, the organizations can be decentralized into two or several more autonomous organizations, still united in one large federation. This enables the group to expand limitlessly while maintaining its anarchic form of decentralized self-management. It is sort of like the scientific theory of a biological cell, dividing and redividing, but in a political sense.
  • Decentralized systems are the quintessential patrons of simplicity. They allow complexity to rise to a level at which it is sustainable, and no higher.
    • L.K. Samuels, In Defense of Chaos: The Chaology of Politics, Economics and Human Action, Cobden Press (2013) p. 221.

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