The death of large organisations

Large organisations are dying. And we’ll all be better for it.

In the twentieth century, the best way for a smart person to succeed was to join a large organisation. Job security, a good salary – a good, secure salary – and a defined benefit pension. Plus, you probably got to work with other smart people, since big organisations were where smart people went back then.

Even governments were sensible and reasonable places to go work in those days. A civil servant’s salary could buy a nice house in the suburbs and raise a family.

Nowadays, you won’t make decent money working for big organisations. And it won’t be secure either. A second order effect of these is that you probably won’t find many smart people there if you do.

A functioning ecosystem with nimbler competitors for resources would kill off these large lumbering organisations, but some persist. Governments, in particular, persist, even though nobody’s told them that the days of the all-powerful nation state are gone. They have guns and power, you see, and they ruthlessly attack anybody who also wants to have guns and power.

There are other large organisations out there: telcos, car manufacturers, oil companies, etc. But you can kinda see how these will eventually die: competition.

Unions are a funny case of large, lumbering organisation. They only exist because other large, lumbering organisations exist. They’re like the ivy on an oak tree.

But their days are numbered. We can see it today: governments getting bigger and heavier, all the while getting stupider and less effective. And the same for other large organisations. Eventually they must collapse under their own weight.

I guess you could say that the future is American. That is: vibrant, active, characterised by the pursuit of happiness, by people doing things they enjoy, energised by their activity, living purposeful, whole lives. Doing things for other people. Ironically, the US federal government is probably the biggest un-American organisation in the world, and probably the biggest threat to America and the American way!

This said, one of the few things that scares me more than large government is effective government.


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