You started out pretty well, then came this
History has told a story of increasingly decentralized governments, only to have them replaced by increasingly centralized corporate empires.
When, in fact, history tells a story of increasingly centralized governments promoting (and being promoted by) increasingly centralized business empires. This process continues until some disruptive force comes along with which the centralized authority is unable to cope. In all cases power becomes ever more centralized until such a time as the information necessary to maintain that centralized power exceeds the ability of the organization centralizing power to process it. There are three things areas in which an organization may centralize beyond its ability to process information:
- Communication--primarily speed of communication, but not necessarily just speed
When the organization is unable to communicate information well enough and fast enough to and from the central decision makers, central authority collapses
- Data collection
When the data necessary to make adequate decisions exceeds the ability of the central authority to gather and store it, the central authority collapses.
- Data processing
When the amount of data necessary to make adequate decisions exceed the ability of the central authority to process it, the central authority collapses.
Technology has eliminated the problem of speed of communication as a limiting factor on centralized control. I have my doubts about the possibility of overcoming the other communication limits (once the number of people in an organization exceeds some number it appears that words begin to mean different things to different, not clearly defined, groups of people, even when they, theoretically, share the same language). Technology has, at least theoretically, overcome the limit on the ability to gather and store the data necessary to make adequate decisions over the world. However, while technology has massively increased human ability to process the data necessary to manage large centralized organizations, there appear to be emergent qualities to ever larger organizations which cause them to suddenly, and without warning, have different requirements for what data needs to be processed.
Basically, my point is that power tends to become more and more centralized until the organization centralizing the power is no longer manageable. Usually, the people in charge continue to attempt to consolidate ever more power while this is happening until something catastrophic occurs. Occasionally, a visionary has arisen who manages to decentralize authority sufficiently to allow the organization to continue to thrive (or to divide into multiple subgroups which thrive) for some time after the initial singularity.