Authority (Centralized or Decentralized)

Short Description

An Authority is a party of which certain decisions, ideas, rules etc. are followed by other parties. We distinguish between two kinds of authority:

  • centralized authority, also known as the power or right to give orders, make decisions that other parties must follow, and enforce obedience. This kind of authority ignores the natural autonomy of other parties.
  • decentralized authority, also known as the power or right that is freely endowed by other parties to the authority, to make decisions, phrase ideas, set rules etc, which these parties will adopt and follow because they think it is in their own interest to do so.

Purpose

The purpose of a Centralized Authority is to further its own objectives by using (to the level of exploiting) other parties, thereby possibly disregarding the objectives and interests of these other parties if the authority deems that necessary.

The purpose of a Decentralized Authority is to further the objectives of the parties that have endowed it with its powers or rights. It is an objective of such an authority to support these parties in their pursuit of their own, individual objectives.

Criterion

An Authority is a party, part of whose knowledge (e.g. decisions, ideas, logic, rules, guidance, etc.) is being followed or used by other parties.

A Centralized Authority is an authority that imposes this part of its knowledge on other parties.

A Decentralized Authority is an authority that makes its knowledge available and leaves it entirely up to other parties to decide whether or not to follow or use it.