There are two trends working against diminishment of the bureaucracy by decentralization and e…
Rick Fischer
1

Both very good points.

First, the vision of self-governance I put forward at the end is less an extrapolation of deterministic trends, and more about figuring out the conditions of possibility. We will have the capacity to move towards a much more decentralized and self-governed society long before those in charge agree to cede their power. I’m merely identifying part of the path to get there.

My sense is that regulatory agencies have grown more prominent for two main reasons: 1. The people running the agencies are normal human beings, and as such try as much as possible to expand their powers and status. 2. It ratchets up as the option presidents take when congress won’t give them what they want. Software and automation can actually help with 1.; 2. is trickier and more historically contingent, but still comes down to creating the conditions for someone, at some point, to unilaterally cede that power, i.e. to abolish the agencies with minimal resistance.

Regarding the threat of hacking, I’m afraid the US’s patchwork of digital and analog standards, and pitiful procurement systems make it more, not less, vulnerable to cyberattacks and IT breaches, despite the run up in spending on cybersecurity. I’ll defer to Andrea and Eli on that: One Two Three.

Estonia, in contrast, not only survived the largest cyberattack on a nation-state in history, but actually learned a lot and became more resilient as a consequence. Encryption, two-factor authentication, keyless signature infrastructure, etc. are all super important for protecting our data and making sure what gets sent over wires finds its proper recipient. If anything, by being a relative laggard in e-government the US is climbing the learning curve more slowly than it otherwise could.