F. Hayek, Centralization versus decentralization of governmental functions

While it has always been characteristic of those favoring an increase in governmental powers to support maximum concentration of these powers, those mainly concerned with individual liberty have generally advocated decentralization.

There are strong reasons why action by local authorities generally offers the next best solution where private initiative cannot be relied upon to provide certain services and where some sort of collective action is therefore needed; for it has many of the advantages of private enterprise and fewer of the dangers of the coercive action of government. Competition between local authorities or between larger units within an area where there is freedom of movement provides in a large measure that opportunity for experimentation with alternative methods which will secure most of the advantages of free growth.

Though the majority of individuals may never contemplate a change of residence, there will usually be enough people, especially among the young and more enterprising, to make it necessary for the local authorities to provide as good services at as reasonable costs as their competitors.

It is usually the authoritarian planner who, in the interest of uniformity, governmental efficiency, and administrative convenience, supports the centralist tendencies and in this receives the strong support of the poorer majorities, who wish to be able to tap the resources of the wealthier regions.