A message from Friedrich Hayek
We shall not rebuild civilisation on a large scale. It is no accident that on the whole there was more beauty and decency to be found in the life of small peoples, and that among the large ones there was more happiness and content in proportion as they had avoided the deadly blight of centralisation.
Least of all shall we preserve democracy or foster its growth if all the power and most of the important decisions rest with an organisation far too big for the common man to survey or comprehend.
Nowhere has democracy ever worked well without a great measure of local self-government, providing a school of political training for the people at large as much as for their future leaders. It is only where responsibility can be learnt and practised in affairs with which most people are familiar, where it is the awareness of one’s neighbour rather than some theoretical knowledge of the needs of other people which guides action, that the ordinary man can take a real part in public affairs because they concern the world he knows.
Where the scope of the political measures becomes so large that the necessary knowledge is almost exclusively possessed by the bureaucracy, the creative impulses of the private person must flag. I believe that here the experience of the small countries like Holland and Switzerland contains much from which even the most fortunate larger countries like Great Britain can learn.
We shall all be the gainers if we can create a world fit for small states to live in.
This is from chapter 15 of The Road to Serfdom (1944)