When the Australian Government created a new body to scrutinise infrastructure asset sales for security risk, it occurred to me that we have made infrastructure vulnerable by making it large and interconnected. This is true of both physical and financial infrastructure (e.g. the banking system).
In the past this was a means to greater efficiency and we were prepared to take the risks involved. Today, with technological developments, however, we can decrease the criticality of critical infrastructure by disaggregating, decentralising, and changing the ownership structure. This is particularly so for banking. But take electricity as an example. A series of interconnected, community-owned, local solar grids would be less susceptible to power failures as well as to actors of ‘evil intent’.
The blockage is the change in ownership structure. Not unnaturally, incumbents stand to lose. Large companies and governments in electricity supply are vulnerable to both criticality and financial risks. They have been putting a lot of thought into the changes that can be made so that we should not assume that they will resist change – although it is probably in their interest to slow it down. We all fight to preserve our own, it’s only natural.
So, if we want to see change in the community interest, it is in that interest to find ways to help current owners make the transition – profitably and with minimal delay.
What is being done, or could be done? What could we support? Ideas?