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Author Topic: Power Structures in Human Society: Pros and Cons Part 1  (Read 10042 times)

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I hear ya.  :( How about his idea? If only...


Great video. Now one of the things I have observed when engaging various US media articles or Americans is there seems to be this deep seeded belief that the government is bad corrupt, incompetent and generally a waste of space. Now I am not saying such views do not exist in Europe but I feel it is a much more common thought in the US than other regions. The problem with this line of thinking is that while governments and bureaucracy can be corrupt and inefficient the assumption is that private companies and corporations in-particular are not subject to the same problems.

The area where this issue is most prominent is that of free speech. Lots of Americans make a lot of noise about free speech and feel the government must allow lest it leads to corruption and worse. These feelings however are not often extended to private companies. It is much more acceptable for the media to practice censorship under the reasoning that the company in question owns the medium it is publishing thus it can censor as much as it deems necessary. Now the problem I see here is that if the media can be censored or altered to the owners whims then the question becomes how can the companies and government be monitored? The whole process of free speech will be undermined due to a lack of oversight. Now this is but one example. The take home point in this example is the fact that our expectations of what the government can do and what private ownership is allowed to do is quite different. Due to a fundamental mistrust of government we set a much higher standard and stigma to its various functions however when it comes to private entities our expectations diminish and accountability is much lower due to a great deal of misplaced trust.

The elephant that is missed and it is a big elephant is that it is a universally recognised truth that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Since power is the ability to control people then it follows that the larger any organisation becomes the more likely it is corrupt as the controllers has the ability to control a larger pool of people. This phenomenon applies to private AND public institutions yet it is largely only public institutions were this corruption is recognised and scrutiny applied. This is one of the fundamental problems.

The second issue I see here is that the function of a sound government is it should represent the views of the poorer people. I say this because in most societies the rich will always have greater resources to represent their needs so the countermeasure to this inequality is that the government must represent people who lack the financial means of protecting their rights on an individual level. If a government cannot meet and address the needs of the common man then the government has become dysfunctional. The problem people have is quite often they think if there is little government then the rich and poor can push their wants in equal measure. The fact is in those scenarios - at least on a historic basis - is that the rich will bulldoze over the poor and you will get great social tension. In a way government policies is like vaccines in the sense that over time people have forgotten the great benefits and can only remember the side-effects. Thus people take for granted the benefits these policies bring and focus on the bad points which while noticeable are considerably smaller than the lack of policy/vaccines. Benefit abuse is bad but imagine a society with no welfare social safety net. It will be a return of seeing many poorer families on the streets with kids and all.     

Finally the final myth that is promoted is this idea of independence or the rugged individual. What people need to understand is true independence is next to impossible to achieve and in nearly all occasions we are dependent on others for our welfare either through subsidies of various kinds or other measures (such as exploitation of others/environment). Even if we were to ignore the various subsidies that make your life possible the dependency still exists because you are still dependent on an income to fund your lifestyle. If you lose your job/business that independence will quickly disappear. When the word independent is used what people really mean is you have an income that is sufficient to make you financially independent. To achieve true independence however you would need to lead a lifestyle which you can provide for your needs without an income. Historically this has been very difficult to achieve.

This should lead us to the idea and recognition that we are inter-dependent on each other and there is no crime in being dependent. In many ways the atomised way of living we have today is largely a by-product of our high energy fossil fuel lifestyle were machines have replaced the need for labour. In the future we will depend more on people and community for our needs so this attitude of rugged individualism must be displaced by more communal living arrangements which can only come if we acknowledge the fact people are in fact inter-dependent and there is no crime in that. The main point people should understand is people should pull their weight and everyone should have the opportunity to show they can pull their weight (many segments are denied even the opportunity to prove themselves). Rugged individualism societies (if attempted) will be failures and the power of team spirit and community needs to be embraced.


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