Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Balancing Power

The reigning in of power in my vision of an ideal world is not likely to involve the arbitrary and forceful distribution of wealth evenly among all of the world’s people. The goal of maximizing everyone’s longevity and wellbeing is something we would all be working toward voluntarily, which would hopefully reduce the net amount of force used.

There is a large part of the population (perhaps as much as a third) that is primarily motivated by accumulation of personal power, which wealth represents. There is also, fortunately for them, another part of the population which prefers to be dominated (ideally, an equal fraction). Matching these two groups of people might be a good strategy for keeping the power seekers from attempting to force their will on the remaining fraction of the population that neither wants increased personal power nor wants someone else’s imposed on them. For those power seekers who are not content with controlling those who want to be controlled, defenses (which might, admittedly, involve force) would need to be erected by society to limit their power over the rest of the population. Equivalently, if there are more people who want to be dominated than who are willing to dominate them, society will need to at least minimally take care of them.

The resource crisis imposes an additional restriction on the power seekers. With Earth’s natural systems breaking down because of too much consumption and its attendant waste, the association of wealth with accumulation of material goods must be challenged if not broken, which in the transition period will likely be interpreted as a reducing of power. We are to some extent already seeing this, with environmentalists being portrayed as closet socialists.

No comments: