A STUDY OF POWERS

MAREK CHLEBUS

 

ON THE NATURE OF POWERS

 

INTRODUCTION

 

What is the answer?... In that case: what is the question?

Gertruda Stein, her last words

 

This paper consists of several thousand words including the word “power”, which is used, with its synonyms, a couple of hundred times. Despite this, I still have the impression that I haven't said everything about power that should be said, but somehow I cannot add anything now. Abbé Siélès claims that “healthy political science is a science about what should be and not about what is”. And maybe this is right. My paper would not therefore be healthy political science but some introduction to it. Because it is about how things are – despite the constitution, despite sociology and political science. How things should be will be written by more worthy ones, and if it is no, then maybe I will come back to this subject in the future.

Power is dependence of some on others. Almost all social relations can be looked at within the categories of power if understood in this way. Somebody wants something, somebody else does it, and there you have it, power, nothing special. There are many cultural excuses surrounding power: divinity, tradition, the will of the people – to name but a few. But really power stems from instincts, if we can observe it even with lower animals. And that is how I treat it here. No accusations, no praise. Just an attempt to describe it from an almost zoological point of view.

The state and society, with the Enlightenment’s understanding of citizenship and democracy, with the three kinds of estates controlling one another, is a used-up formula, which fails to properly regulate or even name reality. The world of fast transport, instant communication, electronic media, virtual finance, consumer society, welfare state, is very different from the world from over two hundred years ago, and even if people are still people, much has changed in the areas of social life, culture, or economy.

Various end periods are somewhat similar: the old order does not work any more, or works ineffectively, there is no new order yet, theory diverges from reality, and reality diverges from the norms. Professors become naive, moralisers become fanatical, laws become impractical; but the voice of various scum sounds especially loud and proud, shamelessness is highly rewarded, and the lack of any principles becomes a main virtue. I have tried to make the tone of my paper not too grim or strict in its assessments, but I don’t know if I have managed to succeed; anyway, it is difficult to repaint the twilight in light colours.

I try not to make any clear predictions. I know that humanity has been falling since it began, or at least since anyone started writing predictions. The mind is in its nature pessimistic. However, Josef Schweik used to say: “Things have never been so bad that we couldn’t make it somehow”, so I gather, that in the future we are also going to make it somehow. It is just that the more we understand of it, the better for us. At least that is how I think.

 

THE ESSENCE OF POWER

 

Herewith the Council passes the vote, that a new prison will be built.

The new prison will be built with the materials gained from dismantling the old prison.

Until the construction of the new prison is finished, the old one will be in operation.

Ordinance of the Canton City Council, Mississippi.

 

The Definition of Power

 

Chingis Khan and Khagan, both of whom have been sent to make known God's command. [...] From the rising of the sun to its setting, all the lands have been made subject to me. Who could do this contrary to the command of God? [...] Now you should say with a sincere heart: “I will submit and serve you”. [...] If you do not observe God's command, and if you ignore my command, I shall know you as my enemy.

Gujuk-Chan in his letter to Pope Innocent IV

 

Power is controlling somebody's behaviour. Everyone has some power over himself, sometimes has power over others, and is subject to somebody's power. A government official, the police, the military, the mafia, a group of hooligans have different power than a skilful agitator, a moving poet, a charismatic priest. A wealthy person or an employers will have yet another type of power.

To a certain extent a swarm of bees or a storm can be seen as having power, because they can chase people to their homes more effectively than the police, and they could actually be instruments of power for somebody if they were used intentionally, but this is rather a theoretical possibility; they are usually elements of the environment.

Objects of power are usually close and named, but they can be more remote, undetermined, or even non-existent at present. For example, a writer can strongly, but unconsciously, influence a reader from a different continent or even a different century through a work, and shape his personality, stance, aims, or simply his deeds. This is also power.

Identifying the ultimate authority behind a single act of power can be difficult. Stopping and making people move is undoubtedly power. And at a pedestrian crossing somebody has such power over the pedestrians. But who or what? Is it the mechanism controlling the lights? It is just a machine after all.

Then maybe the person who programmed it? Why, no, his assignment was to make two groups of lights work by turns, and it would surely make absolutely no difference to him what colour the glass is behind which a light bulb shines at a given moment. So maybe the person who put the lights there? Not necessarily as well, stopping the pedestrians at a given moment is not the person’s decision, and even if that person wanted to divide the streams of people and cars in the name of some order, it really does not matter to him in which minute it is the pedestrians moving and in which it is the cars.

And what if he puts the lights there only to pay the cousin of the party chief for it, and to commission maintenance work to his friend, what then? Does steering people cease to be power just because we cannot identify the one steering or do not know his motivation?

And what would change at the crossing if the role of the control mechanism was played by a policeman? This would be power, wouldn't it? But if this policeman stood discretely on the side and used a remote control instead of waving his hands, from the standpoint of those ruled, the situation would be the same as the initial one. So would there be some power or not?

It has to be accepted that power is any steering, no matter whether one can see somebody waving his hands around or pressing buttons. It can be executed by a person, machine, and sometimes even an animal, e.g. a dog protecting an entrance to a house or demanding to be taken for a walk.

One of the most important objects required to understand the issues of power is the imperfect machine built of people, called an institution. Its impersonal ideal has all the features of a machine: it is repeatable, programmable, and has a purpose in a sense, even if it is more involuntary than judicious. The imperfections of the components of the institution, people, makes its repetitiveness limited. That is why some would like to call institutions superorganisms. I guess one could do that.

It is automatism and not any consciousness, any will, or intelligence that stands behind many acts of power. However, it is a rule that power is an effect of somebody’s will, usually conscious, deliberate, and egoistic will, and that it will be carried out by some people. While doing this, they may use various tools: animals, devices, forces of nature, institutions, or other people. But usually most acts of power are elements of the game which everyone plays with everybody else for different kinds of domination.

Single acts of power are not equal, because while one rules, the other is being ruled. But if we broaden the perspective to more relations, we can observe that people manipulate each other. Even an infant, being in the absolute power of its parents, quickly learns how to manipulate them. Even a lift attendant in a bank tries to start up a conversation with the chairman in a way that would enable him to point the chairman's attention to a particular problem or person, to get his relative from the country a job, in other words: to achieve some influence. Full mutuality in relations of power is very rare, as is full dependence.

The contestants in the game of power can be conscious of the power they have or not, they can also be conscious or unconscious of the fact that they are under somebody's power, they can object to it or accept it, and, in some cases, they can even search for the power, to which they could give their freedom. Sometimes the results of acts of power are different or totally opposite to what was intended. A minister of war ordering his troops to open fire on a crowd of civilians can cause, e.g. a mutiny and a revolution – a consequence of the order much different than the intention.

Those who are in power usually draw satisfaction from it, but this also is not an iron rule. Even great monarchs, such as Diocletian or Charles V, being in perfect health and forced by no-one, resigned from power to devote themselves to growing vegetables or to prayer. And even though they were pestered to return, they did not want to.

 

Types of Power

 

Religion is opium for the masses... And now economy is opium for the masses, along with patriotism... And what about sexual intercourse? Is it too, opium for the masses?... But alcohol is an unequalled opium for the masses, oh what a great opiate. Even though some prefer the radio – another opium for the masses...

Ernest Hemingway

 

Power can threaten with the use of compulsion, or actually use it; such power will be called direct. Its source is fear, and it's driven by violence. Direct power is what a thug has over a passer-by, a policeman over a thug, the army over a conquered people; generally, the stronger over the weaker.

One can do it differently: refer to somebody’s greed by buying a certain behaviour of his; such power will be called financial. Financial power is what an employer has over an employee, a buyer over a contractor, the corrupting over the corrupt, the bank over the borrower; generally speaking: the richer over the poorer.

And another way: one can influence the stance of another in such a way that the influenced will strive for what we want ourselves; such power, based on customs, culture, advantage of knowledge or standing, will be called spiritual. Advertisement has it over the consumer, propaganda over the voter, journalism over the citizens, the school over the student, the church over the faithful, the hustler over the gullible, generally speaking the smarter over the stupider.

Direct power theoretically has an unlimited range. One can exercise it everywhere where it is possible to reach with a stick, rifle, or tank. However, usually it is not an aim of the power to injure or to murder. These are just threats which are used to achieve other goals. But in order to threaten effectively, some cultural unity is needed, if for no other reason than to explain what one wants and with what one threatens. And to effectively consume this domination, an area, in which exploitation can be established, is needed. It is usually an area of the same, or at least a similar, economy. So direct power has difficulty reaching beyond one culture or one market.

The range of financial power is determined by the financial market. It is difficult to bribe somebody to whom a shell constitutes currency and a dollar is just a green portrait of an unknown man. However, a uniform financial market covers almost the whole world and the dollar is almost everywhere an understandable, or translatable, symbol of value... of course, as long as it remains this symbol, after all, there are no guarantees that the dollar is everlasting, nor is there any guaranteed expiry date, which therefore has to be considered unsure.

The range of spiritual power is determined by culture. It is impossible to convince or importune somebody with whom one has no common language. It hard to manipulate somebody if we do not know his motivation. European culture dominates in the world today. The other large cultures, such as Muslim, Hindu, and Chinese do cover a larger part of humanity, but are strongly colonised by the European culture, and this state deepens.

Since man has changed his lifestyle to a settled one, the relations of domination and exploitation have taken on territorial forms. With time, the world has become divided into countries, which have specialised instruments of internal and foreign domination at their disposal. The countries guarantee each other exclusivity to exploit their subjects. Most of these countries have developed their systems of power according to the Enlightenment model, creating authorities – structures of legislative, executive, and judiciary power, which limit each other and divide most of the direct power between each other. State powers also try to somehow control the areas of influence of spiritual and financial powers, but in the era of open cultures and markets they are losing the competition with numerous strong private powers.

Technically, the possibility to manipulate people with the help of radio waves or other signals exists already. The easiest, and already accessible way is the remote influence on the physiological state of the organism and well-being, which fantastically simplifies using awards and punishments. If such technologies become common, the picture of power relations can change significantly.

 

Exercising Power

 

A citizen wanting to do something for the good of the republic, should first secure himself from the jealousy of others.

Niccolo Machiavelli

 

If we anthropologically derive power from the pecking order, then the relations of power would stem from the instinctive need of domination, which among animals refers to more or less related specimens, and its aim is to gain access to food, territory, and procreation. The relations of power among human societies usually proceed outside any family ties, and neither food, real estate, nor procreation are especially rare goods today. Even though, at lower levels of power, they are still an important and eagerly-consumed bonus.

One also has to separate individual power relations from the automatism of the institutions of power. These are two different, but interdependent worlds. The wave at sea heads evenly towards the shore, even though none of the water particles follows it. They just whirl in circular movements and, roughly speaking, stay in one place. The wave is a collective entity, as are institutions of power. They come from a different order than the officials or politicians. These orders may even contradict one another, good solutions can be based on bad intentions – such was the market according to Adam Smith, but it is also easy to get bad effects from good intentions – such are usually revolutions.

Praise of people of power is not the same as praise of the institutions of power, as criticism of people is not criticism of institutions. In institutions of power, even though the officials are preoccupied mainly with consumption or improving their positions in the hierarchy, their work builds an automatism in the institution's functioning which they do not have to notice. This automatism depends on a completely different order than the actions of the bureaucrats. An institution employing bureaucrats acting only on low intentions may, in spite of this, not work for the loss of the community, and in some situations may actually serve it well. And the other way around: an institution hiring only idealists may be harmful to the community. These are different orders and different worlds.

It is unlikely that somebody wants to become a minister of finance to draw satisfaction from shaping tax rates and to delight himself with statistical indicators. Numbers are what the ministry has to take care of, but the minister receives satisfaction from his court: the helpful subjects, the attentive clients, the flatterers with compliments, the lobbyists with their gifts. The satisfaction is increased by the societies, lounges, and clubs, which he has had no access to, and also easy women, easy money, and the feeling of being infallible. His courtiers have their own, smaller courts, courtiers of these have even smaller ones, and those at the bottom, to whom nobody is subject, can summon the citizens so even they can dominate over somebody.

The persons managing the institutions or parts thereof rarely have contact with those who are subject to the power of these institutions. Their world is rather limited to their own court and to the broader environment of powers, in which they enter appropriate relations of power. It is in this society, created by the members of other powers and various elites, where the real power relations come into play. They consist of acts of rivalry, co-operation, manipulation, etc. This environment is the real group of reference: the elite of power. The relations of power usually remain the internal concern of this group, and rarely are directed outside it, even though that is where their effects can be seen.

The relations of power directed downwards, to the abstract masses or individual, but actually anonymous subjects, usually remain within the sphere of institutional automatism, which does not mean that they cannot bring various officers smaller or greater satisfaction.

The greater part of the automatism of institutions is designed by people. Rules, procedures, and even customs are subject to deliberate, even if not full, shaping. This designing is one of the most important strategic acts of the powers, and carrying it out constitutes the everyday reality of the power. The designers of institutions may be driven by their feeling for aesthetics, efficiency, or justice, but rarely are they able to avoid referring to their private perspective or condition. This is why they usually adjust the designs to their own individual or group interest.

Institutions are built from people, bureaucrats, and they feed on people, the subjects. In return, they bring the bureaucrats the joy of having power allowing them to dominate the subordinates and the subjects, but they also serve the subjects by reacting to their petitions, and denunciations, and allowing themselves to be used in the private games played amongst the people. This may be not too lofty, but we are talking about power, which has to be strong and not beautiful or good.

The motivations of those in power has to be searched for in the relations of the real elite of  power, different for different powers, in which games for personal power are constantly played. For many of these players, just as it is for gamblers, the game itself brings considerable satisfaction; however, some reach out for additional trophies, which are consumed mostly within the scope of court life. The main occupation of the people of power is power games. Their short-term aim is maximising the satisfaction of the game and of power itself, and the long-term aim is maintaining or expanding power.

 

ORGANISATION OF POWER

 

We, equally noble as you, swear to you, who is not better than us, that we will accept you as our king and sovereign master, under the condition that you will abide by all our statutes and laws. If not, we will not accept you.

Medieval feudal oath of the nobility of Aragon

 

Legislative Power

 

That the strong might not injure the weak, in order to protect the widows and orphans [...] in order to bespeak justice in the land, to settle all disputes, and heal all injuries, set up these my precious words, written upon my memorial stone, before the image of me, as king of righteousness.

Hammurabi

 

Institutionalised and stable legislative power functions from district to state levels, and, to a limited extent, also reaches international communities. The domain of this power is creating laws regulating the life of the community. The members of the legislative power come from elections, usually common and direct. The selection is carried out with the help of the media and finance, the actual monopoly on nominating the candidates usually lying in the hands of political parties.

Taking part in the legislative power is connected with various benefits, such as immunity, remuneration, and easy access to executive powers, and, through them, to various sinecures, concessions, and public tenders. Most of the time, the life and position, in a broad sense, of the candidate becomes better as he enters this power. Since the term lasts a few years, the main long-term concern of the member is re-election.

For this reason, his reference group become those who can make re-election real: parties, the media, financial means. The short-term aims are dominated by effective utilisation of the new possibilities of becoming richer, of improving the position of oneself and of one’s relatives, because of this, the group of reference for these aims consists of clients of the power aspiring to various tenders, nominations, or privileges; they usually stem from political parties or from business. Also, the members of the executive power, in whose hands appropriate decisions lie, and, of course, the parties, treated as groups of interests.

This creates great dependence on business, which becomes the actual principal. It also creates a unity of condition with the executive power and, in consequence, makes the supervision over it an illusion. Another effect is the strong, tribal dependence from the elites of power, especially from ones own party, which expects unanimity during voting, bringing benefits to particular members, and strengthening the economic position of the party and its surroundings.

Even if the consciousness of the existence of legal order and responsibility for the district, country, or community appears, it is very distant and abstract compared to the main aims. As a result of this, we have a cacophony of legal acts, which flood the society and the economy at a pace surpassing the capabilities of even the most skilful reader. These acts usually serve the purposes of various groups at the cost of the common good. A further consequence is the devaluation of the law, which because of its incoherence, inhuman vastness, and care for detail, has to be replaced by customs. The law seizes to function, and the legislature becomes a group of parasites with their own interests on their minds.

 

Executive Power

 

The fox, having urinated into the sea, said “The sea is mine”.

Sumerian

 

The executive power is to actually govern following the law determined by the legislature. It has a budget at its disposal, administration, and various armed forces. It practices legal acts for the community, and upholds relations with the executive powers of other countries.

Membership in the higher levels of the executive comes from a direct, or indirect election. It is a common election, or a back-room election made by the legislature. In the first case, the conditions are similar to those of the legislature, in the second one, the position within the party is more important than popularity in the media. Also the role of finance is smaller in the campaign. The term of the executive lasts a couple of years and usually is the same as that of the legislature. The lower levels of the executive are usually filled by co-opting.

Membership of the executive is usually connected with a great increase in significance of position in the groups, the welfare of which depends on this power. These are, above all, the business and budget spheres, the former expecting orders, the latter subsidies. Even if the members of the executive does not reap corrupt benefits from the public expenses they make, they can count on the gratitude of the beneficiaries and on some future reciprocation. The loss of executive power is usually connected with a worsening of living standards and social position.

The main reference group of the member of the executive is the elite of power, or at least the part connected to his party, and the main object of his concern is his place among this elite and in the hierarchy of the party. The feeling of community with other parties is also strong. They may seem a competition, but are potentially helpful in maintaining power.

The quality of exercised power is secondary, because, first, it has a smaller influence on how successful the ruling are, and second, can be assessed in various ways and be compensated by the efficiency of propaganda. Anyway, thanks to the development of professional social devices, executive power becomes more and more unnecessary, and its quality less and less important. The only crucial motivation is the question of maintaining of domination by the right party as having an influence on the success of the party members, and in consequence indirectly shaping the assessment of the executive.

The main areas of attention of the executive are personal nominations and various sinecures and such control of the power which enriches and strengthens the position of appropriate persons, usually business or political principals. An important object of concern is the good of the party, understood as the range of the party’s and its people’s influences and wealth. The executive also secures the welfare of the legislative and of its members; in return, it gets formal acceptance of its actions, actually regardless of their quality or social and economical results. The area of common interest of the executive and legislative powers is huge, and it is this common interest that shapes political life.

 

Judiciary Power

 

The law is a calculated and relentless pleasure, delight in the promised blood, which permits the perpetual instigation of new dominations and the staging of meticulously repeated scenes of violence.

Michael Foucault

 

The judiciary power has a monopoly on supervision of how the executive and the society obey the law. In a way, this power has influence on the creation of law, through supervision of accordance with the constitution and through creating precedent sentences. Membership of the judiciary is usually gained through inheriting (co-opting). This membership is practically lifelong and irrevocable. It is connected with immunity and often practical impunity by the law.

Some of the members of the highest judicial powers are appointed by other powers, but only from a group of persons who were co-opted earlier. So the judiciary is created by a separate social class with special privileges and competences, and with only limited access from the outside.

The group of reference to the member of the judiciary power are other members of this power. His success, safety, and, above all, professional position, depend on the other members. The remuneration of the members of the judiciary, paid out from the budget, are always relatively low.

The great authority of this power, together with the impunity of its members, cause many temptations for complementing ones income with the help of business and the world of crime. Because of this, some of the members of these worlds are added to the reference group of the members of the judiciary power, and as a consequence, this power starts caring for their interests at the cost of righteousness.

Because of the above-mentioned, when describing the legislature, over-regulation of social and economical life, the amount of cases heard by the courts grows to a number which makes their work impossible. That is why many disputes are now settled out of court in ways sometimes more, sometimes less, than legal.

Hence, the role of the courts in the life of the society is small and incidental, and ending up before court is a synonym for bad luck. The judiciary power lives in its own, hermetic world, which does not interact with society much, which parasitizes the legal order in coexistence with the worlds of politics, business, and crime.

The mad complexity, vastness, and incoherence of the law make almost any sentence possible, even if it openly insults the spirit or the letter of the law. It is only a question of cunning and expensive lawyers. One would like to entitle more and more sentences “currency against the law”. In this way the law seizes to be predictable or common.

 

Spiritual Power

 

In a Jewish theological seminar there was an hours-long discussion about proofs of the existence of God. After some hours, one rabbi got up and said, “God is so great, he does not even need to exist.”

Victor Weisskopf

 

There is a variety of spiritual powers, however, the whole system of influences in this area is relatively clear. It is created by churches, schools, and the media.

Most churches are in a larger or smaller way dependent on the state and acknowledge the domination of its powers. The biggest exception is the global Catholic Church, which is capable of achieving an equal position in its relations with the states. The policy of the Church is shaped by the headquarters in the Vatican, and the stability of the doctrine and the continuity of the powers give the Church a great advantage in long-term actions. The state powers have a very slight influence on the politics of the Church, and have to accept it as an independent and relatively stable external factor. Membership in the church hierarchy is gained by co-opting. The reference group for the member of the hierarchy is the hierarchy itself or a part of it.

Despite the number of schools and different ownerships thereof, the education system creates a pyramid, at the top of which stands a professorial meritocracy. Through its influence on teaching programmes and nominations it shapes the direction and forms of action of schooling. Membership of the professorial meritocracy comes from co-opting (with some elements of competition). This meritocracy creates a changeable and informal, but rather well-determined global pyramid with several centres appropriate to the field of studies. Most of them are located in the USA. These centres shape the doctrine of their fields of studies, determine their main trends, and authorise the selected styles of thinking.

Despite the private ownership of most leading institutions, it is hard to observe a broad and clear influence of capital on the content of the shaped doctrines – apart from the market influence achieved by directing funds for research development, but states also have such an influence. The top of the global educational pyramid has to be considered a rather broad and fluent oligarchy.

The reference group for its members are they themselves and the ones directing the funds for research, those who strive for popularity, and also the media. The dominating aim of the members of this oligarchy is their professional position gained by forcing their standing upon other members, and financial position, gained through financing of their research and through the media.

The media, generally speaking, in which we include cinematography and publishing, are usually private properties, and are very rarely owned by the state. Despite the formal supervision of the state, the media are independent to a large extent, because of their leading role in political campaigns and in shaping civic and consumer attitudes. The media are usually stronger than the state powers, at least in the respect that the members of the powers care for the favour of the media more than vice-versa.

In the media, regardless of the hierarchy of actual powers, it is the influence of the owner that dominates. As far as membership is concerned, one achieves it through co-opting, but the dominating position of the owner can be either bought or inherited. The media of various types also form pyramids of influence and standing. Single, global centres dominate in particular fields, and are usually located in the USA. The influence of these media on state powers is hard to overestimate, and the reverse influence of these powers on the media is slight or non-existent. However, the financial powers have great influence on the media through investments, advertisements, credits, and ownership.

 

Financial Power

 

Central bankers do not like governments. The mere existence of a government puts the central bank in danger.

Helmut Kohl

 

The financial power of central banks covers states and sometimes unions of states in its range. Central banks can be state-owned or private. When they are state-owned, even though their members are appointed by the state powers, they have large independence. Their group of reference mostly consists of the banking environment, or the financial environment in a broader perspective, rather than the political one, because, temporarily, it is more important for efficient functioning, and ultimately, gives broader career perspectives. This concerns the members of private financial powers to an even greater extent.

The banks and funds of the world are connected through systems of mutual guarantees and securities. The main and most powerful financial institutions, capable of global-scale actions and of exercising strong influence on the state of the economies, finances of the countries, and the policies of national banks are mostly located in the United States, United Kingdom, and Switzerland, and are mostly private.

Membership in the global financial powers is gained through inheritance. Purchase is theoretically possible, but difficult considering the huge capital. Co-opting concerns only the executive levels. The reference group for the members of the financial powers are they themselves and also, to a small extent, representatives of big business and politics. Considering the colossal wealth, the aim of the members of these powers is not simply expanding the riches, but rather the security of the group and the position gained within it, stemming from personal and financial capabilities.

 

PSYCHOLOGY OF THE POWERS

 

Or is there any one so senseless as to believe that there are men whose footsteps are higher than their heads? Or that the things which with us are in a recumbent position, with them hang in an inverted direction? That the crops and trees grow downwards? that the rains, and snow, and hail fall upwards to the earth? (...)

Thus the rotundity of the earth leads, in addition, to the invention of those suspended antipodes. (...) For when they have assumed anything false in the commencement of their investigations, led by the resemblance of the truth, they necessarily fall into those things which are its consequences.

Lactantius

 

The Condition of the Governing Ones

 

Even the most neglected minds become incredibly resourceful when searching for excuses for crimes which burden them.

John Adams

 

The aims of the executive power from the beginning stem from the domination instinct, which probably maintains its leading role until today, but with reference to the court and environment of the powers. Both achieving and maintaining executive power requires special ruthlessness, strong domination instincts, and great group loyalty towards those who help in achieving and maintaining power.

The most beneficial mentality of the executive in this case should be the tribal mentality of the underworld, with separate rules of “us and them”, and the environment of this power should be mostly made up of people with a strong dominance instinct, in other words: aggressive.

The climate of the spiritual power initially derived from paternalistic authority. It appears that here as well, not much has had to change. Because of the dynamic character of the power hierarchy, the members of spiritual powers constantly have to develop the skills which are highly valued in their environment: knowledge of some issues, access to information sources, funds, or media. Therefore, this environment has to stand out with its various competences and the gift of power.

Financial power has always been connected with wealth, the acquiring of which demands cunning and greed, and maintaining it is made easier by paranoia. This power has to be held by cunning paranoiacs, or, even better, paranoid descendants of old foxes.

Running the courts gives great power over the life of the defendants. The judiciary power alienates its members from the society, giving them great advantage over it and the inevitable feeling of superiority. In turn, this does not favour personal growth. The judges of average minds should, therefore, degenerate until they reach a state of stupidity full of pride and self-content. The elite of the judiciary power should be characterised by the lowest intelligence among all powers.

The legislative power is usually exercised by groups coming from some election or selection. The members of these groups have to distinguish themselves with their ability to be liked by those who have given them mandates, and with some talent to bring these people some benefits. The morality of this group should be dominated by factotum and the ability to build wide networks of favours and reciprocations, as well as intrigues. Therefore, the legislative should be drenched with the lackey stance.

 

Profiles of the Governing Ones

 

There is only one decent man there: the prosecutor; but, truth be told, he’s also a pig.

Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol

 

Measuring psychic features or human attitudes is very difficult, and the utility of such actions is usually doubtful. So, we will not assign any absolute assessments to any attitudes. While considering a particular feature, e.g. ambition, we will try to assess to which type of power it predestines the most, to which the least, and in which it is harmful. This way we will assign to different types of powers a relative level of usefulness of a given feature for achieving and maintaining one's position within a given power.

The assessments are relative: if, for example, it turns out that ambition or cunning are of little use to some power, it does not mean that the environment of this power should be shaped only by inept people with no ambition. Only that among all powers, this power does not attach much weight to these features. If the usefulness of a given feature is different for achieving a position within an power than for maintaining it, we accept the average value.

We will now compile features which, to various extents, are useful in exercising power.

Wisdom and intelligence make exercising spiritual power easier. In the other powers they are not as important, and in the judiciary and financial powers they are sometimes harmful, because they provoke breaking away from the schemes on which the actions of these powers are based.

Cunning seems to be very helpful to the members of legislative and executive powers, the members of which often have to renew their mandate and thus are dependent on many people, whose interests are difficult to satisfy at the same time. For different reasons cunning is also useful to financial powers, which prefer to hide the scale of their influence. It is rather inadvisable for members of the judiciary and spiritual powers.

Independent thinking can interfere with the judiciary and financial powers, which require sticking to fixed rules, and also with the legislature, where the members are awarded a mandate by the voters for typical views. Whereas it should be helpful in the spiritual power, because unique messages influence the population more easily.

Creativity does not fit in with the judiciary, is not a perfect fit for the financial, and fits with the spiritual well. It should be neutral to the other ones.

Righteousness and honesty rather interfere with exercising the executive, which is a game of constant compromise, and also with the legislature, the members of which owe compliance to the world of politics regardless of the moral cost. However, it should be useful to the effectiveness of the spiritual and probably also financial powers, since the finances, after having broken away from the real values, rely mainly on trust. These features should also help enter the judiciary power, but are neutral in making a career in it.

Diligence is very important to the financial powers, a little less to the judiciary, and completely useless to the members of the legislative and spiritual powers, and sometimes even unwelcomed by them.

Ambition should favour achieving and maintaining the executive power, to a lesser extent the legislative and spiritual, and can be harmful in the case of financial powers.

Good public image is very important to achieve the legislature and exercise the spiritual power. The executive needs it to a lesser extent, the judiciary does not need it at all, and the financial does not want it at all, because they are naturally discrete.

Authoritativeness is important to the spiritual power, useless to the judiciary and financial, because the standing of the former stems from the law, and of the latter from control of the currency. Standing can also help when exercising executive power.

Courage can be harmful in the legislative power, because courageous people are less compliant, and in the financial, which does not require individualism. It can be helpful in the spiritual power.

Caution is crucial to the financial power and advisable for the judiciary. It can be harmful in the spiritual and legislative powers, because of the compliance requirement.

Respect for the law cannot be expected from the legislative powers, which know exactly how law is created. Also the executive powers, which have to bend the law everyday to meet political or business requirements, should not respect the law too much. The reverse applies to the judiciary, which draws its power from the law, and the financial, because it is the law that gives value to its tool of power – the currency.

Responsibility as a personal attitude is undoubtedly important in the financial powers, and can be harmful to the legislative and spiritual, when by restricting it limits their effectiveness.

Sensitivity is harmful to all powers except the spiritual.

Greed is an important and tolerated motivation in the legislative powers, and an indispensable qualification in the financial powers.

Hypocrisy is an incredibly effective feature for the members of the legislature, also quite useful to the executive, and inadvisable for the financial and spiritual ones.

Aggressiveness is useful in the executive, unwelcome in the judiciary, and rather inadvisable in the spiritual and financial powers.

Tribal morality is useful to all the powers except the spiritual, because of their internal variety and competitiveness.

Egotism is an essential quality of the legislators, to a lesser extent of the executive powers. Can be harmful to the judiciary.

Industriousness is necessary in the executive, spiritual, and financial powers. In the judiciary, it is not necessary and sometimes is not tolerated at all.

The will to be liked is crucial to the legislature, useful to the executive and spiritual, not well perceived by the financial powers.

The need to impress is useful to the executive and spiritual, less to the legislative, not at all to the financial powers.

The need to dominate favours the executive, less the spiritual. Redundant to the others.

Care for the common good can be useful to the spiritual powers; however, it should be frowned upon among the legislators and probably also by the executive power.

In the table below we have a compilation of the attitude profiles of the members of particular powers, which favour promotion and personal well-being, so are probably most often seen in the environments of these powers. Lack of usefulness of a given trait is marked with an empty space, usefulness with a +, special usefulness with + + +, harmfulness with a –, and special harmfulness with – – –.

 

 

USEFULNESS OF PARTICULAR FEATURES
TO A GIVEN POWER

 

legislative

executive

judiciary

financial

spiritual

wisdom, intelligence

 

– – –

– – –

+ + +

cunning

+

+

+ + +

independent thinking

– – –

 

– – –

– – –

+ + +

creativity

 

 

– – –

+

righteousness and honesty

– – –

– – –

+

+

+ + +

diligence

 

+

+ + +

ambition

+

+ + +

 

+

good public image

+ + +

+

– – –

+ + +

authoritativeness

 

+

+ + +

courage

– – –

 

 

– – –

+

caution

 

+

+ + +

respect for the law

– – –

– – –

+ + +

+ + +

 

responsibility

 

 

+ + +

sensitivity

– – –

– – –

– – –

– – –

+

greed

+

 

 

+ + +

 

hypocrisy

+ + +

+

 

aggressiveness

 

+ + +

– – –

tribal morality

+ + +

+ + +

+ + +

+ + +

 

egotism

+ + +

 

 

 

industriousness

+ + +

 

+

+

the will to be liked

+ + +

+

 

– – –

+

the need to impress

+

+ + +

 

+ + +

the need to dominate

 

+ + +

 

 

+

care for the common good

– – –

 

 

+

 

As can be easily observed, the psychological profile of a member of the legislative corresponds with the mentality of a door-to-door salesperson or a lackey. The executive prefers the mental stereotype of a leader, the judiciary of a member of a corporation, the spiritual of a teacher, and the financial of a loan shark.

Assigning to the signs: + + +, +, –, – – – these values respectively: 1, ½, -½, and -1, we can calculate the correlation coefficients for the attitudes for particular powers. These coefficients show the similarity of mentalities and the general relations of attitudes. We can accept that the closer the mentalities, conditions, and attitudes, the greater the possibility of co-operation, mutual help, interpenetration of given powers, while the more these factors differ, the lesser the co-operation, mutual help, and interpenetration are.

 

 

Power

legislative

executive

judiciary

financial

spiritual

legislative

100%

61%

-1%

-3%

-22%

executive

61%

100%

-8%

-9%

-11%

judiciary

-1%

-8%

100%

61%

-30%

financial

-3%

-9%

61%

100%

-59%

spiritual

-22%

-11%

-30%

-59%

100%

 

The close relationship of the executive and legislative, as well as of the financial and judiciary powers is clear, as is the mutual alienation of the spiritual and financial powers. The remaining factors are of little significance.

So one can conclude that regardless of the rules of the system, the legislative and executive, and the financial and judiciary, should find it easy to establish relations, whereas the spiritual and financial should isolate themselves from each other.

 

The Deeds of the Governing Ones

 

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he doesn't become a monster.

Frederick Nietsche

 

We can assume in advance that the members of whichever of the powers, if they wanted to, could resign from power, and if they keep it, it means that they desire it for itself, or protection from the influences of others. Regardless of why, the people in power have some liking of it, and an important aim for them is maintaining or even increasing this power.

Keeping this in mind, a member of the legislative power should present a factotum attitude of a “guy’s guy” or of a “pleasant fellow”. He has to strive to be liked. If spoiling the law serves that purpose, he will do it, just to deserve the gratitude of those who will benefit from it. Since it is difficult to imagine somebody influential expressing his gratitude for a law which is good for society, and it is easy to imagine such gratitude for a law bad for the society but good for him, we can expect the law to be shaped on the order of various oligarchs or even foreign interests.

The member of the executive power should be happy if he has the respect of the people, and should build a closed but as-broad-as-possible network of discrete and strong personal relations. Common interest or dependence are the best methods of achieving that. In the former case, the profit of an appropriate associate is superior to public affairs, in the latter, the “dirt” that one can have on somebody else. Then, instead of arresting the criminal, one blackmails him and thus forces him to comply. This way, a clique of associates, dominated by people with criminal records, who parasitize the state, remains in the circles of the executive power. All this because those, on whom there is no dirt, do not guarantee the others their co-operation or silence, and are eliminated from the circles of the this power.

A member of the judiciary power can gain more by not enforcing the law than by enforcing it. Those who require protection from the law will pay for the former, and the budget will pay for the latter anyway, independent of the quality of the judge's or prosecutor's performance. Therefore, the self-seeking members of the judiciary should concern themselves with disarming the law for the chosen ones, establishing relations rather with the underworlds of politics, business, or organised crime than with the abstract idea of respecting the law.

The power of the member of the financial power is not personal, but connected with the common belief in the power of money. Of course, the officers in the lower levels believe in it too, but the higher members are like arch-priests, from which one expects not faith, but rather discretion. What they should care about mostly is effective indoctrination of the powers and people, ensuring the stability of their position, and on rather influencing others discretely than on fame. The spiritual power should be the main area of their attention.

The higher the member of the spiritual power is valued, the more he controls the minds of others. This is his main aim and work method. Within the scope of this power we see a coincidence of general aims with individual ones and of official aims with personal ones. Because of the private property of many institutions of spiritual power, their members are dependent on the financial powers. Considering the cultural differences between the two, this should lead to many tensions between them.

 

The People

 

It is extremely difficult for a spoilt nation to maintain the regained liberty.

Niccolo Machiavelli

 

Monarchies have had rulers and subjects, as opposed to a society of an Enlightenment republic, which has citizens, formally equal before the law, who choose the governing ones from among themselves. The common education system cares for their knowledge and attitudes, which, through their votes, finds its reflection in the quality of the powers and of the state.

As the culture became mass and commercial, in the 20th century civic education started to become weaker or to disappear. The symbolism and content were lowered to the level which was most broadly represented, the lowest. The remains of the higher culture have been kept in school programmes, from which they are gradually being driven out by the mass-culture, which demands ennoblement.

The ideas of common good and civic virtues are disappearing. The ever-further-reaching etatism and the ever-wider offer of shallow entertainment make the social cultural resources, cultivated in the past by social, political, and religious doctrines, disappear. Atomisation and driving out of social bonds by television and other media leads to behaviours characteristic of a crowd rather than a society. In this way citizens gradually turn into a rabble.

The primitivism of thought causes primitivism of choice. Then, acting in the best of faith, the elites limit the possibility of unreasonable choices, limiting democracy itself. This way the citizenship of the people becomes more of a façade, and its serfdom real.

Common tolerance for nepotism, corruption, underworld mentality of the parties, and self-interest of the powers is growing. Nothing strange in that – say the people – if they are us, why should they be better than us? Today's corruption of societies and powers resembles the situation described by de Montesquieu:

“The people fall into this misfortune when those in whom they confide, desirous of concealing their own corruption, endeavour to corrupt them. To disguise their own ambition, they speak to them only of the grandeur of the state; to conceal their own avarice, they incessantly flatter theirs.

The corruption will increase among the corruptors, and likewise among those who are already corrupted. The people will divide the public money among themselves, and, having added the administration of affairs to their indolence, will be for blending their poverty with the amusements of luxury. But with their indolence and luxury, nothing but the public treasure will be able to satisfy their demands.

We must not be surprised to see their suffrages given for money. It is impossible to make great largesses to the people without great extortion: and to compass this, the state must be subverted. The greater the advantages they seem to derive from their liberty, the nearer they approach towards the critical moment of losing it. Petty tyrants arise who have all the vices of a single tyrant. The small remains of liberty soon become insupportable; a single tyrant starts up, and the people are stripped of everything, even of the profits of their corruption.”

 

THE STRENGTH OF THE POWERS

 

After giving up hope of the special commission, he announced his candidacy for the office of pontifex maximus, resorting to the most lavish bribery.

Thinking on the enormous debt which he had thus contracted, he is said to have declared to his mother on the morning of his election, as she kissed him when he  was starting for the polls, that he would never return except as pontifex.

Suetonius on Julius Caesar

 

The Rulers and the Ruled

 

If you must break the law, do it to seize power, in all other cases observe it.

Julius Caesar’s translation of Euripides

 

To estimate the strength of powers in any way, one has to properly distinguish the main actors in the game of power: the ruling and the ruled.

Power is exercised over people and practically only they are subject to it. That is why the main object of power is the society. It is theoretically a source of power and practically its main object.

Organised political groups are key to achieving and exercising power, above all political parties, creating a type of political class, conscious of its difference from the masses and enviously guarding it. Often, the favour of the parties is more important to the powers than social or economic results, because silent co-operation with the opposition has more value for current affairs than the support of the people, and the elections obviously are the domain of the parties only. We will include in the environment of politicians various formal and informal groups having the capability to delegate people to the powers, such as clans, mafias, professional environments; to put it shortly, various elites of power.

In order to exercise power, one has to have means of coercion at one’s disposal: administration, tax offices, the police, the military, prisons. The state powers do not hold the monopoly on coercion. It is also used, to various extents, by corporations, private persons and groups thereof; usually the state is the strongest in this respect, as a matter of fact, as in any other case the stronger would have to trade places with the weaker.

Groups able to use violence in an organised way can be competition for the state powers. The military, the police, tax offices, and prisons are dependent from the executive power, but various private armies or militias are not; just as illegal armed groups. The area of organised violence is an important field of attention for the powers, and the strongest representative of this area is a particular caste of warriors: the army. Essential in times of war, useless, expensive, and parasitizing in times of peace, the army can threaten any power, even though it cannot govern single-handedly in the long run.

The activity of the society can constitute a threat to the powers in some fields, and is their sustenance in others. Etatised, professional economy is the most important source of income of the powers. The success and security of the powers depend on the state of the economy.

The five types of powers (legislative, executive, judiciary, spiritual, and financial) and their four main objects and clients (society, economy, politicians, apparatus of violence) create a group of interdependent participants in the processes of power, which will be considered together in an attempt at quantitative analysis of relations of power.

 

Relations

 

The only cross-border organisations in Europe are crime and capitalism.

Kurt Tucholsky

 

The legislature either nominates the executive power, or at least has some control over it. The formal dependence of the executive is extensive. The judiciary does not depend strongly on the legislative, just as the financial or spiritual powers. The elites of power are also not too dependent on it, because they locate their expectations with the executive. The society is moderately dependent on the laws passed, which functions rather based on customs, however, the economy is strongly dependent. The violence apparatus is also moderately dependent, financed by the budget, but controlled to a small extent.

The executive, by its nature, has a great influence on the society and on the economy, over which it dominates directly and which it exploits. It has also significant influence on politicians and the violence apparatus, by allowing them to feast on the domination and exploitation. Direct influence on the judiciary, financial, and spiritual powers is rather small.

The judiciary lives in its own world and has a rather small influence on other powers. The strongest, and still quite moderate, is its influence on the executive, when it enters court disputes. It can also moderately affect the economy; the remaining influences are small, and on the legislative, spiritual, and financial powers, very small, because they are protected by various formal or actual immunities.

The spiritual power directly affects the people, and where the people factor is important, its influences are significant. What it has great influence on is a society susceptible to indoctrination, politicians and the legislative powers trapped in the cycle of electoral dependencies. The economy, the violence apparatus, and the executive are moderately dependent, and the judiciary and financial are just a little dependent.

The financial power very strongly influences the spiritual, through ownership, and the economy to a similar extent, through credit and investment. The dependence of the executive is strong, also because of credit, average for the legislative and of the politicians, small for the society and violence apparatus, and very small for the judiciary.

The influences of the society are by rule small, it is the object and not the holder of power. The strongest, but at most average, influence of the society can be on the spiritual power and the economy, through various forms of participation. The independence of the executive is very small, of the judiciary is non-existent, and the remaining are weak.

Professional economy, as the main consumer of credit and investment, advertisers, and the main payer of taxes and other more and less legal rents, greatly influences the financial, spiritual, and executive powers. As the employer, it has much influence over society. It has an average, and mainly corruption-related, influence on the legislative and on the politicians, but small on the judiciary and the violence apparatus.

Politicians, or speaking more generally the elites of power, are a not-fully-closed but well-distinguished class, specialising in using the powers of the state to satisfy their needs. The dependence of the legislative on the politicians is great and of the executive is strong. The dependence of the remaining powers is small, and of the financial power – non-existent. The society and the economy directly are not much dependent. The dependence of the violence apparatus is average, because it is an integral, but isolated from the politics, element of the state.

The violence apparatus has strong links with the executive and can affect it greatly. The influences on the other powers are small, average on the society, and small on the economy and politicians. Of course, all this refers to peaceful conditions. A state of emergency or war can change the picture dramatically.

The table below compiles the strength of the particular mutual influence of the participants of power with the following values: non-existent – 0; very small – 0.2; small – 0.4; average – 0.6; high – 0.8; very high – 1. Each number in the table presents the strength of the item in line with the item in the appropriate column. The minimal value is 0, the maximal is 1.

 

Power / client

 

L

E

J

F

S

s

e

p

v

Legislative

L

 

0.8

0.4

0.4

0.4

0.6

0.8

0.4

0.6

Executive

E

0.8

 

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.8

00.8

0.8

0.8

Judiciary

J

0.2

0.6

 

0.2

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.4

0.4

Financial

F

0.6

0.8

0.2

 

1

0.4

1

0.6

0.4

Spiritual

S

0.8

0.6

0.4

0.4

 

1

0.6

0.8

0.6

society

s

0.4

0.2

0

0.2

0.6

 

0.6

0.4

0.4

economy

e

0.6

0.8

0.4

0.8

0.8

1

 

0.6

0.4

politics

p

1

0.8

0.2

0

0.2

0.2

0.2

 

0.6

violence apparatus

v

0.2

0.8

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.6

0.4

0.4

 

 

Influences

 

Paranoiacs have the facts.

Oliver Stone

 

The total strength of a member of the powers is determined as the sum of direct influence and all influences achieved through other participants constituting the products of the appropriate numbers from the previous table. The table below presents the total strengths of particular participants, divided by 9 to normalize the numbers to 1. The minimal strength equals 0, the maximal 1.

 

Power / client

 

L

E

J

F

S

s

e

p

v

Legislative

L

 

0.35

0.15

0.19

0.25

0.36

0.33

0.30

0.29

Executive

E

0.32

 

0.14

0.18

0.24

0.34

0.32

0.29

0.30

Judiciary

J

0.22

0.25

 

0.12

0.16

0.24

0.23

0.21

0.20

Financial

F

0.39

0.41

0.18

 

0.30

0.43

0.37

0.36

0.33

Spiritual

S

0.36

0.40

0.16

0.19

 

0.38

0.37

0.33

0.33

society

s

0.22

0.24

0.10

0.13

0.18

 

0.21

0.20

0.19

economy

e

0.39

0.40

0.16

0.21

0.32

0.40

 

0.37

0.35

politics

p

0.24

0.28

0.12

0.11

0.13

0.25

0.25

 

0.24

violence apparatus

v

0.23

0.24

0.09

0.11

0.16

0.24

0.23

0.22

 

 

The economy and financial power have the greatest influence on the legislature; on the executive, the financial and spiritual powers and the economy; the influences on the judiciary are slight, but the dominating role is played by the financial power; the economy and the financial power have the greatest influence on the spiritual; on the financial – the economy.

In terms of influence on the society, the financial power and the economy appear the strongest; on the economy – the financial and spiritual powers; on politicians, the economy and the financial power; on the violence apparatus, the economy, the financial and spiritual powers.

The next table presents the average total strength of influence of a given participant of power separately for the powers and their clients.

 

Power / client

Influence on the powers

Influence on the clients
of the powers

Legislative

0.23

0.32

Executive

0.22

0.31

Judiciary

0.19

0.22

Financial

0.32

0.37

Spiritual

0.28

0.35

society

0.18

0.20

economy

0.30

0.37

politics

0.18

0.25

violence apparatus

0.16

0.23

 

The following table analogically presents the sensitivity (dependence) of each participant.

 

Power / client

Dependence from the powers

Dependence from the clients
of the powers

Legislative

0.32

0.27

Executive

0.35

0.29

Judiciary

0.16

0.12

Financial

0.17

0.14

Spiritual

0.24

0.20

society

0.35

0.30

economy

0.32

0.23

politics

0.30

0.26

violence apparatus

0.29

0.26

 

As we can see the dominating influence on all powers is exercised by the financial and spiritual powers and the economy, whereas the weakest influence is from politics, violence apparatus, the society, and the judiciary.

Similarly, the financial and spiritual powers and the economy have the greatest influence on the clients of the powers, whereas the smallest is from society, politics, the judiciary, and the violence apparatus, on the clients of the powers

It can also be seen that the executive, society, the economy, and the legislative are the most susceptible to the influence of power, whereas the judiciary and financial powers are the least.

In terms of susceptibility to the influence of clients, society, the executive, legislature, and politics succumb to it the most, whereas the judiciary and financial powers succumb the least.

The percentage apportionment of all influences and dependences relating to the powers is presented in the following two tables.

 

Power

Influence on the powers

Influence on the clients of the powers

legislative

19%

20%

executive

18%

20%

judiciary

15%

14%

financial

26%

24%

spiritual

22%

22%

 

Power

Dependence on the powers

Dependence on the clients of the powers

legislative

26%

27%

executive

28%

29%

judiciary

13%

11%

financial

14%

14%

spiritual

19%

20%

 

We can observe that the total influence on the powers of the two powers from outside the trias politica, the financial and spiritual, is 48% of all influences, and the influence of the two powers on the clients is 46%. The sensitivity of the financial and spiritual powers to the actions of the other powers is just 33%, and to the clients’ situation 34%. In both these cases the percentage that remains characterises the strength of the remaining three basic powers.

The financial and spiritual powers control almost a half of the total power in the country, being dependent on the other actors in the theatre of power only to one-third. Of course, these are just approximate numbers; however, they do show how fundamentally incomplete any theory of the state omitting the two powers from outside the trias politica is.

 

The Power of the Powers

 

As the use of physical power to the utmost extent by no means excludes the co-operation of the intelligent, it follows that he who uses force unsparingly, without reference to the bloodshed involved, must obtain superiority if his adversary uses less vigour in its application. The former then dictates the law to the latter, and both proceed to extremities to which the only limitations are those imposed by the amount of counteracting force on each side.

Carl von Clausewitz

 

As a net strength or power we consider the difference between the influence on the environment (powers and their clients) and dependence on it. The strength is positive if influence surpasses dependence, and negative in the converse situation. The following table compiles the strengths of various powers.

 

 

Power

The strength of a given power in relations with:

other powers

the clients of the powers

legislative

-7%

-6%

executive

-11%

-9%

judiciary

3%

3%

financial

12%

10%

spiritual

3%

3%

 

As we can see, the legislative and executive powers are subject to stronger influences than they exercise, that is why their net strength is negative, and they are more objects or instruments than subjects in power relations. The strength of the judiciary and spiritual powers is small, but positive, whereas that of the financial is positive and great. It is definitely a dominating power.

 

THE PHILOSOPHY OF POWER

 

Just because an opinion is widely held is no evidence that it is not absurd.

Bertrand Russell

 

Acts of Power

 

Everything has happened before.

Ben Akiba

 

All three types of state powers take part in the acts of power, the main content of which is, generally, using coercion. The state practically does not use incentives. For lack of compliance, the powers threaten with various penalties and repressions, and in any other situation, awards are not foreseen. So, the state powers are repressive by nature, and their aims have to be in opposition to the aims of the subjects, if it has to resort to coercion. The relations of these powers are not equal by rule, because some rule and the others are ruled.

The act of financial power is to convince somebody to some actions which he would not perform without a financial incentive. The award for succumbing to financial power is achieving this power by taking over the strength of money, which, when one has it, can be used to rule the others, as long as they desire money. This power is democratic by nature, because it transfers from the ruling to the ruled with an act of it, it is relatively just, common, and succumbing to it is theoretically voluntary. However, because the strength of money depends on how common the faith in it is, the law tries to force society towards this faith in many ways.

The aim of the spiritual power is mind control, and its act is convincing (advertisement, agitating), teaching and education (schools, indoctrination). Theoretically, one does not have to succumb to this power, unless one is a child, and with relation to adults, neither penalties nor awards are much used. The benefit of yielding to this power is some feeling of belonging, an illusion of common thought with the power, and speaking less solemnly, this power feeds on imitating. It is not a nagging power, the only punishment for not succumbing to it is being rejected by public opinion, but since there are many social milieus, acceptance can be easily substituted. The only coercion is internal, created by the imitation instinct, but still, everyone can chose a model to imitate.

In a totalitarian state the governing have all types of power at their disposal; however, in a normal situation these powers are divided among different groups. Then, the acts of the executive are relatively most brutal, of the financial moderately brutal, and of the spiritual, the least. And it is the other way around with refinement, the highest characterises the spiritual, the lowest the direct powers.

 

Aesthetics of Power

 

They always feel nauseous, they vomit out bile and call it a newspaper.

Freidrich Nietzsche

 

The relations of power are usually unaesthetic. Aggression, humiliation, and exploitation are rather unpleasant things. That is why most of the actions of the executive powers are ugly.

The legislature, when it is able to control itself, tries to present itself as solemn, but since it is a large bunch and difficult to keep an eye on, it easily compromises itself with corruption, promiscuity, or stupidity. It is spotted, but with more ugliness.

The judiciary frames its actions within a specific liturgy, which builds its standing. This power cares for aesthetics. It wears a fancy make-up which some find attractive.

The spiritual power has to be charming, in any other case nobody would succumb to it. However, it does use various aesthetics – from ascetic liturgies of the churches to half-naked women in the commercials, it is the spiritual power which at least tries to be pretty.

The financial power is a rather embarrassing issue by nature. Buying people is not very morally sound, and succumbing to greed is also not perceived as praise-worthy. Only liberal philosophy sees it as the prettiest freedom of every person to buy and to be bought. Therefore, the acts of financial powers are usually powdered and faced with marble, but in a way that can deceive only an untrained eye. Underneath they are ugly.

 

The Ethics of Power

 

Nature herself has, I fear, fastened on man a certain instinct of inhumanity.

Michel de Montaigne

 

If we consider freedom as good, then power, which by definition limits our freedom, is evil. This corresponds to the feeling of anyone who has felt somebody else's power on them. It is usually sad, and evil from a personal point of view. The effects of the acts of power can be good for the governing, but for the governed the benefits from power can be only indirect, because the instruments of power do not serve achievement of any goods.

Various social doctrines are more or less masked systems of justifying the evil brought about by the powers. Some oppose the evil done by the powers to the even-greater evil which would come about if there were no formal powers, and to the cruelties of the natural relations of domination and exploitation that could happen. Others claim that not having your own powers lures foreign ones. Anyway, the powers are presented as a vaccine, an unpleasant one causing symptoms of an illness, but less dangerous than the illness itself, a kind of lesser evil.

Nobody honest and sane will present the powers as something good, maybe with some exceptions. The spiritual power can be considered as good, when it civilises the people and teaches them good things, but it can also corrupt. It would seem that spiritual power of the wiser over the stupider, and generally of the better over the worse, should be good, but this is a tautology, I think. One can suspect that commercialisation would not serve the spiritual powers, since it introduces a market atmosphere of greed, egotism, and rivalry, which are hard to reconcile with the paternalistic or idealistic feeling of concern or responsibility.

In some conditions the financial power can be considered as good, because it brings order to some social relations, even though this means the less finances, the more society, and the other way around as well. Apart from this, it is not a very painful power and possible to avoid with some intelligence and independent thinking; it is also quite democratic.

It is very difficult to perceive state powers as good, unless one searches for protection or justice in them. But such situations are rather rare, and one pays taxes everyday, for instance when shopping. Usually, not many feel as if there are not enough powers, maybe except the members of these powers. But since there are more governed than governing, one can recognise, according to democratic criteria, that the model of social organisation in which there are less state powers is better than the with more of them.

Not many realise that state powers never use rewards, and all their instruments serve exercising violence. Orders or medals of a symbolic value are a paltry exception, as are financial pensions, which come from impoverishing the others. Apart from this, the state powers use only penalties, doing evil or at least distressing those to whom they direct their attention even though the indirect social effects of such distress can be useful.

It appears that in the perspective of commercialisation and globalisation, the strength of the state powers can become smaller, which could grant a surprisingly positive ethical aspect to those indifferent or morally criticised processes.

 

The Economy of Power 

 

Who has much silver may be happy.

Who has much barley may be happy.

But who has nothing at all may sleep.

Sumerian proverb

 

How much does the power cost the governed? It is easy to add up the professional spiritual powers, the cost of financial powers is mainly indirect, but possible to estimate. Paradoxically, the cost of the state powers is the most difficult to calculate, because public accounts conceal more than they reveal.

A simple detour sign, set up by the powers, because they can do it, makes the route of a million cars a mile longer. It is not visible in the state budget, but does increase the burden the society, this time the drivers, has to carry. Paradoxically, it also increases the GDP, the formal measure of wealth of the society unproductively sitting in their cars. This shows the low use of the budget, and macroeconomic calculations for estimating the real costs of public affairs.

Credible estimates have to be based on some hypotheses and assumptions, and therefore will always be disputable. The most cautious estimates show that the governed are impoverished fourfold by the state. This means that if they did not have to support the state powers and satisfy their whims, they would have a purchasing power four times stronger than now, working as much as now. However, the state ridding them of three parts of this purchasing power, keeps less than one, losing more than two along the way.

Generalising these estimates requires some caution, however, because they concern the product of simple work engaging co-operation to a small extent. Less and less value of goods constitutes the value of work, and, additionally, we are more and more dependent from a very wide infrastructure supported, or at least co-ordinated by, the state. It is hard to say how useful this infrastructure would be if left solely to the forces of the market. So, some of the costs of state powers may have some justification.

Modern tax system is ineffective: out of the four units of their product, the state has to rid the citizens of three in order to get one. The rest is consumed by records, control, accountants, lawyers, officers, and other parasites of the system. Economists usually claim, after Keynes, that these allegedly-wasted two units reach the people anyway, they reach those controllers, accountants, lawyers, officers, and then go to the market, where they create a useful demand. This is a bit hypocritical, because it mixes parasites with hosts in one category, and so loses the moral aspect.

Anyway, the cost of the powers is great. The problem is, what do they for society in return?

 

Utility of Power

 

Where there is cruel law, the people miss anarchy.

Stanisław Jerzy Lec

 

There is not a lot of reason in this world, including amongst the powers. Also, honesty is rather an ideal than a real virtue. Therefore, the aims intended are often different than these declared, and even more different than the ones achieved. And good, because, despite Hobbes’s thesis, it is generally better if we are ruled by chance, custom, or automatism than somebody’s will. Periods in which an individual was able to impose his own vision on the society are usually remembered with dismay.

A person in power, who does not look after his own interest, usually loses his power quickly. So does a person who forgets, who has given him this power and who can take it away. Generally, it can be accepted that the relations of power select those actions of the powers which are connected with serving oneself first, then other powers and the environment, on which their success depends, and lastly, the rest of the world, of course if they have enough strength for that.

Power is a developed form of social parasitism, decorated with insignia, liturgies, legends, and ideologies, supercilious and full of self-content. In the case of animals, we can suspect that if domination relations did not contribute to the success of the group, the group would lose competition with the groups organised without domination. The fact that domination is so common proves that it is useful to whole groups and not only to the dominating specimens. Extending this reasoning to people seems justified, at least in the sense that destabilised hordes quickly lose their freedom, the kind which they value, to better-organised groups.

The discovery of a lack of domination relations in some species of monkeys could add spice to this. There are some monkeys which only have a mechanism making sure that power is not created. It functions through the strong specimens developing aggression towards any specimens trying to dominate anyone, this aggression being caused by the complaints of the tormented one. It is an interesting, but rarely-encountered and not-yet-examined case. Besides, does the discovery of lack of domination mean anything other than that domination relations have not been discovered yet? This would mean much less.

It is hard to say if the hosts of powers would visibly profit if the relations of power suddenly disappeared. Obviously, at first they would feel relief from taxes and other burdens. But also, they could quickly need the protection or care of the community, and these require some organisation and rebuilding the relations of power. Even though states are ineffective and wasteful contractors, corporate management of the society has not caught on yet. Besides, large corporations have to become similar to the states with their ineffectiveness and organic mismanagement.

We can surely maintain that the power protects its subjects from other powers of the same type, to put it shortly: it protects its monopoly. A fall or dysfunction of power structures would most probably quickly lure some other power, which would build its own, or rather take over the old structures with institutions, laws, and officers. In this respect, we can say that power is inevitable, but not as extended as today.

Since it is hard to abandon power altogether, and stepping outside the relations of power is difficult, the optimal strategy of a member of the society is to fight for being the ruling rather than the ruled. Other than marginalising oneself to the status of a tramp, a lunatic, or any other person not attracting the attention of the powers, achieving relative protection from the actions of the powers requires joining them, or at least their court.

One can influence the powers from the outside, and even at the roots, through what is known as “civic activity”. Informing, reporting, or public or media pressure, by creating discomfort for some cog in the mechanism of power, can effectively direct its actions.

Not all issues concerning the common good can be optimised by the market. Therefore, not all should be commercialised. This concerns mainly environment protection, healthcare, education, and some social welfare. The existence of these areas is really the only justification for the existence of the powers that is hard to question. Of course, they must be of a size appropriate to the scope of these issues and of a quality better than that of the market. But if the powers are corrupt or irresponsible, the area of common good undergoes commercialisation, both legal and corrupt. It starts to operate like the market, which in this case means wrongly.

 

THE FUTURE OF power

 

But when we inquire whether aerial flight is possible in the present state of our knowledge; whether, with such materials as we possess, a combination of steel, cloth and wire can be made which, moved by the power of electricity or steam, shall form a successful flying machine, the outlook may be altogether different.

Sir Simon Newcomb the year the Wrights Brother flew

 

Politics

 

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

Thomas Jefferson

 

The increasing communication and telecommunication possibilities, as well as the efficiency of data processing and of controlling complex systems speeds up many processes, defined by the broad and rather fitting term of globalisation. De facto, globalisation is the last stage of expansion of European civilisation, which is gradually becoming the civilisation of the whole globe.

Finances, science, education, the media, war conduct, pseudo-Enlightenment and the pseudo-democratic model of the state and of society – all of these expanding elements of civilisation are of European origin. The modern centre of European civilisation, the United States of America, is becoming the centre of global civilisation before our eyes, and that is where most probably the planetary republic of the Earth will be constituted.

As the possibilities of expansion disappear, the global civilisation will have to become a civilisation of balance and create regulations and institutions appropriate to this aim. But this is a rather remote future, possible in the perspective of generations rather than years. Before that happens, we face coexistence of several, relatively sovereign European civilisations or civilisations gradually becoming European.

These will most probably be the USA with both Americas, Europe probably with Russia, China with adjoining countries, and the Muslim world. It is not entirely clear where to assign Russia and India. There are various ways leading to integration, if it is to be peaceful, than it will last many hundreds of years, if it is done by force, it can come about in this century. Considering how quickly the clocks tick today, the second possibility seems more realistic.

The shaping of civilisation centres will probably have its specific courses in all civilisations. What seems most important is how the institutions and power relations will be shaped in the American civilisation, which is probably the ultimate common model for the world.

This does not have to mean that the USA will have some national or state domination, although from the very beginning this country has been multicultural and multinational. Besides, the power over the United States has to gradually become international, for instance because of the increase of the not-entirely-clear influences of creditors of the USA: big countries, big corporations, the wealthiest families. Even now America is perceived as the place where power is concentrated and rather as an instrument of power than its holder.

America is an impressive implementation of the Enlightenment utopia, full of self-content, and one should not expect that it will consciously move away from the model it takes so much pride in. The United States of the Earth should, therefore, have planetary institutions of power similar to those of the USA today: strong powers of all three kinds at subsequent levels of the federation and private financial and spiritual powers.

Nationalisation of private powers is not to be expected; rather to the contrary, the commercialisation of many duties of the public sector seems more probable. The democratic election of the legislature and the quasi-democratic selection of the executive, probably exercised by one person, will still be a rule. If it does not come to a breakdown of the finance system, the financial power should maintain its leading role amongst the powers, and commercialisation can take over almost the whole scope of the executive.

An ever greater number of issues assigned to various administrations is being realised by professional services on market terms, the role of the anonymous power of money is becoming ever stronger, the role of the state ever weaker. The commercialisation of the issues of the power – both the official and the corrupt one (both are a result of the growth of the power of money anyway), as well as the perception of a person as a consumer, and especially his own self-consciousness of this fact, can even officially reduce the role of the state powers to mild and unimportant forms of system growths, similar to those accepted by the European royal courts, wherever they have been left.

This is how the future of power can be seen today. Of course, it is not fully determined. First, any greater catastrophe can change the course of this evolution; second, an alternative model of power can come up at any time and give some other civilisation the advantage, or be attractive to America. But today nobody has heard of something like this, even though some people may be thinking of this and declare it any time.

Globalisation may someday add one more circumstance, territories and nations will disappear and competition for global powers with them. Protection from external forces will lose its sense then. The need to maintain foreign policies, the army, border guards, and some agencies will disappear and the role of internal agencies, protecting the powers from the governed, will grow.

 

The Economy

 

There is no use for politicians. They lack the judgement of central bankers.

Fritz Leutwiler, chairman of the Swiss National Bank

 

The systematic shrinking of the job market is not an illness, but the essence of the modern economic system. Under the pressure of competition, in striving for marginalising costs, and especially because of computerisation and automation, consecutive branches of the economy are cutting down on employment. People are still perceived as consumers, but they have to be equipped with the capability to consume regardless of whether they can do any work.

Various visionaries and forecasters are becoming unanimous that ultimately 80% of the population can be economically unnecessary as employees, but probably remaining vital as consumers. But what will they consume for? Maybe for consumption itself, one consumption for another. A certain harbinger of this is the existing market of advertisement consumption.

If we treat the economy as the flow of currency symbolising the flow of acts of the financial power, the power of the paying over the paid, then the exit of 80% of the population from this circle would mean a fivefold shrinking of the domain of the financial powers. This would be most probably a perspective painful enough to justify the introduction of some social solidarity mechanisms into the financial system.

From the point of view of the financial powers, it would be best to equip every person with a layette, with which he can do as he pleased. It could be treated as a loan or a gift, it does not really matter, ultimately the money would return to the market governed by the financial powers.

It could be called “financial democracy” or “social credit”, and could constitute a nucleus for the construction of a new system, most probably with some harm to the current powers. The contemporary financing of public social care systems is much less effective, but it probably has to be treated as a compromise with the executive, the success and power of which are served by these systems.

Since more of the existential needs of the people will be satisfied with the ever-more mechanistic economy, what will other people be useful for? There are various possibilities, but all head towards freeing the people from the paradigm of employee, competition, or consumer, at least within the scope of basic goods and direct social relations.

Social life might somewhere come close to the refined forms known from the Greek city-states, in which the free citizens devoted themselves to philosophical discussions while leaving labour to various “non-humans”. But considering the primitivism of the mass culture, such “spiritual” life in larger groups would rather have to concentrate on supporting sports, gambling, or fashion than philosophy or art. Well, the spirituality shows the spirit.

Considering the galloping pace of commercialisation, not only in social life, but above all in the minds of the people, it seems quite probable that civic and even human rights will become saleable. This way, new forms of slavery or of client-patron relations would emerge, or at least a class society. This would not violate the rules of freedom or equality, and propagandists would even say that it expands freedom by giving everyone the power to manage his freedom.

Maybe regular customers of social care will become slaves of the state, the officers their overseers, and the law will allow vassal relations between free people, set up within the limits of freedom of contracts. This would give birth to the possibility of transfer of rights to vote or other civic rights. A free citizen, just as a straying dog, will have the chance of being adopted by a rich person, corporation, or state, gaining some mission in life and feelings of belonging and security in turn for a part of his freedom which he does not value much anyway.

It appears quite probable that people of different classes will be allowed to different levels of democracy, and social position, even though seemingly achieved by everyone independently, would actually be inherited. The republic on its highest levels will become a group of a couple of specialised oligarchies, and society will be divided into classes.

It is a certain setback compared to the idea of the Enlightenment society of people, formally equal with indispensable freedom. But it can also be presented as the development of social security, within the frames of which somebody becoming an adult will have a choice; for instance either a lifetime supply of food, TV, and the Internet, or a ton of credits, or an abstract right to vote along with tax duty. It is easy to predict the choice, isn’t it?

 

Democracy

 

Our party is a fortress, the gates of which are opened only to those who have been tested.

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin

 

In the several-thousand-year-long history of civilisation, democratic episodes have been rare and have not lasted that long, and they concerned only some social classes. It was the Enlightenment model that has made all subjects equal in their rights, has given them the title of citizens, and derived the legitimacy of the powers and their actions from their will.

The actual levelling of the rights of all citizens, regardless of race or sex, came about in the 20th century and opened the first chapter in history of formal equality of all adult citizens of most European-civilisation countries, that is of a fifth of the whole human population. This period is probably coming to an end, which lets us calculate the share of formal equality in the history of mankind as amounting to a hundredth of the time it has lasted and about the same fraction of the human beings that have experienced it. Equality is a rare phenomenon, as is freedom.

On a scale of billions of people one can forget about any democracy or upholding the concept of citizenship or utility of elections. Some part of democracy may remain in the lower levels: in towns, maybe regions, and in some remains of countries, but global elections will require full direction, which is a result of the nature of the media rather than hypocrisy.

Teams of people are effective when they are made up from a couple members, up to perhaps a few dozen. The legislative bodies have some practise in operating in an inefficient, but somehow customary, scale of hundreds. If the top of the Earthly executive power was comprised of a couple, and the top of the legislature of some hundreds, and they both came from elections, then a member of the executive would represent about a billion people, and a member of the legislature several millions.

This scale excludes any sensible representation or such legitimisation of the powers in which the people believe that they are choosing their representatives from among themselves. It is obvious even today that it is not the people who elect the members of the powers from among themselves, but the TV viewers choose the powers from among the actors on TV, and this is really something else. Democracy may be possible at a rally or a fair, but not in a one-way medium, in which some are shown and others watch. These roles divide them more than social class. Some have active and some have passive election rights, and that is that. Anyway, can it be any other way?

Some representativeness of the powers could be saved by building many levels, organised vertically, rather federally than commonly and unitary, but this is a straight road to a class society. To put it shortly: something has to change. The Enlightenment society and state, regardless of their quality, are coming to an end as a result of internal contradictions which have come about as they have grown. Opinions can vary as to whether they were a good project, but they concern history now, not in the future, and in the present they concern only the surface and the names of the phenomena, and no longer the essence or content.

 

The Perspectives of Change

 

Time immortal gods have, by their providence, arranged and established what is right. (...) No new religion must presume to censure the old, since it is the greatest of crimes to overturn what has been once established by our ancestors...

Diocletian

 

The Legislative Power

Because of the cacophony of legal regulations flooding the world, a legal reform will be necessary in most areas; most importantly, it will have to simplify the law. Legislation will probably be entrusted in some caste of professionals, but acceptance of the laws will still be in the hands of a democratically-elected parliament.

If the doctrine of the legitimising role of the people's will is maintained, some day it will be possible to eliminate the legislature through entrusting its competences with a permanent referendum. It would be a great saving and a good way of absorbing the growing masses of the unemployed with public affairs.

Privatisation of the legislature seems unlikely, but the mentioned professionalization is inevitable. A growing role of the judiciary can be expected in this area.

The Executive Power

Not much can be changed in this area, other than systematic limiting of the scope of issues, with which this power will be dealing. Its last stand will be administration, revenue offices, the police, and the army, although some forms of commercialisation and privatisation will appear as well.

Many areas earlier treated as public, such as education, finance, transport, and delivery of media, are already entering the domain of professional management. Which in no way means that it is better, because even though it is better to root out incompetence and greed of the politicians from those areas on the one hand, on the other, professionalism by definition has narrow knowledge and limits the understanding of the issues. Often professionals do not see important events in their fields, events obvious to simple folk and to simple politicians, but not being in accordance with the accepted professional paradigm.

The Judiciary Power

It is a corporate power, requiring special qualifications and experience. Not much can change in this area, maybe only that in some areas a new type of social court might appear, a court working on the basis of a common phone-in quiz. Such a court could take over the competences which do not interfere with the other powers; as disciplinary, customary, family, smaller property cases, etc. It would fall under the overwhelming influence of the spiritual power.

The American legal system relying on precedence, inherited from the UK, creates some problems. Unless somebody creates computer software making it possible for laymen to move around in the legal jungle, someday the USA, and in consequence the world, will have to convert to the codex system, which is more coherent anyway with a mechanical or algorithmic vision of man. This will decrease the range of power of the courts, but this loss can be compensated with legislative competences.

The Spiritual Power

This power is private by nature and will probably remain as such. Commercialisation of culture has lowered its level incredibly, but globalisation can also bring new chances for a development of high culture. Within the scope of the common, global culture, it will be easier to find a million refined recipients among the connected billions.

The spiritual power shapes the thinking of other powers. It was the spiritual power of Locke and de Montesquieu that shaped the current system in the USA and it will be somebody else’s power that will shape the new world order. All changes, for the good and the bad, will be initiated within this power.

The Financial Power

This is mostly private and will probably stay that way. Some changes can be brought about by complete dematerialisation of money and its driving out by some abstract social credit. This credit could be serviced by the Treasury, and all taxes replaced with one electronic money turnover tax. It has to be expected that the financial powers will not give up their domain easily and will either scuttle such a project, or force privatisation of the Treasury and move their monopolies there.

The executive can have enough force to carry out such a reform only in times of great crisis or catastrophe; however, considering how blown up the bubble of debt is and that the stock markets are multiply overvalued, a catastrophe in world finance is more than possible.

The stability of the world monetary system brings in a strong factor of insecurity to all predictions. And the further evolution of the issues concerning the powers will strongly depend on how long the common state of peace of mind of those who think they have something and those who think they deserve something can be kept, if there is nothing more than words of consolation for both these groups.

 

CONCLUSIONS

 

The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.

James Branch Cabell

 

The tables below present the results of the above deliberations on the subject of various powers.

 

Power

Range

Origin

legislative

the state, group of states

common elections

executive

the state

back-room selection, rarely common election

judiciary

the state, group of states

hereditary, co-opting, nomination

financial

the market

hereditary, purchase, co-opting

spiritual

civilisation

entrusting, purchase, competition, co-opting

 

Power

Dominating attitudes

Reference groups

legislative

factotum, lackey

politicians, the media, business

executive

tribal mentality, aggression

politicians, business

judiciary

lounge or clan mentality

itself, the world of crime

financial

loan-shark, paranoia

itself, politicians

spiritual

standing, knowledge

itself, the financial power, business

 

Power

Time horizon

Short-term aims

Long-term aims

legislative

a few years

enrichment

popularity, re-election

executive

a few to a couple of dozen years

domination

security of the group

judiciary

length of personal career

enrichment

advance in the hierarchy

financial

the stability time of the families

advance in the hierarchy

security of the group

spiritual

the stability time of the doctrines

standing

advance in the hierarchy

 

Power

Influence

Dependence

legislative

average

high

executive

average

high

judiciary

weak

low

financial

strong

low

spiritual

strong

average

 

Power

Utility

Cost

Aesthetics

Ethics

legislative

low

great

quite ugly

non-ethical

executive

low

great

ugly

non-ethical

judiciary

low

high

quite pretty

slightly ethical

financial

considerable

average

powdered

ethical

spiritual

high

high

pretty

ethical

 

The picture is quite shocking and totally incompatible with the trias politica doctrine: the law constituted by door-to-door salesmen, interpreted by people with a lounge mentality, executed by aggressive guys with an underworld mentality, finances in the hands of greedy paranoiacs... Mentally able teachers with much power would deliver some comfort if not for the effect of their education, which is the quality of the remaining elites.

Private or oligarchic powers, which are barely dependent on the rest of the world and already have their global centres, have the widest range and horizon of activity, and the most strength.

This does not mean that there are no people with a feeling of selfless mission and developed consciousness of the common good within the powers. But such an attitude is not subject to selection, and even if it was, than to negative selection. It is understandable: as long as times are peaceful and prosperous, few miss the statesmen.

This situation is unsatisfactory and even humiliating to those attached to the idea of democracy: on the one hand, a discrete but dominating position of the unofficial powers, private by nature and poorly-controlled by the state, but easily influencing it; on the other hand, negative selection of the state powers and their constantly-decreasing value, no long-term planning or at least the inability to reason effectively in a longer perspective than of a few years and in a broader one than regional...

The growing influence of money and commercialisation of social life create a growing range for the financial power, which includes money – a substitute for the broken social ties. Also the range of the spiritual power increases thanks to new media and new techniques of manipulation. The strength of these powers is greater than ever and can still grow. Even though not that much, because the borderline is marked with the limitation of our minds and time: one cannot control more than 100% of thoughts and put a price on more than 100% of social relations.

The state powers become weaker and ever more dysfunctional, and their autonomy has become disputable. Dependence of the politicians on the media and finances is great and cannot be much greater. It looks more like a stable system of domination of private powers, within which there is some competition, of course, but also monopolistic tendencies, which will gradually reduce the number of centres of  power.

Exercising power through credit, information, and entertainment is easy to cope with and even to overlook. That is why the façade of the Enlightenment state still looks fresh. Human rights do not have to be re-interpreted, because a citizen enslaved economically and spiritually can remain, in a sense, a free person: a candidate somewhere, vote for something, enjoy guarantees of some freedoms and some laws.

In crisis situations, state powers can gain some subjectivity and even independence from other powers. The problem is that they would have to know what to do with this surprising freedom, e.g. which reform project to introduce. Such a project would have to stem from the revised definitions of humanity and society, maybe it would include some kind of ostracism or rather a mechanism for eliminating excessive power in the hand of an individual, also financial and spiritual. However, this would require constructing a new utopia, somewhere far away from the civilisation centres, and not soon I guess.

An alternative is not clear in the short perspective. The only hope for change comes about in a situation of break down of the current system. However, one cannot hope for positive changes without important ideas in the area of spiritual influences. These ideas, in order to have the force to break through consumer instincts, would probably have to operate within the sphere of values, preferably religious, because they are broadly propagated and reach deeper.

But since the state, or more generally, political powers are, as we have established earlier, ugly, evil, dysfunctional, and ludicrously expensive, why protect it from the market? Should it not be the natural aim of any reasonable person to strive for its abolition?

Finding a place and form of compensation for the members of the powers, a kind of ransom paid by society, will always be a problem. It appears that both would be well solved by privatisation, i.e. division of the public goods among the members of the powers, something they do themselves anyway, but slowly and secretly. Another problem will be preventing powers from establishing themselves, because their own self-destruction tendencies are too slow and too expensive. Since there still has to be some sort of police, it could have such control functions. Monkeys can do it, so people could try as well, right?

If the current tendencies remain, and this will happen if no “breakthrough ideas” appear or if the system of world finances does not crumble, then in this globalised world the tripartite powers should disappear, shrinking and slowly marginalising in a somewhat similar way to the earlier European royal courts in those countries where they still exist. The façade can remain, and formally the people can have a parliament, courts, and a government, but they will not do the governing.

Maybe that's for the better?

2003/2004