Power is segmented into institutions. Religious power is found in religious institutions. Economic power is found in corporations and businesses. Different forms of power are segmented into institutions where power is centralized into organizations. But this fails to answer critical questions. Why is power segmented? And why do people participate in the centralization of power into new organizations?

The segmentation of power is necessary as society grows and expands. It works the same way business works. People do not always fit into the positions made available for them in their current company. A lot of people look for new opportunities in other companies or start new companies where there are fewer restrictions to their ambitions or creativity. Society works in the same way. New institutions develop to create opportunities for people. These opportunities require a decentralization of power and authority.

A lot has been written about the creation of institutions within the literature of political development. Writers like Huntington and Fukuyama argue political development requires the creation of institutions. This implies many societies fail to develop institutions. This fails to recognize the variety of institutions they have developed. The clans and patrimonial institutions that Fukuyama bemoans are institutions. The problem is they are not the right institutions for modern state development. But this analysis still fails to reflect the conditions necessary for the development of an effective democracy.

The decentralization and segmentation of power is not a paradox. The paradox is the centralization or recentralization of power. The startup’s appeal is its intimacy and environment. But the successful startup does not remain a small tightknit organization. It grows and expands into corporate giants like Google, Apple and Amazon. Why? The simple answer for a company is money. But this idea does not hold when translated to other institutions. Christianity began as a small sect with exceptional diversity in belief. But power centralized into organizations who began persecutions before the conversion of Constantine. Why?

The Arian controversy was one of many debates within the early church. Most Christians made a choice to support official dogma. There was an opportunity to splinter into smaller groups. But a church hierarchy developed. The hierarchy developed before the conversion of Constantine. The marriage of the Roman State and the Church accelerated the consolidation of the faith. But the framework was established before Constantine. Why?

Many people do not want to create their own company. They want a job. More importantly they want to belong. There are two parts to human nature. There is a desire for freedom but there is an equally strong desire to cooperate. These contradictory desires are a part of every person. Some people struggle to work for others. Some struggle to work with others. But people are motivated by freedom and cooperation.

There is a fundamental desire to be a part of something larger than ourselves. The desire to create something bigger than we can make on our own leads us to pool our resources together. Resources are consolidated into churches, schools, charities, businesses and government. But as these organizations become larger the fundamental tension increases. Someone will want to do something different. Someone will have a new idea. This is where we discover invention and innovation.

jmk, carmel, indiana, democracyparadoxblog@gmail.com

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