Democracy in Decline

Democracy is in decline. Larry Diamond said we were in a democratic recession years ago. Freedom House has tracked a worldwide decline in recession for the past 12 years. Their most recent report was titled Democracy in Crisis. The election of Donald Trump sent the literature into overdrive. Theorists and scholars are afraid of the…

Responsibility

Liberalism acknowledges the alienation of the state from its citizens. The foundation of liberalism is a protection of human rights. Rousseau did not discuss human rights in his social contract. This was a dramatic departure from Locke whose social contract was based on a conception of natural rights. Because the social contract was an intimate…

Ethics

Philosophers divide ethical theories into either teleological or deontological approaches. Teleology focuses on outcomes whereas deontology focuses on the process. This is an oversimplification. But the divergent approaches are best demonstrated by Ayn Rand whose most common aphorism was, “The end does not justify the means.” Rand preferred a deontological approach based on the Kantian…

Freedom

It has been over twenty years since I read Sartre’s Being and Nothingness. He caught me off guard when he described humanity as free. This was a dramatic contrast to Rousseau’s poetry in the opening lines of The Social Contract, “Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains.” I had never differentiated between…

Alienation

Organizations embody institutions. Elites govern organizations. Their role in organizations gives them influence on institutional transformation and change. A small organization may consist solely of elites. An organization of five is unlikely to differentiate between the elites and the wider membership. Small companies have a hierarchy. But every person in the organization has significant influence…

Elites

Before I explain the role of elites, this is a good place to review some of the basic concepts I set in motion over the past few posts. Power is the fundamental force not only of politics but all of society. It is segmented into institutions where it is decentralized into organizations. An institution is…

Customs

Customs, traditions, norms and laws have significant differences. But they all establish the limits and boundaries of institutions. This makes it sound like they hold institutions back from reaching their full potential. On the contrary, they give definition to institutions. Without rules, institutions do not exist. A few days ago, I wrote about institutions. Their…

Identity

In the second book of The Republic, Plato mentions a cast of different people necessary for the maintenance of an imagined city. He includes a husbandman, a builder, a weaver and a shoemaker. He goes on to include more people, but each person is defined by their position. Each person is to have one job…

Institutions

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…

Power

“Political Science… is the study of shaping and sharing power,” according to Harold Lasswell. It surprises me how rarely power is discussed within the literature of political science. Moreover, it is a surprise how scholars segment power into politics because power encompasses so much of modern society. Power depends on resources. Resources are found in…