Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Differences between Models of Power and Models of Persuasion

In summary:
Government as we have here in the U.S. has a legal monopoly of the use of force and violence only allowing the citizens the right to use force in their own defense, in certain and specific situations. Governments are organized into (in the case of democracies) legislatures, courts and executive bureaucracies to carry out all its functions and logistics. Government is therefore a model of power and organization, able to compel its citizens to obey the laws by threat of force.

Business has no ability to use force to compel a citizen to purchase any of its goods and services. Businesses use advertising and salesmanship to convince the citizen to patronize them. Their purpose is to create wealth and make a profit. Businesses can further be organized into bureaucratic like managerial structures to handle large scale complex and specialized operations. Business is therefore a model of production and persuasion.

Business can only persuade or influence government but at all times, it must be noted that government has power which can be used against a business or individual and therefore always has the upper hand.

It is a widely held belief that there is a golden rule where the man with the gold makes the rules. This is mostly false. Mao Zedong was more correct in noting that power flows from the barrel of a gun.

In the first case, the man with the gold, absent any means of force, i.e. the means or ability to kill others or otherwise make credible and enforceable threats, is limited to using his gold to persuade people to obey his will or influence their actions. Hence, this is a model of persuasion or influence. Businesses, from the one man shop up to the largest corporation or any bank, are primarily models of production and also of persuasion and/or influence. One is free to, or not, purchase any goods or services and the business or bank has no recourse by which to coerce the recalcitrant citizen into making a transaction or taking out a loan.

The man with the gun, or means of force whereby he can kill others and has some kind of monopoly on the use of force and violence is a model of power. Governments have a monopoly on the use of force in so far as they can punish their citizens for transgressions of law by means of fines (forcibly taking money)  and imprisonment (forcibly restricting freedom of movement) or by execution and are therefore models of power. '

How this affects us in NYC:
We need to understand these distinctions in order to have a clear view of the current situation we face as New Yorkers and as U.S. citizens. In order to solve a problem, one must first identify and understand what the problem is, the components making up the system, how the components are related to each other and how they function together.

We here in Queens can rightly see the developers and real estate industry (REBNY) as problematic in light of the current residential building rampage with ever rising housing costs and an infrastructure insufficient to the ever increasing population density. We may be tempted to believe that REBNY  actually runs the political establishment with all city officials as being their employees. This is a convenient smokescreen for the city government, which as a model of force which always has the upper hand but acts as the passive victim and REBNY, like corporations, banks and Wall Street brokerage houses play the villains. REBNY can only buy influence which as the Knights Templar learned with King Philip IV of France or more recently Martha Stewart, that influence not only has its limits but can be revoked at the pleasure of the man with the gun.

In conclusion, we must hold our elected officials accountable for the actions of business interests that are detrimental to our community and responsible for reigning in the excesses.

Donald Cavaioli

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