Image via Market Oracle
It is important that we understand the flow of power and control through a society. The chart above is a rudimentary attempt to describe a simple hierarchy of economic and political control in the developed world. A lot of important features and players have been left out, and the overall dynamic flow is somewhat misrepresented. But it is a descriptive beginning, and can be modified and built upon.
What is left out, besides Russia, China, other BRICS, and the third world? There is the curious case of Iceland, for one. Iceland has chosen to sever some of its ties with the global banking hierarchy. Other debtor nations may choose the same approach, if they feel able.
Organised crime, black markets, gray markets, and barter can be as much as half or more of a nation’s total economy, but are provided no cubby-hole of their own in the chart. The same criticism applies on an international scale.
There is an odd absence of horizontal interconnections between the discrete power-boxes. Strangely, the connecting links go in only one direction. And equally troubling, the strength of the arrows is not even hinted at.
The chart provides a simple, early overview of how power can flow within and between societies in the modern world. But it fails to incorporate alternative approaches being taken by certain nations. And its lack of dynamic realism and resilience gives it a brittle appearance — subject to easy fracturing and pulverisation, should certain developments take place.
Probably the largest single deficiency of the chart is the suggestion that all power in the developed world flows downward from a “Ruling Omnipotent Kleptocracy” which constitutes a monolithic bloc, united in goals and outlook. The lack of interactive feedback between “government” and the “military-industrial complex,” between “government” and “media,” and between “government” and “banking,” goes beyond simplicity into the naive and conspiratorial.
Sure, the world at any given time is being run by conspiracy. But it is not the particular conspiracy you envision. And it is being run by substantially different conspiracies over time, as alliances are joined, then fall away.
It is crucially important that Dangerous Children have a sense of the flows of power and wealth. But if the model is too naive and simplistic, lending only to fantastical conspiracy theories with no possible approaches to solutions — it needs to be improved.
One should understand that there are only a few single individuals who make a substantial difference in the flow of power and wealth. Most others could disappear overnight without affecting the global dynamic. The same applies to individual laws, policies, companies, government agencies, etc.
The complex inter-relationship is much like the old game of pickup sticks, the nodes of power are interlinked in complex ways. Individual pickup sticks (power nodes) can be removed without disturbing the overall pile — up to a point.
The model suggests a system that is biased toward maintaining the current hierarchy. That is true within limits. But the hierarchy is under constant threat both from within and from without. Internal rivalries threaten the hierarchy, and the state of the outer world likewise threatens the balance.
As deficient as the above model may be, it is better in many ways than the view of the world that most school children learn. It helps a person to cultivate doubt in the good intentions of powerful groups and individuals toward any person or group lower in the hierarchy. That is certainly something that most children should learn — although they should not let that get in their way of setting rational goals and working toward them.
What other things do you see that are left out of the model? What other alternative models would you put forward?