Social Reality: Violence, Power, and Change
The Effects of Power - Part 4 - Corruption
"Power is an Addiction" - charlie777pt
The more Power you have, the more you want it.
"Power corrupts; absolute Power corrupts absolutely" - Lord Acton (1887)
Power has consequences in the ones that exercize it because people can get "possessed" and adicted to an insaciable need to control and the pursuit of fame, status and wealth(an exterior symbol of Power).
Closed strong Power in the hands of one person leads to excessive use, manipulation and dehumanization of the subjugated as well on the other side there is a constant fight to maintain it.
We have already talked about the interrupted of the famous study of Zimbardo, Haney and Banks in 1977 where they tried to understand the Effects of Power in an experiment where a group of students was divided into two roles in a prison, the guards, and the prisoners.
What happened was that the group of guards had illimited power to use coercion , and they started on the first day using aggressive speech and behaviors towards the prisoners in an increasing way, until they got tyrannical and dehumanized to the incarcerated.
For those interested, there is the movie The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015), which shows how a situation can deteriorate rapidly when people are invested with unlimited power.
When exposed to situations of total control of Power, people tend to use it by removing the Human dimension of the submitted turning them into objects they can manipulate and subjugate without limits.
The ruling of power in the last decades have brought recession, terrorisms, wars, mass shootings, bank failures covered by state and central banks, political scandals and corruption, end of privacy and mass surveillance, economic crimes, environmental collapse and toxicity, sexual and psychological abuse, with the total immunity to Justice of the powerful.
Besides all increasing scientific discoveries, technology development, profits in giant businesses of the actual society, we see a decreasing concern on the side of human rights and values, and the solidarity with the powerless and "poor-less", crushed by the wheels of industry.
"Power does not corrupt people, people corrupt power" - William GaddisOne of the main Consequences of Power is corruption, the main destructive factor in the social inequality of our times, which reveals to be incompatible with a better Humanity.
1- Coercion and control in the escalation of power
Kipnis in 1972 studied the relation Boss/Employee in two different situations:
- one group with with coercive power to fire, reward and punish, transfer or substitute people in the working group;
- another group with a boss that only had his own persuasion and statute to make people perform.
The results showed that in the first group with strong powers, the Boss focused on the control of subordinates, established no friendly relations with the members and had more tendency to evaluate them negatively, and saw results as a personal achievement capacities and self-motivation
In the second group the bosses didn't focus in controlling the members, established closer relationships with them and evaluated people more positively and he saw the results originated on their control of the others.
In the end they synthesized the five principles in the escalate of Power use.
a) - Power access can proportionally influence its use and the mode of control and punishment.
b) - The more Power you have the more you believe you can control the others, and the more you consider that people work for money and less with motivation.
c) - The more Power you use the less you see others positively contributing, reducing the others to an object that can be used with coercion to generate docility and subservience.
d) - The progressive depreciation of the others augments the social distance of the ones using the Power, and lead to avoid social contacts with the members.
e) - Access and use of power lead to positive self-image and esteem in the bosses, by seeing the means and symbols of power as signs of their own evaluation.
"Politics: the art of using euphemisms, lies, emotionalism and fear-mongering to dupe average people into accepting--or even demanding--their own enslavement." ― Larken Rose
2 - The Hubris Syndrome of Power holders.
I'm finishing this post with the strange study of Lord David Owen that found that people in "high power" develop several psycho-pathological traits of deceases of what he calls “Hubris syndrome".
Dictators are exposed to Hubris Syndrome because they have almost no constraints on their behaviour.
In Greece the Hubris, is about the Power of the hero that wins glory, acclaim and success.
Hubris it's a ruler personality disorder, resulting from the possession and exercise of power, specially in cases of big success, with symptoms like despise for other people, disconnection from reality, impulsive and risky actions, and incompetence.
David Owen, with a lot of congruent data, presents in his book "The Hubris Syndrome: Bush, Blair and the Intoxication of Power", suggesting that George Bush and Tony Blair developed the Hubristic Syndrome that affected their personalities, manifested in irrational processes of decision making.
Let's read Owen in his own words about the consequences on Power-holders
"A narcissistic propensity to see their world primarily as an arena in which to exercise power and glory".
"Excessive confidence in the individual’s own judgment and contempt for the advice or criticism. "
"Restlessness, recklessness and impulsiveness. "- Lord David Owen
Further readingHubris syndrome: An acquired personality disorder? A study of US Presidents and UK Prime Ministers over the last 100 years
Stanford Prison Experiment - Edited for the Classroom
Last posts in this series on Social Reality: Violence, Power and ChangeSocial Reality: Violence, Power and Change
A - Violence:An Introduction to Violence
The Concepts of Violence, Aggression, and Aggressiveness
The Theories on Violence
The influencers of Violence -Part One - Culture and Social Context
The influencers of Violence -Part Two - Social , Cognitive and Environmental Factors
The ascend of Today's Violence
B -Power:What is Power? - Introduction
The Nature of Power
- Part 1 - The Legitimacy of Authority
- Part 2 - The Models of Leadership
- Part 3 - Characteristics of Leadership
- Part 4 - The Relation in Leadership
- Part 5 - Decision-making and Leadership
- Part 1- Philosophical Rally on the Matrix of Power
- Part 2 - Deprivation
- Part 3- Submission
- Part 4- Corruption - this post
Articles from the next series of posts about Social Reality, Violence, Power and Change:
- Part 5 - Resistance
- Part 6 - Conclusions and Power in Cyberspace
C - Change:Change and Culture
The Theories and conceptualization of Change
Factors determining Change
The ways of Change