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The Levers of Power

The course of human existence is marked by a continual struggle toward a more perfect distribution of power.

In our current system, money is the representation of power. Not only does it represent buying power, but the distribution of it determines who holds power.

The value of money is determined by the efficiency of productivity, which is the amount that’s produced for each unit of time. Supply and demand. As productivity goes up demand for that person’s time rises to match (you get more per unit of time, therefore it's worth more).

Having money gives you power over another person’s time (through buying power). The more money you have the more of other people’s time you can buy. The problem with this is an individual has a finite amount of time, but can amass an infinite amount of money (power over other people’s time).

The role of government should be to protect those without money from those who have money. Government is an organization of collective bargaining power of the individual. Corporations are the same thing—they’re just organizing for a different purpose—to make more money. They are both groups of people, which invariably have more power than the individual.

In society there are 3 levers of power: The Worker, The Employer, and The Government.

In order to have a fair and functional society all three levers of power must be in balance.

There is a lever between the worker and the employer. There is a lever between the employer and the government. There is a lever between the government and the people.

For most of human history the function of government has been to control the worker (or the people, by means of keeping those people in line) in service to those with power. This is because labor is necessary for production. Workers have rights. The government’s role should be to protect those rights from those who seek to exploit and harm. We know that money is the physical representation of power, so we can limit the power money has through regulation, ensuring individuals (the workers) are owners of their time. We can empower people to organize. We can combine individual power through collectivism to increase the influence of the individual because money has no value if it can’t buy people’s time.

Power will always be concentrated at the top with the employer (the wealthy, the corporations—those who have the wealth to buy the worker’s time). The bargaining power of the individual needs to be equalized. It’s too low because of the power the employer has over the worker. They have control of your healthcare, your wellbeing. They have control of your wages, your present. They have control of your retirement, your future.

The worker has needs, and in this system the employer provides those needs. You can’t walk away, because if you walk away, you die. The employer can afford to walk away because there’s always someone else willing to work. So it’s not an equal negotiation and never will be.

You can’t regulate that away.

So it becomes the role of government to provide basic needs to give the individual bargaining power. To give them the ability to walk away from the negotiation table. To give them power over their time. But if the government’s influence is being bought by those who control jobs, then they’re protecting those with power and not those without.

Universal basic income (UBI), state-sponsored 401k, and national healthcare can lay a foundation for shifting power away from the employer.

The function of UBI is to provide enough income to lift every American above the poverty line so that they are not dependent on their employer to do so. This takes power away from the employer and hands it to the employee. The same is true for national health care and state sponsored 401(k). If someone isn’t worried about their basic needs being covered by their employer, then they have more bargaining power for fair compensation and working conditions.

But if the government provides ALL of these, then the government has too much power over the individual’s time. The problem with communism is it eliminates the employer and shifts that power completely to the Government, which doesn’t help the individual because they no longer have any bargaining power with the government. A complete power shift to the individual would be anarchy, and the problem with that is the individual wouldn’t be protected from other individuals which is the entire reason government exists.

A division of power must exist between the worker, the employer, and the government.

Our current system is becoming dominated by the employer (the corporation). They are being given more power and rights than the individual, eroding democracy into an oligarchy. The U.S. government has been set up to protect the people from the government because the government has historically been the seat of wealth throughout most of history. Today, much of that wealth lies with the employer.

Wealth should not rule the world.

But it isn’t the ability to accumulate capital that is the problem, it's the ability to prevent others from accumulating capital or to exploit others by paying them less than they are worth for goods and services due to gaming the system.

Regulated capitalism is important for a healthy democracy, and a healthy democracy is important to healthy capitalism. All markets are regulated. It’s just a matter of who is doing the regulating and how it's being regulated. The issue now is that the wealthy (the employer, the corporations) are in control of the government, and there need to be limits put on the power of wealth in government.

Those who control the system should not be conducting business. I dream of a world in which needs are met not solely by the concentration of wealth (the employer), allowing the individual to maintain power over their time.

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