2. Politics

Buxom Lass
The functioning of governments responsive to their citizens.
    This section discusses ways that individuals or groups of individuals mobilize interest groups and recruit them to their service.  Politics concerns the power of groups such as political parties in democracies, factions in one-party systems, lords in monarchical systems, groups bound together by membership in a common religious organization, etc., how this power is mobilized, how conflicts among parties (however conceived) are resolved, how these resolutions of power are further expressed in policies that get put into practice, etc. As the above illustration suggests, people with political ambitions often use irrational appeals that include not only (or even primarily) sex but also communal bonding with the "hometown kid" and communal antipathy for "the others." 

    This section provides academic sources and contrastive studies that show, in outline, how power is employed in monarchies, in one-party systems, in democracies, etc. Students will need to understand something about typical mechanisms or political structures and also something about how parties try to influence opinions of various interest groups, how they compel citizens to conform to the laws that they make, etc. Politics is often an amoral enterprise at best because it attracts individuals who excel at bending other people to their will, often without due condsideration for what is really good for their followers or those they direct their followers to work against.

3. Economics

input output and share produce
    Energy that is harvested from the sun and other natural resources is used directly for derivitive productive activities. With the division of labor, relationships evolve among employers and workers that range from being symbiotic to being parasitic. Distortion of basic relationships can occur when foreign trade inputs (e.g., cheap goods) are present in the market. Keeping people fed in a fair system is a major focus of interest.

A pathfinder, a beneficent leader of his or her country, needs to look at expenditures made by the nation as investments in the people of the country and their group success. Two considerations need to be observed, but they may seem paradoxical. One is that there is only so much to be invested at any one time, which means that if you invest in one feature of the national economy you may not be able to invest in some other feature because the money has already been spent. The other is that the supply of money available for investment can be grown from year to year. Perhaps the only valid reason for borrowing is to be able to invest in some project that will allow the nation to repay the debt and also add value to the country. For instance, a country might have great resources for growing coconuts, and adequate infrastructure to bring the largest crops to the coast, but no harbor that would permit ocean shipping ot occur. A country might go on for a century being stuck in this mode because none of the coconut produces could afford to invest in a harbor and some good piers, neither could the local shipping industry do so. The initial capital expense would be so high that no individual business and no industry complex would take it on. However, the government might sell bonds to the same people who, as individuals, could not invest in a port, also to people from other backgrounds in the country that would like to make money on some of their capital that they had no better way to invest, and perhaps even foreign coconut buyers might see no reason not to make some money on interest and also encourage a new coconut soiurce to emerge into the world market. So rather suddenly there would be a port, an increase in the wholesale price of coconuts, a need to hire more people both to harvest all the coconuts and also to plant new coconut trees for the future, and so forth. They all get jobs, the port gets built, sales from coconuts double or triple, coconut orchardists are happy, their employees are happy, other businesses make sales to now-working coconut orchard workers, the government gets more taxes from which it repays the borrowed money and also has some money left over with which to invest in, perhaps, a canned-pineapply export industry.

The major sources of wealth of a country are its natural resources, its access to routes of trade, it accumulated knowledge and its system of education, and its people. Neglecting of these for short-term benefit greatly increases the probably of a serious defeat.

    This section discusses:
    (1)  How natural resources (soil, sun, water, minerals, etc.) are converted to human use (by hunting, agriculture, manufacturing, etc.), how the surplus fruits of human labor can be accumulated (smoked fish, dried vegetables, grain in secure bins, etc.), how money can be used to accumulate wealth in a much more enduring and portable form, etc.
    (2) How humans can trade or sell not only the products of their efforts (dried beans, yew bows, etc.) but also can trade or sell their labor.
    (3) How unequal power relations are set up when one person becomes the resource owner, e.g., the land owner of a farm, and the other person becomes the submissive member of the dyad, e.g., the tenant farmer, the sharecropper, or even the serf or slave.
    (4) How salaries are negotiated, and how the general employment rate influences the power relationship between employer and employee.
    (5) Capital, capitalism, and their alternatives.
    (6) The flow of money through an economy.
    (7) How time delays in adjusting supply to demand can create cyclic changes in economic wellbeing.
    (8) How governments try to reduce the amplitude of cyclic changes.
    (9) The needs that are supplied, the goods that are provided, etc.
    (10) The ways that wealth can be created out of resources that may have relatively little value under circumstances wherein they are plentiful and easily available. Then benefits of trade are not zero-sum.

    It is difficult to maintain objectivity in these discussions because researchers may identify their own interests with business interests, labor interests, or perhaps even government (revenue) interests. It is essential to demonstrate objectively how wealth is generated and how it is distributed under various social and governmental arrangements.

4. Sociology

3 meercats
                                 "Know what, guys? She's a non-conformist!"
[Photo by Alexander Mikotov] [Copyright]
How different forms of organization influence the behavior of individuals in groups. How to create organizations that handle information and initiative in a eufunctional way.

    For the purposes of young leaders, it may be more important to learn insights into how humans interact in groups than to become entangled with the differences in the way this knowledge is systematized in the various systems of theory employed in the field. Leaders need to be able to deal with the social construction of realities, social constructs such as race, the characteristics of interactions among various ethnicities, religions, etc. Some features of human interactions appear to be universal, to operate regardless of the educational inputs given to individuals by one or another culture. People operating in groups tend to operate in characteristic ways, and to deny the strong probability that, e.g., people who panic will struggle to get through narrow gates and get killed in the process, is to ask for trouble. It is better to understand how people really react in groups and to plan accordingly. Doing so both reaps advantages and avoides ill effects.

5. Anthropology

Peggy Reeves Sanday
[Credit: Peggy Reeves Sanday]  [Copyright] 
The range of forms of social organizations among non-primates, primates, and humans, and the kinds of inherent motivation, exhibited in various ways among diverse organizational forms, that must receive attention in any planning for better ways of human interaction. 

    It may be helpful for future leaders to learn both the motivations and behaviors that humans share with other primates (even though these behaviors among humans are generally modified by culture) and also to learn the cultural inventions of various societies that provide alternative ways of defusing some of the same potential conflicts. Other useful subjects include non-verbal communications, language and its connection to concepts and how we are able to think, etc. One thing that must be kept clear is the difference between the ostensible meaning or significance of some cultural feature and the real function(s) it can play in human interactions.

Leaders need to understand that people make adaptations to their total environment and especially to the risk factors prominent in it. Anthropology can help leaders understand how people perceive threatening environmental circumstances, the conceptualizations that they apply to components of their environment, and the practices by which they seek to manage the threatening events among them. Anthropology tends to deal with long-standing arrangements among people as they all attempt to deal with the same environmental problems and opportunities. Leaders need to understand that, for instance, malign superstitious practices surrounding deep sea fishing expeditions on flimsy boats with inadequate navigational instruments will be better managed by improvements in fishing practices and technologies than by a crusade against superstition among seafarers.


6. Philosophy

Socratic Method
[Credit: hotcheeto89] [Copyright]
    • The basic disciplines of clear thinking. 
    • The inter-human effects of logical inconsistency.
    • Fairness. Objectivity, etc.

This section discusses the ways that humans have developed to eliminate systematic sources of error in their thinking.

• Logical mistakes, i.e., making statements that affirm something and then turn around and deny it, leaving people to guess that you must be interested in the general topic but also leaving people with no way to discover what, if anything, you believe. In effect by saying and unsaying something you end up having articulated nothing.
• Failing to distinguish between statements that are true of some members of a group and statements that are true of all members of a group.
• Mistakes that follow from getting mixed up about how logical connectives work. For instance it may be true that if some animal is a dog then that animal is a mammal, but it is not true that if some animal is a mammal then it must be a dog.
• Mistakes that follow from allowing strong feelings to interfere with judgments about the objective world.

    For this section it would be useful to have books on logic that cover all of the parts of logic and set theory that generally cause problems in typical human situations, books on propaganda analysis, and books on techniques to rid oneself of prejudices, preconceptions, etc.

7. Military science

two tanks

Forcing people to do your will. Counterproductive effects of using force. Strategy and tactics: tricks of the trade.

    This section introduces the accumulated wisdom about fights between large groups that can be expressed in general principles, examples of strategies, and examples of tactics.

    For this section the best resources are books and other forms of knowledge transmission that are especially good at showing people how to think about combat. The technologies applied to combat can change at any time, so the first goal should be to examine how the major thinkers in this field have conceptualized warfare and how they have found principles that can be abstracted in a more general form so that they could be applied to novel situations.

    Writers in the field have distinguished between the approach of Sun Wu recorded in Master Sun's Art of War and the works of Carl von Clausewitz that are generally regarded as forming the core of military theory in the West through the first half of the 20th Century. The contributions of John Boyd need to be brought in because he synthesized the aforesaid two main forms of analysis and derived a movement forward beyond that synthesis.

    A general history of the development of schools of thought about warfare would be helpful. An explication of Master Sun's Art of War that does not simply parrot his main points but explains his thinking from a broader and more modern perspective would be helpful. Something that exhibits the main currents of thought in the works of Von Clausewitz would be especially helpful since there is a very great deal to read and process. Finally, something that synthesizes the various "briefings" of John Boyd and that works around some of his less fortunate ways of explaining things would be helpful, as would works that expand his ideas and apply them to a broader and more recent world context.


8. Self Protection

Night attack
[Credits and Copyright]
    How to react when your political activity makes you the likely target of assault.

    Anybody who intends to do anything that might affect power relations in the world should be prepared to have his or her efforts met with enmity and possibly with a level of aggression that constitutes a physical threat. Anyone who has wealth may expect to become the target of robbers and thieves. There are many other threats to one's physical and mental or spiritual security that need to be guarded against.

    Students need to be aware of the dangers inherent in being dependent on externals. When one's position and wealth makes it affordable, a team of body guards may be appropriate. However, there is no way to guarantee that every person hired for such work will be reliable. Even the average home owner may find it appropriate to install fire alarms and intruder alarms. However, there are many ways in which determined individuals can get around these protections, especially if the homeowner decreases his or her vigilance. An individual may procure weapons of self defense, however one must remain vigilant enough to notice the approach of someone with aggressive intent. Furthermore, dependence on weapons is problematical because at the time of greatest peril the weapon that one has become dependent upon may not be available. Physical training in boxing or other such skills can be extremely valuable in fending off an attacker for long enough to escape. However, many times people are not sufficiently vigilant and fall to a sneak attack.

    Although it may seem paradoxical, mental preparation is even more important than physical preparation. Mentally prepared individuals may identify a combat situation far enough ahead in space and time to avoid a confrontation. One of the most dangerous situations for a soldier clearing a house or a policeman entering a building where a crime is being committed is for an attacker to spring out of concealment. Mentally unprepared servicepeople or law enforcement officers may freeze for a fraction of a second, and that brief delay may well result in their injury or death.* Mentally prepared individuals immediately act to defend themselves like sparks struck from flint by steel.

    For this section it would be useful to have books on self protection that prescribe an integrated way of training that teaches the individual to evaluate and improve his or her defenses from the core competencies outward.

9. Practicum in strategy, tactics, and techniques

Kevin Dooley on flickr (CC) 2.0
[Credit: Kevin Dooley] [Copyright]

    For the present, individuals who seek this kind of training must evaluate the locally available resources and gradually work out the best training modalities for themselves.

    For those who would plan such a practicum, emphasis should be put on the full maturation of students. From a purely practical point of view it is not desirable to train someone in the use of powerful techniques who is going to use what has been learned against the general good. It is, fortunately, very difficult to make progress in an integrated program of mental and physical training without strongly attenuating self centeredness. (If only the physical techniques of boxing, wrestling, MMA, or whatever are taught, then the motivational development of the individual will probably remain stuck on glorifying the self.)

    One avenue of approach to the goal of a fully integrated individual adds to an ordinary self-defense curriculum a simple procedural demand with behavioral tests and the simple provision of opportunities for shaping a better pattern of response: Students should be made aware that they are required to treat all other students as training partners, and that they are not to attempt to best them in physical combat. Students who treat other students at all levels with respect and with the desire to help them to make progress will by so doing merit an equivalent attitude from others. Every student thereby becomes every other student's teacher and friend. Students who are bound and determined to establish adversarial relationships with others probably do not merit teaching in the long run. Training that emphasizes conquering the ego and integrating the individual makes conscious use of the fact that even the most basic of hand-to-hand sparring exercises can have the addional effect of training the mind.

10. Modern History

     To understand the current conflicts in the world, it may be useful to look at recent historical developments. After a period of colonization, the Second Warld War put extreme strains on colonial powers such as Great Britain. As colonial domains withered away, the former territorial domains were left in various degrees of disorder when external sources of governance were no more. One result of their former colonial status and resulting conditions of infrastructure and educational resources has been that they have made unequal progress toward matching the degree of progress of first-world nations. The result has been a considerable disequilibrium among national fortunes that has driven strong feelings of injustice and resentment. People in the first world frequently believe that there is a limited amount of wealth in the world, and that therefore if people in second- and third-world countries get more wealth it must come at the expense of the estates of the wealth first-world people.

11. Building the State

Study of the requirements  to be met in solving the problems of fragile, failing, or failed states can be divided into several components. The first is the provision of good governance. The second is winning the allegiance of the great majority of the people to leaders and to their well-articulated and well-expressed plans for a good country to live in. The third is good leaders who embody the ideals they express, show the people a worthy vision and mission, and thereby earn their allegiance to the movement for good government. Fourth is infrastructure suited to the efficient progress of the nation and wealth for its people; this infrastructure includes a well-educated citizenry so that there are plenty of people capable of working effectively to make the national enterprise successful.

One of the main insights recently gained is that governance requires setting goals that give productive structures to human behavior. The plans need to be created, or at least coordinated, at the highest level of an administrative unit, the goals with provisional instructions and/or directives that can implement these plans are passed down from level to level and those plans may be more fully articulated at each descending level. The essential thing is for the goals that originate at the highest level to be actuallized fully and well. A second part of this process is for accurate accounts of achievements to be passed back up the chain of command, with summary accounts being condensed out of detailed lower-level accounts in such a way that the administrator or administrators at the highest level can clearly understand whether or not their goals have been accomplished  and also understand what kind of results their plans have produced. Such a sophisticated bureaucracy based on merit and performance goals was first created in ancient China. What the ancient Chinese did not achieve was a system that took into full account that in the long term such governance will only work with the acquiescence of the common people. When the results of such a system become intolerable to people, centrifugal forces are generated. When the pressures of dissatisfaction and suffering reach intolerable levels, the result must be an outbreak of violence. When the only way people have to improve the conditions under which they live is by acts of violence, the stage is set for a revolution that will dethrone the ruling king or emperor. China went through around ten changes of dynasty over its long history.  One way to provide an alternative to violent revolt is to make continuance in office depend on a reliable system of democratic voting. In the world of today, the people in many fragile, failing, or failed states have never experienced a well-run system of governance because for decades everything has been done according to the personal whims of the "great leader." Therefore, iin the aftermath of a revolution, when trying to set up a free and democratic government there are not enough capable people available to make it work. Clearly, the sooner a cadre of potential leaders, qualified technicians of governance, is produced through formal education and real-world experience, the better will be the chances of the nation when the old regime breaks down.

It is not enough to have a good plan for managing the nation by means of a well-designed program that includes such things as protection for the rights of minorities, assurrance of the ability of citizens to apply corrective feedback when the operation of government goes wrong, etc. It is also necessary to have a real leader, someone who can show the average citizens a vision of what the new nation can provide to people and who can earn the trust and confidence of the people in this fledgling government. It is pointless to try to run a democratic government if there is not a substantial buy-in from the ordinary citizens of the country. So the leader must be able to put himself/herself in the position of the people in the street who do not have command of a substantial set of relevant academic and abstract ideas, understand what things their backgrounds will not prepare them to understand, and then put their plans into a narrative that does not distort the truth but does communicate clearly why , e.g., something like a nationwide highway system is worthwhile and important to the family with a small farm at the dead end of a dirt road in the country.

Another thing that requires good management is planning for major infrastructure items and for heavy industry. If the country requires steel for its railways, bridges, etc., it can either produce its own (which requires extremely expensive steel mills and availability  of raw materials) or make enough money by selling some other commodity to be able to afford steel at world-market prices. Governments and technocrats can do things that private investment could not manage. For instance, when Taiwan wanted to earn foreign currency the government figured that the island could produce far more pineapples and other fruit that could be transported to foeign markets and sold for first-world prices. However, there were no processing plants to handle fruit in such high volumes. Moreover, farmers were unwilling to produce more fruit than they knew that they could sell locally. The government then invested in the production of privately-owned processing plants, and coordinated that effort with a guarantee to fruit producers that the government would buy any pineapples that they could not sell. The result was that the next thing they had to work on was expanding and improving harbors and docks that could handle the increased traffic of ships with refrigerated storage.

Of all the tasks that pertain to nation building, perhaps it is the treatment of the ordinary citizens of the county as a precious resource that is most important. Under a failing or failed state most people are likely to have had deliberately restricted educations. Besides that, the real strength of a nation lies in its having well-educated citizens who can act correctly and responsibly in business, industry, etc. as well as in the political sphere. It is a mistake to try to segregate education somehow so that people only learn business- and industry-related things and are kept in the dark about political things. People who live in a police state have to spend so much time, energy, and attention on avoiding anything that would put them in bad with the internal spies that they can't be very productive and they will certainly find it difficult to be creative while simultaneously self-censoring everything they say and do.


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