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
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.
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
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
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
(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
(9) The needs that are supplied, the goods that are
(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
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.
"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.
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
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.
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.
[Credit: hotcheeto89] [Copyright]
• The basic
disciplines of clear thinking.
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
• 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.
Forcing people to do your will.
Counterproductive effects of using
force. Strategy and tactics: tricks of the trade.
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
Writers in the field have distinguished between the
approach of Sun Wu recorded in
Master Sun's Art of War and the
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
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
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
[Credits and Copyright]
How to react when
your political activity makes you
the likely target of assault.
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
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
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
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.*
individuals immediately act to defend themselves like sparks struck
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.
[Credit: Kevin Dooley] [Copyright]
For the present,
individuals who seek this kind of
training must evaluate the locally available resources and gradually
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.
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
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
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
self-censoring everything they say and do.