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13. The Anatomy of Hierarchy, from Alternative Economics 101 - TAX Your Imagination!

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Groups inevitably form a narrow definition where survival is more important than purpose. Mergers often result when a crisis threatens survival. A bankrupt or struggling business will either merge with a competitor or expand through acquisition. Political coalitions similarly form after a mutual defeat. The enemy of my enemy can be my friend.

A group needs a group to serve, and too often, a group to oppose to form its self-definition. Groups separate themselves by generating propaganda to establish its identity. There is, of course, nothing wrong with having an identity. We are all individuals. The first thing we are given is a name, and our name is the only thing that we can take from this world. Our name is our only true possession.

Every organization has a name and a purpose. They use similar techniques to define and promote their group. Each one has a religious belief, a political culture, and a business-like practicality. The handling of money is just one of many common behaviors. Calling something by a different name does not make it different. The Big History model permeates all perspectives into an inner and outer group prejudice.

Language of Organization-History by Steve Consilvio

People project their accepted virtues onto others that they like, and against those they dislike. For example, when a politician runs for office, he is trusted or feared because of his religious or business affiliations. Is he a common man or an elitist? The common man wants to be represented by the common man, and the elitist wants to be represented by an elitist. 

We are all part of the three groupings of religion, politics and economics. Like the riddle of the Sphinx, we can start our day with a prayer, salute at mid-day, and shake hands in a business deal at night. We move from activity to activity easily. Compartmentalism and the division of labor plays a significant part in modern life. We experience a high level of confusing multi-dimensionalism. 

Communication, industrialism and mobility have each created many possible affiliations. The caste system was destroyed by the productive capacity of tools. Only a few hundred years ago, Native Americans were amazed by steel kettles, horses and muskets. Today, we have cooking stores with thousands of gadgets, modes of transportation that reach deep into the universe, and terrifying new ways of violence. Was the change primarily due to paper money or technology? It makes no difference. The modern world has collided with the old problem of inflation and debt. The only thing that can save any generation from themselves is themselves. We need to get control of the money, the organizations and the machines that we build. Tradition cannot be our guide when it is also our problem.

The problems in society are old. In our wise tolerance, we have allowed organizations that are fundamentally at opposition to one another to exist, but they cannot coexist as separate but equal. As they grow, solutions stagnate. We have had generations of split elections, income disparity, and institutionalized prejudices. The previous charts show how easy it is to make a virtue out of anything. Organizations, like people, need clear and consistent virtues.

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Build or destroy?

The Primary Dissonance has to do with killing. Ending life is the most extreme betrayal of the one over the many, and the many against the one. Tradition buttresses the revenge cycle. Killing results from ideas against ideas, and groups against groups. Killing should be wrong regardless if the target is an individual, a group or a government. We should be trying to grow together, but organizations are slow at admitting their sins. They are proud of what they should find shameful.

The Primary Dissonance - Killing by Steve Consilvio

Virtues and prejudices combine to attract like-minded believers to serve an organization. For all of them, money is the means to the ends and underlies the conflict. Violence elevates trade to a life or death situation. One lives or dies. Therefore, no agreeable trade is possible. A wall of false differentiation exists. Dissonance meets dissonance. The trade of money and goods is the same as the trade of emotions and ideas. Who lives and who dies? Who gains and who loses? Trade should be equally good for both parties, and all secondary parties. Every transaction needs to balance.

Balance is achieved when both the means and ends match. Individual actions should benefit the group and group actions should benefit the individual, both inside and outside of the organization. We need more virtue. Dissonance battling dissonance is the tragedy of mankind.

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Balance was the driving force behind the Bill of Rights, but all rights also require responsibilities. Freedom is a diligent process that requires reason, humility and compassion. Just as roads are a public resource that are used by private citizens, we are all building roads for others with words and deeds. When virtue, cooperation and clever thinking combine, great things can be accomplished. Commonwealth is peace and prosperity for all.

In the modern world, it is easy for a man to produce far more than he can consume. There is no need for there to be a shortage of anything, but there are many difficulties because of a lack of virtue in our organizations. Commonwealth is a system that can endure for centuries once it is correctly designed and understood. Our religious, political and economic virtues must match, just as 2+2=4 must always be true. We must question authority to improve it, but not destroy it. Substance must take precedence over process, and we need to stop indoctrinating delusions of pride.

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Steve grew up in a family business, was a history major in college, and has owned a small business for 25 years. Practical experience (mistakes) have led him to recognize that political rhetoric and educated analysis often falls short of reality. (more...)

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