Distribution Of Power In Modern States

Read Complete Research Material


Distribution Of Power In Modern States

Distribution Of Power In Modern States


One of the main characteristics of the modern world is that our reactions of the changing world are not fast and efficient enough. It is obvious that when the complexity of the problems grows, the process of finding solutions for these problems needs more time. At the same time, the number of possible good decisions decreases, because many of our solutions will have a connection to the problems which have lost their actuality. This paper compares and contrasts Hobbes' Leviathan's theory of power distribution in modern state with Hegels' ideology.

Hobbes' Theory

Hobbes defines man as a being capable of means. The means at man's disposal shows the measure of his power. “The Power of a Man is his present means, to obtain some future apparent Good” (Hobbes, 1968, VIII, p. 35). Thus “every man must always seek to have some power”. But the means are not assured except by even more means; the inclination to possess ever greater means ends with death: “he cannot assure the power and means to live well without the acquisition of more” (Hobbes, 1968, VIII, p. 35). This is because the passions are a “restless desire of power”. Means are related necessarily to other means, in an apparently endless chain. In fact, there are no aims in this way of understanding human conduct.

He distinguishes between “natural” (faculties, virtues) and “external” power (external means and tools to “acquire more”). These latter means are of greater interest from the viewpoint of Economics. Power is “eminence” over others, “the excess of the power of one above that of another” (Hobbes, 1968, VIII, p. 26). The reason is simple: only by having power can I prevent others from making me their vassal by means of their power. This is a rule, formed by observation. Its corollary is “all acquired power consists in command over some of the powers of other men”.

Power is the difference of means, the “excess”. Relationship with others is established in terms of difference in power, of competition, and of exchange of means. This scheme is repeated in capitalist “competitive markets”, where it is understood that all others in the market are potential competitors. Little room for cooperation is left. “The competition for any power whatsoever inclines to struggle, the way for each competitor to obtain his desire is to kill, to subdue, to supplant or to repel the other” (Hobbes, 1968, XI, p. 200). In competition, as in the market, the only limits upon the individual are those imposed by the other contestants.

The English philosopher takes many elements from mechanics. He is attempting to arrive at order but in its stead appears war. Left to its own natural laws, the system, rather than establishing stability, degenerates into chaos - because each contestant pursues his own ends. One realizes that this, like all utilitarian systems, on its own produces chaos, not order. Specialist literature on Hobbes has often discussed his relation to later ...
Related Ads