Aug 10, 2014

Power, empathy and when to squeeze your politicians

"Studies have repeatedly shown that participants who are in high positions of power (or who are temporarily induced to feel powerful) are less able to adopt the visual, cognitive or emotional perspective of other people, compared to participants who are powerless (or are made to feel so)." (From Powerful and Coldhearted, NYT)
This offers deep insights on why revolutions fail again and again. When a revolution begins, the leaders have empathy for the people because they are weak. When a revolution succeeds, the leaders have lost empathy with the people because they are powerful.

Followers of any revolution must learn this. Squeeze your leaders before the revolution succeeds. It is rare to find an individual who can have empathy when he or she is powerful. For example, it is really rare, once in many millenniums, when a governor decided to give citizen dividends to everyone, and even made that an independent system under the constitution, outside his control. That happened in Alaska. There is no precedent.

People who want a citizen dividend or a universal basic income must squeeze their politicians to commit before they succeed. Once the politicians succeed, it is too late.

Scotland may be another example. The "YES" group of politicians have not committed to a universal basic income. They have suggested that the idea can be considered in the future (Re-thinking Welfare: Fair, Personal and Simple). By then, it will be too late. According to the psychological studies, the politicians' empathy is now, and it won't last long.

No comments:

Post a Comment