Questions from Francis Zhou
—“Curt Doolittle, thank you for explaining the way of the world in such simplicity and clarity. As a young man, I was enamored with the power game, and shaped myself to climb the corporate ladder.” —
Hugs. I find it cathartic to think I can add value to others. 😉
—“However once I achieve some success in the game, I realized how trite and boring it all appeared to me. At every re-org, the people “in power” strive to hold onto what little power they have by appeasing to those at higher positions. I detested such game and decided to quit playing this power game and focus on my own game instead (to become best at what I do), which probably explains my relatively low position on the corporate ladder. …. And here within lies my confusion: was I wrong to pursue what I thought of as the “righteous path”, and should have continued to play the power game instead? Since even though I detest that game, it does conform to natural law, and thus exist for a good reason. And being in a position of power will allow me to make positive changes, instead of the current state where I am powerless to make those changes?”—
Wrong? Wrong is the wrong word. 😉 There is nothing wrong with the game once you figure out running a biz is always a team sport. You were unwilling to pay the cost of submission (loyalty, fealty etc) necessary to ladder climb in the team sport – AND – i’m guessing you weren’t able to add sufficient value in your career or position for others to cater to you (my strategy btw). So we all get what we purchase, and you purchased what you did. I don’t see a problem here other than all men should be educated when young so that they make the choice they prefer. So it’s not that you were wrong so much as you didn’t know that used to be traditional knowledge and was not taught you.
—“I have another question wrt what you said at the end. If I understood you correctly, by “scale is bad” and “reducing power distance restores meaning and eliminates the opportunity for evil,” you meant by “flatten the organization”, therefore making every individual accountable for their contributions, we eliminate the parasitic elite/middle man whose only incentive is to maintain the power economy and extract rent from the system.”—
Business vs government. I didn’t mean maximize flattening the organization – although that’s always what I do. The point is that as in any other system, to prevent the development of a bureaucracy (middle management) that seeks steady state and efficiency under the presumption of low rates of adaptation, rather than a project business with a general staff (military organization), under the presumption of continuous change. Similar to my recent complaints about education, cdc, who, and government – if an organization isn’t designed to produce projects, and to conduct war games – even such groups as accounting – and if you don’t have a general staff planning war games (scenarios) then you are running your organization whether business, industry, or government incorrectly – under the presumption of regularity and stasis, which does nothing except create opportunity for rent seeking, corruption, and filling all available time with nonsense OTHER than how to adapt to crises. We discovered this in software and manufacturing but it is still taking time working up through through the large industries, the financial sector, and government – which is what we’d expect really.
So power distance requires an equilibrium state, as do markets and the law, between too little power distance so that there are no efficiencies of scale, and to much power distance so that rents seeking arises. in government, too small goernment is petty and too large government is corrupt. It’s been common sense for over two thousand years that small governments – probably on the scale of 5 million-10m are about optimum. I mean, Tokyo is a state in and of itself. So is NYC. So we should treat them as such.
—“Yet as I understood it, humans invented bureaucracy (hence the power economy) as a necessary tool to organize society beyond Dunbar’s number. How will a society filled with millions of short power distance, flat organizations effectively compete with empires organized around huge bureaucracies marshalling overbearing resources within its borders? E.g., collection of states post Blue/Red separation vs single nation state like China; collection of smaller companies with flat org tree vs goliath like Microsoft and Amazon, etc. I have not found the answer after reading all the resources I came into contact with in the Propertarian community. If I missed anything, please point out the gaps.”—
first, as I said low power distance is not no power distance, and high power distance creates corruption and rent seeking and fragility. So competing is – as in all things – choosing the optimum point of equilibrium between the two extremes of failure.