Structure and Hierarchy

While reading the book Sapiens the author mentions that the rise of agriculture coincided with the rise of rulers and elites classes of people. As land now needed protecting, politics became a stronger need in the world. Negotiating and fighting against those who would come in and steal all the work put into the land.

This didn’t exist to the same extent for hunter-gatherers who would just move on to new lands since they hadn’t “invested” in the land.

This leads to the question, “When we build structure, we inevitably are giving power and potential to the system being “hacked”. Is it possible to have structure without having unequal power?”

To me a ruler is someone who has essentially hacked the system in someway, so that the rules of the system don’t apply to them. This is our political class where things that get a normal person arrested are just frowned on. The “hacks” they use are deriving power from mass popularity, extortion, bribery, manipulation through media. On the surface it seems to me everything negative behavior we associate with power is essentially that, a “hack of the system.”

If we seek to build structure, we have to assume that is going to be exploited in some way. This is the middle manager who takes credit from the great work of his subordinates while not pulling his own weight. Without getting credit for that work, and associated rewards, that middle manager will drive out the most productive members of the company. The whole system then suffers.

Obviously, structure like the assembly line is built to make things more efficient. However, it’s always good to make sure the structure doesn’t lead to exploitation that weakens it or has the potential to. Which means, don’t put in structure for it’s own sake. Put it in only when absolutely necessary.