emerges spontaneously in communities, because of the competition for social goods.
A few groups find themselves the natural possessors of much of their society's intrinsic «social goods»: power, status and wealth. These are the privileged elites—and they like the arrangement. Political institutions are therefore initially built around whatever powerful groups form the elite.
In large traditional societies, Stage-1 government is under the control of: ●royalty; ●aristocracy; ●priesthood; ●military; & ●officialdom.
In modern Stage-1 societies, active royals and aristocrats are rare, but there are always elite groups: ●the military; ●officialdom; and usually: ●one or more political parties; ●police &/or secret police; and ●a mega-wealth group, via business or land-ownership.
Each group has its own internal power struggles; and the various elite groups jockey for power. Leaders of each group struggle diplomatically or brutally (or both) to grab and hold fast to the controls over the society—in part by ensuring all the elite classes get a share of the pie.
That usually leaves rather little for most of the population.
This focus on elite groups locates the in the ellipse of the pragmatist-pluralist approach. We place this initial at the upper left end, because… there are only a few elite groups and most groups in society are outside the inner circle of power.
Sostarts from a natural beginning in —the quintessential .
ethical choice approach, depending on the number and types of groups of interest to the chooser. So, in describing the political modes, we must identify the general features of and then determine how these general features manifest specifically in this earliest stage of , which we will name . (Syn: , ).
The source of power within the elite groups described above is found in tradition or culture. That is why outsiders may find it difficult to understand why the power-structure is tolerated.
In, there are historically-developed traditional ideals. These alone have the power to unite the populace and to morally legitimate governance by the privileged elite classes. In a one-party state, the party or its leader draws heavily on tradition while organizing its own idealization and inserting itself into every aspect of daily life.
The unending struggle amongst groups is the founding essence of politics. In, these groups are elite classes, often traditional e.g. royalty, but not necessarily. They may be determined by brute power e.g. the military or priesthood. In any case, these elite groups are sustained by cultural traditions. Often elite structures stay the same, while the outward show—the regime or ideology—is transformed.
Without an image of a person wielding power for the benefit of all,would not exist. In , this image is restricted to members of the privileged elite, whether traditional or modern. Not all those within these classes seek political leadership but, since many do and all are affected in their access to social goods, there are cabals and factions, with in-fighting and intrigues.
Access to goods is the result of membership of a group. In, elites are themselves minimally productive and so goods are controlled and obtained exploitatively. In regard to tangible wealth, the privileged elites take the lion's share and divide it up amongst themselves. Elites claim to provide all with abstract social goods like unity, order and stability.
In traditional societies, kinship is the major force determining status. In a modern context, however, an ambitious person seeking self-advancement and benefits has the choice of entering an elite group, like the secret police or priesthood.
In, order is a preoccupation and social stability needs attention. Authoritarian control is regarded as natural, and justice is secondary or irrelevant. Order commonly depends upon culture-based submissive tendencies and prohibitions against complaint. However, firmer authoritarian control, often punitive and heavy-handed, is always in the background. Punishment, repression or oppression are applied impulsively or as seems needed.
Provision of Knowledge:
In, political issues are actively monitored to ensure desired information is provided and undesirable information is blocked. Truth exists to be manipulated, so is used to shape social responses to events and maintain stability. History may be re-written, more than once, to meet political objectives and justify actions of the elites. To counter opposing views and dissent, is applied via ownership of media and restraints on press freedom. Regimes seek control of all communication technologies, although this is more difficult in the age of the Internet.
The family-household, often extended, is crucial for individuals in agrarian societies because, in pre-industrial times, the family or clan was the only trusted source of security. In modern times, nepotism. While also develops as a protector, leading to cronyism. It prevents isolation or weakness, and ensures recognition, promotion and fair shares of whatever goods are available..commonly remains relevant, and leads to
In acting, every person must be vigilant, sober and cautious, recognizing that their strength and influence may fluctuate with events. Above all,dictates that a person must be pragmatic at all times. Any attempt to challenge political institutions must recognize that everyone, including the mass of people, works the existing system in their own way.
These undeveloped societies can be dangerous, because the predominant mode of social interaction is power-centred. There is no dependable accountability of political elites to anyone or anything outside their own whims, interests and rivalries.
For political elites, enemies are everywhere. Assassination is a normal tool. Amongst the masses, harm can come from elites, based on a whim or from a false denunciation. Human trafficking is common. Criminal gangs are tolerated and used by the ruling classes.
Everyone must judge carefully who is to be trusted and what may be said or done at all times:and are the rule.
Originally posted: July 2009; Last updated: 27 Mar 2014