[extropy-chat] A view of what politics is.

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Tue Oct 11 21:01:52 UTC 2005

Why should politics be limited to issues of scarcity?

Of course, all actions are considered and taken within a context of
constraints such as time, energy, materials, knowledge, but I don't think
you meant such constraints when you specified scarcity.

Isn't it appropriately called political action when working together to
promote development toward increasing abundance...even after basic needs
have been met within a given context? [please, no red-herrings about how
much of the world is lacking in the basics. True, but a different argument.]

I understand the 20th century perception of politics typically having to do
with power, authority, government, and sure, competition for scarce
resources--all zero-sum views--but can't we see beyond to a more general
concept encompassing the current popular understanding but accomodating--or
rather, encouraging--positive-sum growth?

I suspect that the seeds of an effective politics for the 21st century
involves implementing principles of effective interaction to achieve growth
(of what works over increasing scope, relative to human goals of increasing
scope) given any baseline of relative scarcity or abundance.

Yesterday I suggest a definition of politics as social decision-making
applied to groups, expecially with respect to methods of influence within
those processes.


- Jef

On 10/11/05, Brett Paatsch <bpaatsch at bigpond.net.au> wrote:
> A couple of people posted me off list asking what I thought politics was.
> I wrote.
>  ------
>  I think politics is behaviour that arises when there is a recognition
> that some mutually desired resource is scarce.
> Its fundamental. Only social creatures that recognize other social
> creatures are potentially aspiring for the same scarce resource
> will practice politics.
> Fundamentally, to understand human politics we have to understand
> that humans are social creatures that perceive a shortage of resources.
> The recognition of resource scarcity results in competitive behaviour
> that can include cooperating with some others to better compete for
> scarce resources.
> There's more, but I think that is it in a nut shell.
> -----
>  This is no great working definition, its just my seat of the pants sense.
>   Brett Paatsch
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