Journal File. AAS 14 Sept. 92
POWER as seen by Boulding
Kenneth Boulding, Three Face's of Power, Newbury Park: Sage, 1989
Boulding's definitions of power:
Boulding sees three types of power: Threat, economic and integrative.
From the view of consequences: destructive, productive and integrative.
Major thesis: Integrative power is the most dominant and significant form of power. Neither threat nor economic power can achieve much in the absence of legitimacy.
Learning is central to power. To understand power seeking and avoiding, need the psychological concept of approachers and avoiders. Sour grapes principle and addiction principle. Uses Gazaniga idea of a diversity of personalities rather than a single brain.
Way in which people evaluate the power and well-being of others: malevolence-benevolence.
Responses to threat: submission, defiance, counter threat, flight, disarming behavior.
Power of love (respect). Role of pride and shame and guilt.
Social power: loyalty. Identify with others or organizations. Integrative, legitimation.
Organization = structure of roles held together by lines of communication.
Hierarchical power cannot be sustained unless it can be legitimated.
Difficulty of prediction because of "watershed principle" - non-linear system. Conversion and change of identity is possible. Preferences change.
Property as power structure: we can only exchange what we own.p. 48
He does not know whether revaluations of capital are more or less important in the process of getting rich than is the process of saving.
"Each believer sees the non-believer as a threat to the validity of the believer's own beliefs. If somebody does not agree with me, then either I must be wrong or they must be wrong, and as change in beliefs is a rather painful and rare event, it is not surprising that the consciousness of the existence of unbelievers reinforces the believers in their own belief, on both sides." Question: who is crazy (wrong)? The possibility that both are wrong is a threat to the existing integrative structures and thus usually rejected. 177
Boulding finds Galbraith's idea of countervailing power useful. 190
Institutional economists look at evolution and he has a chapter entitled, "Power in Physical and Biological Evolution." "In societal evolution, information is the overriding element. Information, however, by its very nature, has to be surprising. It introduces into systems an element of ineradicable unpredictability. This might be called the "Law of Necessary Surprise." 203
"The concept of victory must be abandoned." 242
"As we look at the future of the world, the question of how the people of the world can develop institutions that exercise power over the world as a total system becomes of increasing importance." 244 He looks at international trade, world religions, international NGO's, superculture, scientific community.
"The stick, the carrot, and the hug may all be necessary but the greatest of these is the hug." 250.