I've used this model before, the point being to bring out the machine-like nature of societies with our clans and hierarchies. Why for example, do political elites conspire against our interests? It’s because they respond to pressures from vested interests which for them are stronger than counter-pressures available to ordinary citizens. That's all it is - strong v weak. Vested-interests with deep pockets exert pressure on key people and sustain it whoever they may be and whatever their previous background.
Those pressures arise from the logic of the model, from people pursuing their own interests and the interests of their clan, a clan being anything from an environmental charity to a group of bankers. In other words, a clan is a vested-interest with resources. It is a mistake to expect political elites to have the moral fibre to resist such pressures which are frequently personal, social and cultural.
But we are not their friends.
The model shows why our elites cannot resist well-funded pressure except via exposure to a sufficiently powerful counter-pressure. This is what democracy is supposed to supply via the voting system but doesn’t. In the absence of a written constitution and with only a weakly democratic society, our political elites quite naturally and frequently do two things.
- They conspire against our interests.
- They act in a stupid, but understandable manner.
All societies, particularly complex societies like ours, have at their core, this powerful, machine-like stimulus/response logic of human behaviour. The only defence we have against the machine is our highly-evolved ability to do “what if” analysis. Vested interests do the same kind of analysis, but only with regard to themselves, to their perspective of “us”.
What’s the answer? There isn’t one.
Almost everyone who aims to improve things by joining the elite will simply succumb to elite pressures, leaving behind those idealistic pressures which caused them to join in the first place. Idealistic pressures relax, other pressures, stronger and more direct, come into play. What one can say, at least for the UK, is that voting for one of the three main parties is foolish because the pressures on them are too strong and far too well-established.
Our failure to understand the machine has consequences.