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Invisiblesilversoul7
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How power is gained
    #2411229 - 03/09/04 03:15 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

I'm not sure if this belongs here or in S&P, but since I'm mainly talking about political power, I'll post it here. Many people here like to quote Mao Tse Tung for his saying that power comes from the barrel of the gun, and they are partially correct. That is ONE way in which power is gained. Another way, and probably the first way in which it was achieved, is by creating debt. In order for there to be debt, you have to have a concept of private property, which did not exist in hunter-gatherer society, as it would have harmed the society greatly. So social stratification came about in agricultural society. If one person worked their field more than another and produced more crops, then the person who didn't produce as many crops was not harmed by it, and therefore the social constraints of hunter-gatherer society which forced egalitarianism on the people were lifted.

Now, the person who produced more crops usually had more than they themselves could consume, and therefore they gave some of their crops away. But as we all know, there's no such thing as a free lunch, and every gift implicitly requires something in return, even if the giver does not specify this. So people would have to give something in return, but what could they give such a person if they had less to give? The answer is labor. We are almost always able to contribute labor.

So the people would contribute labor by working the person's field, thus producing more crops to give away, and thus creating more debt. I think you figure out where things went from there.

I'm not quite sure what my point here is, except to ask you to ponder the implications of this. One can gain power by giving(creating debt) or taking(imposing force), yet the result can be the same.


--------------------


"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
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Re: How power is gained [Re: silversoul7]
    #2411615 - 03/09/04 06:22 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

One can gain power by giving(creating debt) or taking(imposing force), yet the result can be the same.



You just described government sponsored social programs to a T.


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You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


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OfflineTheOneYouKnow
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Re: How power is gained [Re: silversoul7]
    #2411629 - 03/09/04 06:30 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

silversoul7 said:
In order for there to be debt, you have to have a concept of private property, which did not exist in hunter-gatherer society, as it would have harmed the society greatly.




Are you sure about that? I'd like to see what prompted you to say that. It seems that my perception of these groups involved marriage, living in your own home, having your own posessions, maybe I'm wrong. What societies are you citing for this?
Quote:


Now, the person who produced more crops usually had more than they themselves could consume, and therefore they gave some of their crops away.




"gave away"? Again, source please, and what specific societies are you talking about. Why would someone produce MORE than they could use, if this is before the trading times occured? It seems more likely to me that they'd set the food aside in storage, rahter than giving it out for free.
Quote:


But as we all know, there's no such thing as a free lunch, and every gift implicitly requires something in return, even if the giver does not specify this. So people would have to give something in return, but what could they give such a person if they had less to give? The answer is labor. We are almost always able to contribute labor.




Hm, seems to me that people would quickly just put hte labor into their own farms and have more food, and not need to recieve it. Your hypothesis would mean that, not only do some people produce too much food, but that some don't produce enough. I think that the first one could possibly be true, but after a winter or so, the people would all know about how much to plant, and noone would be growing a smaller amount.
Quote:


So the people would contribute labor by working the person's field, thus producing more crops to give away, and thus creating more debt. I think you figure out where things went from there.




Actually, the Knights Templer were teh first banks and lending institutions. They would allow people to deposit gold or riches in one temple/church/fortress, then travel to another and "withdraw" it, with a special slip, and, you guessed it, a fee.
Quote:


I'm not quite sure what my point here is, except to ask you to ponder the implications of this. One can gain power by giving(creating debt) or taking(imposing force), yet the result can be the same.




Read LDS's comment referring to this.


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Offlinezappaisgod
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Re: How power is gained [Re: silversoul7]
    #2411649 - 03/09/04 06:40 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

By giving you create in some people a feeling of gratitude, in others, a feeling that they got over on you. Giving does not imply debt. Debt is a time delayed barter. I'll give you this now if you'll give me that later. Or it could be strictly for services, I'll help you raise your barn if you'll help me pplant my corn. Or I'll help you hunt if you'll help me fish. Whatever. There is no private property involved there. As per our agreement, on some specified day I will expect to collect on your obligation. The gun comes into play when one party fails to uphold it's end of the contract.

Once again, this is not giving. Giving does not imply a quid pro quo obligation. Debt does. If I sent you a hundred dollar bill right now, you wouldn't owe me a cent. If, however, you asked to borrow $100 on the condition that you will give me 1 good days work, say in August, then you have entered into a contract and have incurred a debt. If you fail to perform I will ask the court (gun) to intervene. If the court (gun) rules in my favor you will perform or you will be made (gun) to forfeit something of equal value.

The idea of virtually limitless labor is a very recent construct of our leisure society. The concept of free time is ridiculous when you are struggling from dawn to dusk just to survive, which was the human condition for almost everyone until recently.


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: How power is gained [Re: zappaisgod]
    #2412102 - 03/09/04 09:21 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

The idea of virtually limitless labor is a very recent construct of our leisure society. The concept of free time is ridiculous when you are struggling from dawn to dusk just to survive, which was the human condition for almost everyone until recently.



You couldn't be further from the truth. Anthropological data indicates that hunter-gatherer societies have far more leisure time than modern state societies. This is the great irony of civilization and technology. In our quest to make life easier, we end up having to do more work.


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"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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Offlinezappaisgod
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Re: How power is gained [Re: silversoul7]
    #2412132 - 03/09/04 09:29 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

That's a new one on me. Got a citation? I'll look


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: How power is gained [Re: TheOneYouKnow]
    #2412144 - 03/09/04 09:31 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

TheOneYouKnow said:
Quote:

silversoul7 said:
  In order for there to be debt, you have to have a concept of private property, which did not exist in hunter-gatherer society, as it would have harmed the society greatly.




Are you sure about that?  I'd like to see what prompted you to say that.  It seems that my perception of these groups involved marriage, living in your own home, having your own posessions, maybe I'm wrong. What societies are you citing for this?



The !Kung society, previously known as the Bushmen, are the most frequently cited example.  Yes, they have marriage, but that's more of a family unit than it is private property.  And pretty much all their possessions, including their homes(which they pack up and take with them), are communal property, not private property.

Quote:

Quote:


Now, the person who produced more crops usually had more than they themselves could consume, and therefore they gave some of their crops away.




"gave away"? Again, source please, and what specific societies are you talking about.  Why would someone produce MORE than they could use, if this is before the trading times occured? It seems more likely to me that they'd set the food aside in storage, rahter than giving it out for free.



They didn't have refrigeration back then, so they could only store things like grain for long periods of time.  And why is it so hard to believe that they'd give extra crops away?  People have not always been so frugal towards their community.  In many societies today, you'll find that the person with the most prestige is the one who gives the most to the community.

Quote:

Quote:


  But as we all know, there's no such thing as a free lunch, and every gift implicitly requires something in return, even if the giver does not specify this.  So people would have to give something in return, but what could they give such a person if they had less to give?  The answer is labor.  We are almost always able to contribute labor.




Hm, seems to me that people would quickly just put hte labor into their own farms and have more food, and not need to recieve it.  Your hypothesis would mean that, not only do some people produce too much food, but that some don't produce enough. I think that the first one could possibly be true, but after a winter or so, the people would all know about how much to plant, and noone would be growing a smaller amount.



I'm talking about surpluses here, and if some people are giving surplus food away, that means other people don't have to grow as much.  Also, remember that not repaying a debt has always been frowned upon, even if it hasn't always been illegal.

Quote:

Quote:


So the people would contribute labor by working the person's field, thus producing more crops to give away, and thus creating more debt.  I think you figure out where things went from there.




Actually, the Knights Templer were teh first banks and lending institutions. They would allow people to deposit gold or riches in one temple/church/fortress, then travel to another and "withdraw" it, with a special slip, and, you guessed it, a fee.



:wtf:  What does that have to do with any of this?

Quote:

Quote:


I'm not quite sure what my point here is, except to ask you to ponder the implications of this.  One can gain power by giving(creating debt) or taking(imposing force), yet the result can be the same.




Read LDS's comment referring to this.



Yes, I realize that it describes welfare, but do you not see how it describes pretty much any use of taxation?


--------------------


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: How power is gained [Re: zappaisgod]
    #2412159 - 03/09/04 09:34 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

zappaisgod said:
That's a new one on me. Got a citation? I'll look



I got that from my archaeology class, but I think it's pretty well-documented. I believe the !Kung(see my response to TOYK) spend somewhere around 20 hours a week maintainging their subsistence, and they live in a desert.


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Offlinezappaisgod
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Re: How power is gained [Re: silversoul7]
    #2412252 - 03/09/04 09:51 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Yeah the Bushmen, OK. And the Tahitians and the Hawaiians and the Samoans. Archaeology??? Isn't that the study of extinct things???

I just think that for the most part life was pretty brutish until recently. Except for maybe places with nubile young suculent delicious nymphs. And lots of fish. Like Blue Lagoon.

You know, the main thrust of my original post was that you could have debt without property and gifts without debt.


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: How power is gained [Re: zappaisgod]
    #2412310 - 03/09/04 10:04 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

zappaisgod said:
Yeah the Bushmen, OK. And the Tahitians and the Hawaiians and the Samoans. Archaeology??? Isn't that the study of extinct things???



No, that's paleontology. Archaeology does mainly study past societies, but in order to figure out how past societies functioned, they look for parallels in modern societies.

Quote:

I just think that for the most part life was pretty brutish until recently. Except for maybe places with nubile young suculent delicious nymphs. And lots of fish. Like Blue Lagoon.



I didn't say life was perfect. While hunter-gatherer societies had more liesure time, they also had shorter life expectancies, since they didn't have modern medicine. And they had to constantly move around to keep finding food.

Quote:

You know, the main thrust of my original post was that you could have debt without property and gifts without debt.



Ok, fair enough. But I think the combination of the two is what caused social stratification. In hunter-gatherer societies, if you killed a giraffe, it wasn't considered your giraffe. It was the tribe's giraffe, so you wouldn't really be giving it away, because it wasn't really yours to give. On the other hand, in agricultural societies, everyone grew their own food, so it really would be your own crops to give away as you pleased.


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OfflineTheOneYouKnow
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Re: How power is gained [Re: silversoul7]
    #2420262 - 03/11/04 07:54 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

silversoul7 said:
They didn't have refrigeration back then, so they could only store things like grain for long periods of time. And why is it so hard to believe that they'd give extra crops away? People have not always been so frugal towards their community. In many societies today, you'll find that the person with the most prestige is the one who gives the most to the community.




refrigeration is the only way to store non-grain foods long-term? You need to take some more history classes. Salting the food and smoking it (hah, smoking it) both preserve it. The reason that people didn't give crops away is because noone had the audacity to say "Gee, I didn't plant any crops because I was too busy watching the Springer show, how about I get a free handout?"
Quote:


I'm talking about surpluses here, and if some people are giving surplus food away, that means other people don't have to grow as much. Also, remember that not repaying a debt has always been frowned upon, even if it hasn't always been illegal.




Again, just because recently our society has been comprised of members who like to suck the teat of the working man doesn't mean that it has always been that way. People farmed, what the hell else would they do with their time?
Quote:



Yes, I realize that it describes welfare, but do you not see how it describes pretty much any use of taxation?



Again, the difference is that you are using todays values (or lack thereof) to analyze actions that occured in previous times. In yesteryear, you didn't sit around and wait for winter, then ask for some of your neighbors crops, you busted your ass working so that you could have enough to last for you and your family. Debt comes from people who don't want to work hard enough to buy what they want.


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: How power is gained [Re: TheOneYouKnow]
    #2420338 - 03/11/04 08:22 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

TheOneYouKnow said:
Quote:

silversoul7 said:
They didn't have refrigeration back then, so they could only store things like grain for long periods of time. And why is it so hard to believe that they'd give extra crops away? People have not always been so frugal towards their community. In many societies today, you'll find that the person with the most prestige is the one who gives the most to the community.




refrigeration is the only way to store non-grain foods long-term? You need to take some more history classes. Salting the food and smoking it (hah, smoking it) both preserve it. The reason that people didn't give crops away is because noone had the audacity to say "Gee, I didn't plant any crops because I was too busy watching the Springer show, how about I get a free handout?"



I'm aware that refrigeration didn't always exist. Do you think people always knew that salting food or smoking it worked for preserving it? Mind you, we're talking about the beginning of agriculture, some 6,000 or so years ago. BTW, your welfare comparison was pathetic.
Quote:

Quote:


I'm talking about surpluses here, and if some people are giving surplus food away, that means other people don't have to grow as much. Also, remember that not repaying a debt has always been frowned upon, even if it hasn't always been illegal.




Again, just because recently our society has been comprised of members who like to suck the teat of the working man doesn't mean that it has always been that way. People farmed, what the hell else would they do with their time?



Well, for starters, they could make pottery, or trade, or build things, thus creating the beginnings of civilization.

Quote:

Quote:


Yes, I realize that it describes welfare, but do you not see how it describes pretty much any use of taxation?



Again, the difference is that you are using todays values (or lack thereof) to analyze actions that occured in previous times. In yesteryear, you didn't sit around and wait for winter, then ask for some of your neighbors crops, you busted your ass working so that you could have enough to last for you and your family. Debt comes from people who don't want to work hard enough to buy what they want.



You're totally twisting my words(as usual). I'm not talking about people being lazy by not producing enough. I'm talking about some people producing more than they need and giving the surplus away to others.


--------------------


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OfflineTheOneYouKnow
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Re: How power is gained [Re: silversoul7]
    #2420414 - 03/11/04 08:39 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

silversoul7 said:
I'm aware that refrigeration didn't always exist. Do you think people always knew that salting food or smoking it worked for preserving it? Mind you, we're talking about the beginning of agriculture, some 6,000 or so years ago. BTW, your welfare comparison was pathetic.




hardly, your thinking line is flawed. Why wouldn't people have enough grain for the winter? They worked back then. People didn't have the option of not working and staying alive,it was work VERY hard, or die. Your basic assumption, that some families didn't produce enough food for themselves, is rooted in todays psyche and society. People worked back then, thats just how it was.
Quote:


You're totally twisting my words(as usual). I'm not talking about people being lazy by not producing enough. I'm talking about some people producing more than they need and giving the surplus away to others.



Yes, thus creating debt. If everyone produces enough food for themselves, why would their be a need to accept donations, or to give them? Again, stop using your 2000's "welfare state" psyche to analyze past civilizations.


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: How power is gained [Re: TheOneYouKnow]
    #2420465 - 03/11/04 08:54 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

TheOneYouKnow said:
Quote:

silversoul7 said:
I'm aware that refrigeration didn't always exist. Do you think people always knew that salting food or smoking it worked for preserving it? Mind you, we're talking about the beginning of agriculture, some 6,000 or so years ago. BTW, your welfare comparison was pathetic.




hardly, your thinking line is flawed. Why wouldn't people have enough grain for the winter? They worked back then. People didn't have the option of not working and staying alive,it was work VERY hard, or die. Your basic assumption, that some families didn't produce enough food for themselves, is rooted in todays psyche and society. People worked back then, thats just how it was.



/me bangs head against the wall

YOU'RE NOT FUCKING LISTENING! I never once said that people didn't produce enough food for themselves. Only that some produced more than they needed, and that giving some away would put them in a position of higher prestige, which translated into power.

Quote:

Quote:


You're totally twisting my words(as usual). I'm not talking about people being lazy by not producing enough. I'm talking about some people producing more than they need and giving the surplus away to others.



Yes, thus creating debt. If everyone produces enough food for themselves, why would their be a need to accept donations, or to give them? Again, stop using your 2000's "welfare state" psyche to analyze past civilizations.



They wouldn't need to accept the donations, but guess what? Sometimes people like to have more than they need. The person producing the surplus COULD hold on to the extra food, and some probably did, but it would be more to their benefit to give it away. It's you that's applying the "welfare state" mentality here, not me.


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Re: How power is gained [Re: silversoul7]
    #2420495 - 03/11/04 09:03 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

silversoul7 said:
/me bangs head against the wall




That certaintly won't help your lack of grammer and understanding skills.
Quote:


YOU'RE NOT FUCKING LISTENING! I never once said that people didn't produce enough food for themselves. Only that some produced more than they needed, and that giving some away would put them in a position of higher prestige, which translated into power.




I'd like you to tell me why I would accept a donation from another person of a fungible product that I have enough of, and then feel indebted? If a bank tried to loan me money, and I had enough, I'd just say "no". I wouldn't accept it and then feel indebted.
Quote:


They wouldn't need to accept the donations, but guess what? Sometimes people like to have more than they need. The person producing the surplus COULD hold on to the extra food, and some probably did, but it would be more to their benefit to give it away. It's you that's applying the "welfare state" mentality here, not me.



Again, tell me why, if I had enough food, I'd accept food from another person, and feel indebted to them. I missed omething here. Or you omitted it or changed your position mid-stream, like you did in the handgun v rifles post.


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: How power is gained [Re: TheOneYouKnow]
    #2420539 - 03/11/04 09:18 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

TheOneYouKnow said:
Quote:

silversoul7 said:
/me bangs head against the wall




That certaintly won't help your lack of grammer and understanding skills.




Quote:

Quote:


YOU'RE NOT FUCKING LISTENING! I never once said that people didn't produce enough food for themselves. Only that some produced more than they needed, and that giving some away would put them in a position of higher prestige, which translated into power.




I'd like you to tell me why I would accept a donation from another person of a fungible product that I have enough of, and then feel indebted? If a bank tried to loan me money, and I had enough, I'd just say "no". I wouldn't accept it and then feel indebted.



I'm sure as an American you can relate to the sentiment that too much is never enough. People like to have a little extra, just in case. Also, the person producing more crops could throw a feast for everyone, and I'm sure that even if you have enough of something, you'd be glad to attend such a feast. At least I would.
Quote:

Quote:


They wouldn't need to accept the donations, but guess what? Sometimes people like to have more than they need. The person producing the surplus COULD hold on to the extra food, and some probably did, but it would be more to their benefit to give it away. It's you that's applying the "welfare state" mentality here, not me.



Again, tell me why, if I had enough food, I'd accept food from another person, and feel indebted to them. I missed omething here. Or you omitted it or changed your position mid-stream, like you did in the handgun v rifles post.



Because people like to have a surplus. When people have enough food, that doesn't mean they have as much as they could possibly eat. That just means they have enough to get by on. Besides, it's considered rude to turn down a gift.


--------------------


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Re: How power is gained [Re: silversoul7]
    #2420565 - 03/11/04 09:24 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

silversoul7 said:
I'm sure as an American you can relate to the sentiment that too much is never enough. People like to have a little extra, just in case. Also, the person producing more crops could throw a feast for everyone, and I'm sure that even if you have enough of something, you'd be glad to attend such a feast. At least I would.




I certaintly would. However, if I was invited to a feast, I wouldn't feel indebted to them, other than for a thank you note. Your premise was that giving created debt, it doesn't. LOANING creates debt.
Quote:


Because people like to have a surplus. When people have enough food, that doesn't mean they have as much as they could possibly eat. That just means they have enough to get by on. Besides, it's considered rude to turn down a gift.



It sure is. It's also rude to say that giving a gift equates with owing a debt. when I give gifts for Christmas I don't mandate my friends come over and work my land for me. Your point is moot.


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Re: How power is gained [Re: TheOneYouKnow]
    #2420598 - 03/11/04 09:30 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

TheOneYouKnow said:
Quote:

silversoul7 said:
I'm sure as an American you can relate to the sentiment that too much is never enough. People like to have a little extra, just in case. Also, the person producing more crops could throw a feast for everyone, and I'm sure that even if you have enough of something, you'd be glad to attend such a feast. At least I would.




I certaintly would. However, if I was invited to a feast, I wouldn't feel indebted to them, other than for a thank you note. Your premise was that giving created debt, it doesn't. LOANING creates debt.



I think you're the word "debt" in more of an official sense than I'm using it. Perhaps the word "favor" might be better understandable for you. Someone does you a favor and you feel obligated to return the favor in some way. At the very least, the person earns your gratitude and admiration, which can lead to prestige, which can turn into power.
Quote:

Quote:


Because people like to have a surplus. When people have enough food, that doesn't mean they have as much as they could possibly eat. That just means they have enough to get by on. Besides, it's considered rude to turn down a gift.



It sure is. It's also rude to say that giving a gift equates with owing a debt. when I give gifts for Christmas I don't mandate my friends come over and work my land for me. Your point is moot.



You don't have to say it for it to be implicit. If your friend gives you a present for your birthday, wouldn't you feel obligated to give them a present for theirs?


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Re: How power is gained [Re: silversoul7]
    #2420627 - 03/11/04 09:38 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

silversoul7 said:
[I think you're the word "debt" in more of an official sense than I'm using it. Perhaps the word "favor" might be better understandable for you. Someone does you a favor and you feel obligated to return the favor in some way. At the very least, the person earns your gratitude and admiration, which can lead to prestige, which can turn into power.




Certaintly not comparable to the "power" that comes from having a gun...
Quote:



You don't have to say it for it to be implicit. If your friend gives you a present for your birthday, wouldn't you feel obligated to give them a present for theirs?




I wouldn't feel compelled to, as if he had a "power" over me.


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Re: How power is gained [Re: TheOneYouKnow]
    #2420650 - 03/11/04 09:44 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

TheOneYouKnow said:
Quote:

silversoul7 said:
[I think you're the word "debt" in more of an official sense than I'm using it. Perhaps the word "favor" might be better understandable for you. Someone does you a favor and you feel obligated to return the favor in some way. At the very least, the person earns your gratitude and admiration, which can lead to prestige, which can turn into power.




Certaintly not comparable to the "power" that comes from having a gun...



Not in itself, no. Real power comes from having the devotion of enough people who are willing to use force in your favor. No one can become a powerful despot if they only make enemies.
Quote:

Quote:


You don't have to say it for it to be implicit. If your friend gives you a present for your birthday, wouldn't you feel obligated to give them a present for theirs?



I wouldn't feel compelled to, as if he had a "power" over me.



I'm not saying he does. I'm saying that the power of tradition and manners obliges you to return the favor. I'm not talking about force here. Force is the other means through which power is gained.


--------------------


"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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