moisés naím

moises naim


say zuckerberg’s reading list… glossed over end of power.. because.. power.

reading it now because of reference in one of greg‘s posts (good and bad disruption). actually didn’t remember it as a zuckerberg listed book when i started reading. actually haven’t liked much of it since i started. (and had a non-resonating time with his 2012 tedx) assumptions et al.


2014 –

RSA Replay: The End of Power

10 min – i’m saying something fundamental is changing in the world concerning power, those who have power today are more constrained than before

power is both shifting (more temp everywhere) and decaying (can’t do as much)

16 min – this is a bad time for dictators

19 min – the ascent of rejection politics..

20 min – vetocracies.. capable of vetoing the majority

33 min – is power like gold or love..

35 min – q: 3 types of power: hierarchical, solidarity, individualistic – seeing dimunision of first two and growth in 3rd.. a: individualistic rise isn’t universal.. i see solidarity as more universally growing

39 min – on institutional power.. wave of innovation creating new institutions. from people’s frustrations and emergency..

on the breathing monsters inbetween…

two-loops ness

42 min – perspective of nation state – i believe it will stay with us.. very important

44 min – what’s optimal size for country.. economical: large, political: small

46 min – which country has seen more of the three revolutions (more – overwhelming means of contol, mobility – end of captive audience, mentality – taking nothing for granted anymore)

51 min – in many countries we are choking on checks – from lack of trust

53 min – last decade has seen largest growth in middle class – with more power/voice…


the end of power

notes/highlights from the end of power:

p. 13 – up to this point highlighting some but not tweeting.. disagreeing too much, ie on arab spring:

book takes aim at two of the big conventioanl conversations about power. one is the fixation with the internet as the explanation for changes in power, …

but the protesters and the circumstances that motivated them to take to the streets are driven by circumstances at home and abroad that have nothing to do with the new information tools at their disposal.

? how so.. nothing?

p. 15

a book about power requires a definition of power – and, just as important, a reason to take on this primordial yet in some ways most elusive of topics.

power has focused behavior and driven competition since the dawn of society.

primordial? perhaps since the allegiance to competition..

p. 16

the approach here is practical. the aim is to understand what it takes to get power, to keep it, and to lose it. this requires a working definition, and here is one: power is the ability to direct or prevent the current or future actions of other groups and individuals. or, put differently, power is what we exercise over others that leads them to behave in ways they would not otherwise have behaved.

this practical way of looking at power is neither new nor controversial.


p. 17

for power to operate requires an interaction or exchange between two or more parties: master and servant, ruler and citizen, boss and employee, parent and child, teacher and student, or a complex combination of individuals, parties, armies, companies, institutions, even nations.

all man-made labels/relationships.. no? perpetuating power…

the less the players and their attributes change, the more stable the particuar distribution of power becomes. but when the number, identity, motiviations, abilities, and attributes of the players change, the power distribution will change as well.

this is not just an abstract point. what i mean is that power has a social function. its role is not just to enforce domination or to create winners and losers: it also organizes communities, societies, marketplaces, and the world. hobbes explained this well. because the urge for power is primal, he argued, it follows that humans are inherently conflictual and competitive. left to express that nature without the presence of power to inhibit and direct them, they would fight until there was nothing left to fight for.

what? primal?

but if they obeyed a “commo power,” they could put their efforts toward building society, not destroying it.
during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war,” hobbes wrote, “and such a war as is of every man against every man.”


really? i don’t know.

the fall of barriers to power is opening the door to new players of the kind that have transformed chess…… are now transforming other major fields of human competition

again – assuming that can’t become (and was before) irrelevant.. how do you assume that..?

and what happens when power is radically scattered, diffuse, and decayed? the philosophers already knew the answer: chaos and anarchy.

well – prior to now. now tech can ground the chaos.. offering us more of a stigmergy ness – ongoingly emerging ness.. no?

and the decay of power risks producing just this scenario. a world where players have enough power to block everyone else’s initiatives but no one has the power to impose its preferred course of action is a world where decisions are not taken, taken too late, or watered down to the point of ineffectiveness. without the predictability and stability that come with generally accepted rules and authorities, even the most free-spirited creators of art, music and literature will lack the ability to lead fulfilling lives, beginning with the ability to subsist in some consistent, systematic way off the fruits of their own labor (ie, with some form of intellectual property protection). decades of knowledge and experience accumulated by political parties, corporations, churches, militaries, and cultural institutions face the threat of dissipation. and the more slippery power becomes, the more our lives become governed by short-term incentives and fears, and the less we can chart our actions and plan for the future.

oh my.

before now.. but ow re wire ness. everyone can now have something else to do – rather than bad.

Powerful institutions have been with us for so long, and the barriers to power traditionally have been so high, that we’ve composed the meaning of our lives—our choices about what to do, what to accept, what to challenge—within their parameters.

tweeted above without his very following sentence which is:

if we become too alienated, the decay of power may turn destructive.

because we have the means to not be.. and everyone is focusing on the other.. because we only know people from science of people ness.  [gosh i hope things change in his writing.. he’s top thinker in the world..? – first tweeted quote – so took a peek at other quotes via kindle.. the few i looked at were all negative.. ugh.]

beginning of ch 2 – ugh description of total immersion in science of people thinking.. then labels: employees, cosumers, investors, … that’s not us.

how power works section – 4 parts – (and given right after statement that we are going into uncharted waters of power..?):

muscle: the legitimate use of violence is a right that citizens grant the state in exchange for protection and stability.

? whoa.

but whether i the service of tyrants or enlightened leaders, muscle ultimately relies on coercion. you obey it because if you don’t, the consequences will be worse than those obeying

code: taught to children in school.. that channel of power does not imply coercion; instead, it activates our sense of moral duty.. unquestioned power unequivocally tells us how to behave.

supposed to’s et al. ugh.

pitch: requires neither force nor a moral code.. instead it gets us to change our thinking, our perception…

reward: deployment of material benefits to induce behavior

these four channels… are what social scientists call ideal types: they are analytically distinct and extreme renderings of the category they seek to represent.

various kinds of manipulation are available depending on the answers to two questions: 1\ does the manipulation change the structure or the assessment of the situation 2\ does the manipulation offer an improvement or not..

the relative role of muscle (coercion), code (obligation), pitch (persuasion), and reward (inducement) determines the answers to those questions in any give real-world situation.

real world..?

chart – p. 26

outcome seen as improvement: via reward/pitch.

outcome seen as nonimprovement: via coercion/obligation.

p. 27 –

any competition or conflict – whether a war, a battle for market share, diplomatic talks…

note the ie’s no?

distribution of power… reflects the ability of the competing parties to rely on some combo of muscle, code, pitch, and reward to get others to act in the way they desire.

imagine we backed off, let go, and just focused on – in charge of the day ness.. trusting us. we couldn’t possibly be worse off than we are now. yes – even washing dishes would take care of itself… if that’s a thing.

when enough of these changes happen simultaneously, daily life changes for all of us.

revolution of everyday life.. in sync..

but his next example is after katrina – school board power disperses into charter schools. oh my.

it will never be possible to predict every shift in power

but we could make them irrelevant.. no?

p. 30

the concept of barriers to power is rooted in economics.

which is rooted in violence.. no?

as we know, the ideal state in economics is perfect competition.


ch 3 – p. 38 – max weber.

indeed, weber and his theories about bureaucracy are critical to understanding how power can actually be used.


p. 40

authority as 1\ traditional (inherited) 2\ charismatic 3\ bureaucratic/rational (grounded in laws & admin structure capable of enforcement)

weber believe, the key to wielding power in modern society is bureaucratic organization. bureaucracy to weber was far from the dirty word it has become today.

p. 41

“it does not matter for the character of bureaucracy whether its authority is called ‘private’ or ‘public,'” weber wrote. “where the bureaucratization of administration has been completely carried through,” he concluded, “a form of power relation is established that is practically unshatterable.”

p. 42

how the world went weberian – spread of B was outbreak of ww1

as the historian william mcneill observed, “innumerable bureaucratic structures that had previously acted more or less independently of one another in a context of market relationships coalesced into what amounted to a single national firm for waging war” a process that played out in every combatant nation.

It is not enough to control large, power-endowing resources like money, weapons, or followers. Such resources are a necessary precondition of power; but without an effective way of managing them, the power they create is less effective, more transient, or both. Weber’s central message was that without a reliable, well-functioning organization, or, to use his term, without a bureaucracy, power could not be effectively wielded

B ness –

coase, 31-32 – the nature of the firm – got nobel prize in econ…

costs for drafting and enforcing sales contracts – expenses that coase initially called “marketing costs” and later redubbed “transaction costs.” specifically, transaction costs helped explain why some firms grew by vertically integrating – that is, by buying their suppliers or distributors – while others didn’t.

In process and outcome, World War II reinforced the equation of size with power. The US “arsenal of democracy” that fueled the Allied victory nearly doubled the size of the US economy over the course of the war and nurtured corporate giants that were paragons of mass production. And who were the ultimate winners of this conflict but the United States and the USSR—countries that spanned whole continents, not island-nations like Japan or even Great Britain, beggared by the costs of the fighting into second-class status.

Like Ronald Coase, Mills was fascinated by the rise of large managerial corporations. He argued that these firms, in their pursuit of scale and efficiency, had created a vast tier of workers who carried out repetitive, mechanistic tasks that stifled their imagination and, ultimately, their ability to fully participate in society. In short, Mills argued, the typical corporate worker was alienated. For many, that alienation was captured in the warning printed on the Hollerith punch cards that, thanks to IBM and other data processing firms, became ubiquitous symbols and agents of bureaucratized life during the 1950s and 1960s: “Do Not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate.

what if the model of organization that Weber and his inheritors in economics and sociology found to be the most adapted to competition and management in modern life has become obsolete? What if power is dispersing, coming to dwell in new forms and through new mechanisms in a host of small and previously marginal players, while the power advantage of the big, established, and more bureaucratic incumbents decays?

is it even the same word…? power…?

.. it holds out the prospect that power ay have become remarkably unmoored from size and scale.

ch 4

They are not equipped for vast takeovers. Their advantage is precisely that they are not burdened by the size, scale, asset and resource portfolio, centralization, and hierarchy that the megaplayers have deployed and spent so much time and effort nurturing and managing.

The decoupling of power from size, and thus the decoupling of the capacity to use power effectively from the control of a large Weberian bureaucracy, is changing the world.

the implications are breathtaking

then references tim berners-lee – ie: that invention (www), in turn, sparked a global communications revolution that has left no part of our lives untouched.. and says:

we often find it hard to resist the urge to attribute a period of great flux to a single cause. take, for instance, the role of text messaging and sm such as fb and twitter in upheavals around the world. a fierce but ultimately sterile debate has occurred …


to describe such changes at this deep level .. : the more revolution (swamping the barriers to power), the mobility revolution (circumventing them), the mentality revolution (undercutting them).

p. 54

we can assert first decade of 21st cent was arguably humanity’s most successful..the data back up this claim.

? then goes on to say how we’ve cut poverty in half.. 5 yrs early et al.. then a few pages later – how the middle class has grown everywhere.. but clarifies (p. 56) as middle-class consumers. ..?

then continuing with stats i don’t believe to be true and/or making his point. ie: literacy up.. 84% now compared to 75% in 1990 – (carol black’s 95% ish way back when).. then.. uni ed is up.. av score on inelligence tests all over world are now higher.. – (again back to 95% ness – ie: denise pope’s % on cheating.) so what’s what.. right?

p. 57 – human beings enjoying longer healthier lives… suicide passing car accident rates.. and incarcerations up.. not sure how people decide these things.. so definitely..

the key is this: when people are more numerous and living fuller lives, they become more difficult to regiment and control.

perhaps fuller comes more from a&a than from (the more Moisés describes) ie: money or food or shelter even.. and that is coming from the connectedness the web is allowing (and can allow) .. no? then the calling up of pluralistic ignorance.. not about knowledge.. but about acknowledgement of compliance.. no?

p. 58

more numerous and in fuller possession of their means and functioning … they become more difficult to coordinate and control.

that’s exactly what tech can do for us.. opposite of power.. opposite of scarcity.. of competition. but it has to be all of us to work. the coordination is better the more of us dance.. and the control is one we’ve not yet realized.. ie: the safety/orderliness of everyone doing the thing they can’t not do..

is power and control the same? can’t you have power w/o control..? ie: antifragile ness; power of love ness

Power needs a captive audience.

..when borders become porous and the governed—or controlled—population more mobile, entrenched organizations have a harder time retaining their dominance.

p. 64 – on middle class aware that others have more.. expecting and hoping to catch up… ? is that true.. or is that our conditioned self talking\speaking for us…

ie:chile, students have been rioting almost routinely since 2009, demanding cheaper and better uni ed. it doesn’t matter that a few decades ago access to higher ed was a privilege reserved for a tiny elite and that unis are not flooded with the sons and daughters of the new middle class. for the students and their parents, access to higher ed is no longer enough. they want better and cheaper ed. and they want it now.

whoa. as it should be. but access is what’s needed… permission to be free from the day… as the day.. is what’s needed.. no? all the wants above are accessible if we hospiced (or whatever’s) out all the institutional supposed to’s.

p. 66 – the propensity of the young to question authority and challenge power is now amplified by the more and mbility revolutions. not only are there more poeple than ever underthirty, but they have more – prepaid calling-cards….

The 2010 US Census revealed that the American population under eighteen would have undergone a decade-long decline had it not been for the inflow of millions of young Hispanic and Asian immigrants. These young immigrants are an important factor behind an unprecedented transition: in 2012, white babies were a minority of all US births.

among american older than 50, 76% are white, and black pop at 10% is largest minority. among those younger than 30, 55% are whites. hispanics, asians, and other nonblack minorities account for 31% of that age group.

p. 67 – world values survey since 1990.. until mid-sixties, 75% of americans answered yes (trust govt)… by 1980, only 25% said yes.

trust % fell below 1/2 in about 1972. so anyone under 40 has lived life in country where majority didn’t trust govt…

military is one of few insttutions that retains the confidence and support of americans..


The combination of emerging global values and the increase in aspirational behavior poses the strongest challenge of all to the moral basis of power. It helps spread the idea that things do not need to be as they have always been.

p. 71 – barriers to power must be in place if muscle, code, pitch and reward are to be effective. and the effect of the more, mobility and mentality revolutions is precisely to reduce these barriers. (chart p 73)

The Mentality revolution breeds increasing skepticism of the political system in general.

p.87 – on how we’re voting more..

does that mean anything.. if choices for voting aren’t fitting to potential… ie: spinach or rock ness

p. 88 – on netherlands (2010) and belgium (1988) without govt

described as bad.. but does that mean it would be bad.. if other factors in play.. ie: people free. as the day.

p. 96 – (prior page – irony of house of commons keeping player out)

on most decentralized countries…argentina, brazil, colombia.. and working on philippines, indonesia, and estonia

p. 98 – a new political player was asserting itself: the judiciary.

p. 104 – on ngo’s being good.. but their tunnel vision and pressure to show results… makes them very rigid

p. 106 – ..power is not just shifting. It is also decaying and, in some cases, evaporating.

toward peace..

today’s private military services market, which has been estimated at $100 billion a year, was virtually nonexistent a generation ago.. (prisoner interrogation, blackwater, …)

p. 118 – cost of drones.. range from 1000s to 15 mill

ieds aloe accounted for 60% of all civilian casualties

p. 125 – (drug) war is not metaphor; from december 2006 to early 2012, almost 50000 people died in drug-related violence.

p. 129 – hegemon – a nation with the capacity to impose its will on others…. not only have the factors that define a hegemon changed but the acquisition and use of power in the international system are .. transforming

p. 131 – (among list) – egypt, the recipient of bills of dollars in military and economic aid, imprisons hig profile staff members from u.s. nongovt orgs. …

the world has entered into a “post-hegemonic era” where “no nation has the capacity to impose its will on others in a substantial or permanent way. – us national security adviser zbigniew brzezinski

p. 132 – rise of china has been most-read news story of 21st cent…… china’s economy at midcentury will be almost double..

but those (hegemonian) factors have changed.. no?  from above.. p. 129

p. 134 – the likes of al qaeda, the gates foundation, and al jazeera have their own agenda largely unmoored from any specific country.

p. 135 – why this unprecedented extended global peace (since 1945)? a key part of the answer is hegemony…… hegemonic stability theory, developed in the 70s by mit prof charles kindleberger, underlies, more or less explicitly, much of today’s debate. its central insight is that a dominant power that has both the unique ability and the interest to ensure world order is the best antidote to costly and dangerous international chaos.


p. 137 – joseph nye – clinton admin – the means to success in world politics.. soft power as nye envisions it is a kind of power that is hard to measure but easy to detect; the power of reputation and esteem, the goodwill radiated by well-regarded institutions, a desirable economy to work in or trade with, an attractive culture. …… in the 1990s, it was clear that silicon valley and hollywood were adding to america’s soft power by driving global tech innovation and spreading entertainment products laced with american culture.

from 1970 through 1997 alone, the number of international treaties more than tripled. …. thousands… covering everything from polar bears and road traffic to nuclear fuel.

scholars call this a regime – a set of rules and forums addressing a particular issue of common concern… today, in a once unimaginable world of almost 200 separate sovereign states, there is a greater moral consensus about the proper behavior of nations than humanity has ever known before.


p. 139 – a decade later, the picture is more complicated. (on u.s. being the ultimate hegemony) the body blow of 9/11 shattered america’s illusion of immunity to domestic attack. intractable conflicts in iraq and afghanistan showed the limits of its military supremacy. the financial crisis and great recession exposed weaknesses in its economy. admis of both of its major parties struggled with polarized domestic politics. yet, … no clear rival has emerged.

boosters of american hegemony worried that the biggest risk to the world order was not the rise of some devious competitor, but, rather, america’s failure to live up to its role.

p. 140  – fundamentally, the tools that big powers use to get their way in the international system have not change much. weapons, money, and diplomatic ingenuity have usually carried the day.

p. 141 – it is not the raw assets themselves that are shrinking. what is waning is the effectiveness, usability and impact of the traditional modes of power that they underpin: whether military economic, or soft power.

p. 143 – one military arena in which some of the traditional hierarchies remain intact is arms sales – at least of the traditional kind.

p. 145 – at the end of ww2, only 5-6 national aid agencies existed. today there are more than 60.

the global private aid industry is estimated to employ more staff than the govt and multilateral orgs with which it competes more and more effectively.

p. 146 – investments originating in developing countries are still a minority of global foreign investment, but they have skyrocketed from only 12 bill in 1991 to 384 bill in 2011

p. 149 – don’t have to be sitting on top of small fortune in hydrocarbon resources to play with big boys. small group of countries that are not necessarily neighbors or bound by a common history can achieve results more quickly by simply choosing to work together than by going through cumbersome international orgs.

When they set up the United Nations’ system, the winners of World War II made sure to design it in ways that would protect their interests. The United States, Soviet Union, China, France, and Britain, for example, gave themselves permanent seats on the Security Council, the body that was to handle the most serious international crises. They also ensured that they would retain the power to veto any resolution.

p. 152 – small country vetoes work – because large countries no longer have same range of carrots and sticks to force compliance….. the proliferation of news and communication channels allows small countries new ways to make their case directly to the global public….

on diplomacy – among these were discretion manners patience thorough knowledge of the relevant topics, and the shunning of premature publicity.

p. 153 – immigrant – on behalf of their home nation, or emigrants on behalf of their host..

what is a gongo.. a govt-organized nongovt org; an impostor that purports to be part of civil society but it in fact instigated, funded, or directed by a govt or people acting on its behalf.

geopolitics ness – benjamin

p. 155 – key common feature is that none of these groups is trying to be a universal alliance….. truly global agreements have grown exceedingly rare – especially ones that actually work.

perhaps because none have gone deep/simple/open enough, ie: about money rather than people

p. 157 – but the decay of power means that obsessing about which great power is on the rise and which one is declining, as if geopolitics in the end reduced to a zero-sum game among a global elite, is a red herring.

The juxtaposition can be jarring. Each new massacre, bombing, or environmental disaster jolts us anew, and the laborious, ambiguous results of conferences and summit meetings seem to offer little consolation or hope. It may seem that no one is in charge. That feeling, and the trends that provoke it, will continue. But looking for a current or new hegemon or a committee of elite nations to reassert control is a fool’s errand. The solutions to the new challenges of international cooperation—ultimately, of sharing the planet—will emerge..

i suggest this should end this with – if we let them/us. Moisés ends it with.. in a landscape where power is easier to obtain and harder to use or even keep.

i’m thinking power itself becomes irrelevant. the more we can see ourselves.. as one. one love.

to follow – so many pages.. so many words.. assuming market/money ..

p.165 – computer chip business, intel controls 80% for cpu processors…. crop seeds – mosant and dupot, payment networks – visa and mastercard, searches – google

p. 166 – 2010 study found – 2 decades ago companies faced an average of 20% chance of encountering a corporate disaster for their reputation in a 5 yr period.. no 82%…. the turmoil at the top makes an odd contrast with the widely prevailing idea that we live now in an era of unprecedented corporate power.

Individually or together, the companies that dominate a particular industry or marketplace spend a great deal of their energy working to keep things that way.

ie: Ed. no?.. on loss of energy.. for futile things

p. 171 – extent of market power… gauged by.. barriers to entry..

.. market power is no longer what it used to be. The antidote to business insecurity and instability is losing its effectiveness. And the advantage long considered to be built into corporate scale, scope, and hierarchy has been blunted, or even transformed into a handicap.

p. 172 – on competition-boosting changes

again – all the pages/words/people – spent on this blinded/zombi-ized vision.. no?

these policy initiatives have had at least as much impact in changing the global business environment as the advent of the internet..

perhaps – as much as.. (and no where near our capabilities) .. because we’re assuming internet is for business. ie: few are grokking www ness..

there epochal policy shifts were amplified by other revolutions in technology; together they led to a world in which the old barriers to entry could no longer protect incumbents from the assaults of new challengers.

on protect ness – focus on (too much ness) policy.. it’s still an us/them battle/competition. ie: why still claiming policy as part..

disruptive tech’s began to appear in almost every industry. small-scale solar, wind, and biomass energy plant are bringing electricity to vast populations that have never had it, lifting lives, promoting the development of small-scale industry, and challenging the dominance of traditional utilities.

on lifting lives – should read.. lifting market.. not lives. we have yet to let go enough to see lives lifted. that would be seen by 7 billion at once.. ie: the exponentiation of that kind of energy..

p. 173 – and as noted above, financing for good business ideas has become more available thanks to fundamental changes in the financial industry. in most countries, access to capital is no longer the insurmountable barrier to the creation of expansion of a new company as it once was.

on financing ness – ringing in my ears/heart/mind – the center of the problem is that none of them knew the center of the problem.. – nnt .. ie: money isn’t a given

p. 174 – in so doing, they have not just change the playing field on which businesses compete. they have also thrown open competition to new players, ushering in credible and savvy rivals that barriers of regulation, resources, knowledge, capital, or reputation had long kept out.

on compete ness – dang again. we are not being careful.. and we are missing it.

p. 178 – (earlier on zara getting clothes to stores in 2 weeks.. when others is 6 months) – .. the whole point of branding is to deter competition.


p. 195 – in brazil, the universal church of the kingdom of god, founded in rio de janeiro by pastor edir meacedo in 1977, now has 5000 chapters

p. 196 – in fact, the roughly 2.2 bill christians around the world are so dispersed that, as a recent pew report put it, ” no single continent or region can indisputably claim to be the center of global christianity. the share of the christians in the population of sub-saharan africa, for example, has risen from 9% in 1910 to 63% a century later.

p. 199 – on styles/sounds of local culture. as one evangelical pastor in postosí bolivia put it: out churches are more open, the songs use local rhythms, and i visit my people every day..


p. 201 – in the u.s., union density has plummeted from 36% after ww2 to just 12% today. in the private sector, the drop has been even sharper, from about 1/3 half a century ago to less than 8% now.

p. 204 – china most at stake for workers…. rather than attempt collective bargaining, individual workers have responded to poor conditions by job-hopping


p. 206 – hub of innovation in philanthropy is the u.s., .. where private giving is most tightly woven into the fabric of business culture.


p. 207 – celanthropy – celebrity plus philanthropy…. for many of these new givers, the attitudes and methods of traditional philanthropy are anathema. rather than give to big institutions, for example, they want to create their own.

p. 208 – acumen fund – must be scalable to reach population of a t least 1 million… some grants but mostly loans. – rockefeller foundation.. one of original investors.. p. 210

p. 210 – dambisa


p. 213 – by 2015 fb is expected to account for 1 in 5 digital display ads sold.

p. 216 – what happen when the mosaic of faith shatters into a thousand, a million jagged pieces. when the quest for common good devolves into bespoke kindness designed to advance a particular cause for a particular person.

from climate change to rising inequality, the enormous challenges that we face demand collective action and a new shared way of thinking about the accretion and use of power..

or irrelevance of it.. depending on definition.. no?

p. 218 – the undeniably positive consequence of the decay of power include freer societies, more elections and options for voters, …. more investment …. more competition..

? whoa nelly. issue of voting along perpetuates.. the control part of power. ie: rather.. instigating utopia everyday.. hardt.. more not better until surpasses limit of infinity. ie: raised eyebrow, spinach or rock ness..

definitely towards more frustrating books.. as the high regard Moisés has .. for things he says.. yet seems stuck in man made constructs…

p. 220 – and we know that during transitions to democracy, nations often undergo political convulsions that make them hard to govern, thus feeding nostalgia for their old authoritarian order.

have we ever transitioned to democracy..?

if/when we do – sync is huge..  ie: why we keep falling back on control, authoritarian order..

p. 221 – those coming of age today may have a hard time imagining a situation when all telephone companies around the world were monopolies, often owned by the state and frequently incapable of delivering decent service. … today, telephony is fiercely contested, an no company feels safe or permanent …our distaste for monopoly extends to oligopolies and cartels….

different story if money/competition isn’t involved.. would have best – commons – service for all of us.. if we were – in it together… no?

p. 224 – when overly concentrated, power produces tyranny. at the opposite end, the more fragmented and diluted power becomes, the great the risk of anarchy – a state in which there is not order.

but there’s is order in anarchy.. it’s just not forced. diff defn of anarchy. diff assumptions of human capabilities.. when free.

p. 226 – when the world’s military order gets so scattered that pirates, terrorists, militias, criminal cartels, and rogue states can defy the armies of powerful nations, the stakes could not be higher.

higher.. to question the military in the first place.. no? ie: in perpetuating all the others..

p. 227 – 20th cent respose to demand for global public goods was to create international orgs, from un and all its specialized agencies to world bank, imf,…

the same country whose govt /military is trying to bring about change in some faraway place,.. may also harbor foundations/charities that direct money/info to its opponents..

five risks

1\ disorder

– for many … the acquisition of power is- or seems to be – an innate urge.

or seems to be – huge. – science of people ness – et al

we consent to the power of the state because it is supposed to guarantee the minimum level of stability an predictability we need to lead fulfilling lives.

on need – perhaps misguided on actual needs.. ie: 2 needs, toward antifragility ness

rules from business regulation, libel laws, and ballot access to international treaties all aim to calm the unpredictability of life and ward off the risk of chaotic disorder, even anarchy.


yet the core promise of power – that it produces order – remains the heart of our consent.

on heart – the heart of.. or the manufactured ness of.. our consent.

peraps the heart of this book. here.

and so off.


p. 228  – this can turn even advance and mature democracies into stagnant entities incapable of responding to the challenges and demands of the twenty-first century.

on democracies – have we seen any.. to date..? really.

on challenges – fitting with the missing ness here.. of the potential of www ness.

on inability to respond to devastating economic crisis…. and our inability to act decisively…

on devastating – devastating or opportunistic.. if we can see the center of the problem

on inability – except.. with www. .. to ground chaos of 7 bill.. stigmergically

2\ de-skilling and loss of knowledge

political parties, large corps, churches, foundations, bureaucracies, militaries, prestigious unis, and culture institutions accumulate experience, practices and knowledge within their walls;

on experience – oh my. – w/in their walls.

but while the flaws of most parties are often unquestionable, their demise implies the disappearance of important reservoirs of highly specific knowledge that are not easy to replicate by alluring newcomers – many of which tend to be what swiss historian jacob burkhardt called terrible simplifiers, the demagogues who seek power by exploiting the ire and frustration of the population and making appealing but terribly simplified and ultimately deceitful promises.

on reservoirs – oh my. obviously.. opportunity to go all shiny ness. but also only way to see/hear/be every one. in our one ness we need that most.

p. 229 – the same holds for the experience of large firms as employers and investors. micro enterprises, pop-up stores, venture funds, social networks, and the like have a hard time replicating a large firm’s accumulated intellectual capital.

on capital – oh my. and this 2010, 2013.. now 2015.

the radical decentralization of knowledge – from wikipedia to open-source software development to mit course material available free online – is one of the most exciting trends in the dispersion of power. but the ability of these new sources of knowledge to match internal r&d or preserve institutional memory is inconsistent at best.

on inconsistent (or whatever) – true.. to what we’re ie: promoting with online course ness.. and blocking in wikipedia ness. but not true with what we can do ie: via stigmergy/www ness.

our individual choices about education and employment are not necessarily better or more sustainable in an environment where power is too diffuse.

on necessarily – trued.. not necessarily better. but perhaps.. most definite means to better ness..

excessive institutional fragmentation can be as bad for creating and wisely using knowledge as are the stifling environments that obtain when power is overly concentrated.

on excessive – unless by excessive … we mean beyond approaching the limit of infinity..

3\ banalization of social movements

for most people in world, web-based social/political activism represents little more than the touching of a button. perhaps, a bit more meaningfully, they will make a small donation – for instance, $5 to the red cross after an earthquake or..

on red cross – perhaps un intended appropriate ness here.. the six house thing et al

p. 230 – evgeny morozov calls this new, low involvement and low-impact participation “slacktivism.”

are the publicity gains.. worth the organizational losses…

proliferation of small players and short-term initiatives brings the risk that actual, forceful, coalitions directed toward specific social goals become impossible to orchestrate. call it the collective action problem gone subatomic.

or that we just haven’t gone deep enough..

4\ boosting impatience and shortening attention spans


govt leaders elected for increasingly shorter periods, corp leaders with their eyes ont eh next quarterly resutls, generals aware that the success of armed interventions depends more than ever on the support of a fickle public that is less tolerant of casualties

oh my. inappropriately appropriate (to my read of this book)

at the individual level a paradox of the decay of power is that it may give us more tools for living in the moment

on living in the moment ness – true to our current mindset of quick fixes.. but perhaps only cure is to detox. ie: trust ourselves out of it.. revolution in reverse ness. revolution of everyday life ness..

patience may be the scarcest resource of all in a world where the decay of power continues unabated.

on patience – or perhaps in our zombie ied manufactured consent ness.. we’ve nailed patience. perhaps trust is what’s scarce.

5\ alienation

p. 231

Power and its institutions have been with us for so long, and the barriers to power traditionally so high, that we have composed the meaning of our lives—our choices about what to do, what to accept, what to challenge—within these parameters.

spot on. and this book – to me – seems evidence of that..

changes in the power structure, the traditional hierarchy, predictable norms, and well-known rules inevitably lead to disorientation and heightened anxiety.

well yes.. for people in the science of people. ie: people who fragile… not antifragile.

they may even lead to anomie, which is the breakdown of social bonds between an individual an the community. the french sociologist émile durkheim described anomie as “a rule that is a lack of rule.”

on anomie – this has already happened to ginormous degree… because power is man made and toxic. 2 needs ness. deep enough for all of us.

on lack – because of too much ness

the bombardment of technology; the explosion of digital communication and online opinion, distraction, and noise; the decline of automatic acceptance of traditional authorities (president, judge, boss, elder, parent, priest, police officer, teacher) feed a disequilibrium with broad and poorly understood consequences.

holy cow.

waking up to pluralistic ignorance.

ch 11 p. 233

the first and perhaps most important implication of this book is the urgent need to change the way we think and talk about power

any road map for the future will fall short if it lacks a better understanding of the way sin which power is changing and their consequences..

? – what if we know enough now to not elicit a road map for the future..?

and then his answers are to:

1\ get off elevator – quit citing rank et al

2\ make life harder for the terrible simplifiers.. (not sure of all his examples here –

snake-oil peddlers are nothing new… what is new is an environment where it has become far easier for newcomers – including those with toxic ideas – to acquire power.


p. 236 – for this to happen (contain negative aspects of decay of power), we need something that is very difficult: an increased disposition in democratic societies to give more power to those who govern us. and that is impossible unless we trust them more. which is of course even more difficult. but also indispensable.

now – first read – driving me nuts. then reading from perspective of those who govern us being us.. and so – we need to trust us more.. meaning all of us. yeah.  i’m good with that.  (but doubt that’s what he means.)

3\ bring trust back

p. 238 – international collective action has fallen far short of what was offered and, more importantly, needed.

on needed – because we haven’t yet gotten to a deep enough needed ness. one that affects all of us. today.

ref back to ch 4 – in u.s. anyone under age of 40 has lived entire life .. w citizens who do not trust own govt..

so his trust is meant to be in politicians.. specifically. govt leaders.

p. 239 – this needs to change. we need to restore trust in govt an in our political leaders.

or make it all irrelevant.. via systemic change.

4\ strengthen political parties

the public tarnishing was also fueled by political parties that could no longer distinguish themselves ideologically from their opponents and relied on corruption accusations and scandals to define political rivals in the minds of voters.

p. 241 – on political parties needing to reach new member, become more agile, advance their agendas, and hopefully become better at fighting the terrible simplifiers that seek power inside and outside the party. ngos gain the trust of their supporters by making their members feel they are having a direct impact, that their efforts are indispensable, that their leaders are accountable, transparent, and not beholden to dark or unknown interest. political parties need to elicit these same feelings from larger segments of society and to be capable of enlisting members beyond their narrow, traditional base of stalwart activist.  only then will they be able to recover the kind of power they need to govern us well.

oh my. so…. same song second verse. english accent. little bit worse.

5\ increase political participation

he lists surprising activist trends: obama election getting young people to vote; occupy movement; arab spring

in contrast to the occupy movements, which so far have been unable to convert political energy into political power in the arab spring the political awakening did lead to important power shifts.

perhaps because we’re beyond shifting power..

revolutions are too costly, their outcome is too uncertain, and progress is not their guaranteed result.

exactly the point. what we need. on our trek toward alive/ness .. antifragility. revolution: instigating utopia everyday. rev of everyday life. so wish you would have had more of this in your words.

therefore, the challenge is to avoid costly and risky revolutions while creating and channeling the political energy latent in all societies to effect desirable changes. the best way to do that is through more competitive political parties.

at least i made it to the end of the book. gave it a good go. no?

sadness at this. but at least it helps to explain why we haven’t gotten there yet.

the center of the problem

Rethinking political parties, modernizing their recruiting methods, and retooling their organization and operations can boost their allure and make them more worthy of the trust of the societies they wish to govern..

replica of Ed reform. sad our vision of change often comes to this. we can do better.

i need you to wake up

p. 244 – quote from henry steele commager… 18th cent.. we inveted practically every major political institution .. we have invented none since…  moises: after ww2, we did experience another surge… another, even more sweeping wave of innovations is building…. it will not be top-down, orderly, or quick, the product of summits or meetings, but messy, sprawling, and in fits and starts. yet is ti inevitable. driven by the transformation in the acquisition, use, and retention of power, humanity must, and will, find new ways of governing itself.

on power – not so sure… but indeed – on the self-organizing ness

i guess that’s what i found most frustrat\ing.. the end of power.. (sounded freeing).. seems to be an attempt to shift power (even though/if claims not)

appendix – prepared by mario chacón, phd, yale uni – and applies particularly to ch 5:

in this classification, a “democracy” is a regime in which the govt is selected through contested elections. thus, is this classification free and fair contestation is the fundamental facet in any democratic regime.

as show in figure a.1, the percentage of democracies across the world has increased significantly in the last four decades.

on increased – oh my. no owner the world is so loaded. the defn of the word. and then the defn (and actualization) of the worlds in that defn. ie: contestation… spinach or rock ness et al


so many confirmed’s here. …?

… may nondemocratic regimes intro’d and allowed electoral competition to elect the legislature and high executive position. even is most of the elections in regimes considered fully democratic are not completely fair, minor liberalization may signal important changes in the distribution of power..

polity score – ranging from -20, for a ful autocracy, to 20, the score of a full democracy

fully consistent


the positive trends in the polity score over the last four decades, which indicate that countries are becoming more democratic over time, are global.


all these trends are more pronounced during the post-1990 period than during the pre-1990 period.

berlin wall.. internet…

for many political theorists, the level and the type of political competition are the fundamental feature of an democratic regime..

on competition – so at our democratic height… is also when.. via Moises earlier.. slander ness is used to help define that competition. nice. not nice.

…the pri allowed for meaningful congressional elections and reserved a certain number of seats for opposition parties in the lower chamber

on allowed – whoa. on allowing for meaningfully ness. sounds familiar.

on opposition – how is it .. that meaningfulness has to be allowed.. and what to be in opposition of is assumed… numbered even..

rev of everyday life is begging us to wake up..


on trends – how helpful… if not capturing free hearts et al. (irony not lost. the point actually.)


find/follow Moisés:

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wikipedia small

Moisés Naím (born July 5, 1952) is a Distinguished Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, an internationally syndicated columnist whose writings are published by leading papers worldwide, and the author of more than 10 books. In 2013, the British magazine Prospect listed Naim as one of the world’s leading thinkers. In 2014, Dr. Naím was ranked among the top 100 influential global thought leaders by GDI Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute for work in his latest book, The End of Power.

Naim served as the editor in chief of Foreign Policy magazine for 14 years (1996-2010). Since 2011, he has directed and hosted Efecto Naim, a weekly television program on international affairs that airs throughout the Americas onNTN24. In 2010, he received the Ortega y Gasset Prize for his important contribution to journalism in the Spanish language.

He is the former Minister of Trade and Industry for Venezuela and Executive Director of the World Bank.