Social Power and Money

Power is the capacity to achieve results. Money power is one form of social power, the capacity to accomplish results in and by society. Money power can be converted into the power to produce, the power to consume, political power to influence the actions of government, power of publicity via the media, the power of transport for physical movement, the power of communication for transmission of information, the power to entertain and enjoy. So too, these other forms of social power can be readily converted into money power, as so many entertainers, athletes and politicians have discovered.

But describing these forms of social power does not really explain what they are fundamentally and how they are generated. All forms of social power have a common basis in social existence. Social existence represents a huge reservoir of energy, either in motion or capable of movement. When that social energy is focused by human intention to acquire a direction, it becomes social force. When social force is organized, it becomes social power. Thus, public discontent with an oppressive government converted the social energy of Egypt into a social force in early 2011 and the force was shaped and organized by various social and religious groups supported by the media until it became an effective power to topple an authoritarian government. Similarly, the productive energies of early European pioneers to America were shaped by their aspirations for freedom and higher accomplishment into a potent force and organized through individual production on vast tracks of vacant land and foreign trade into abundant money power and living standards ten times higher than those enjoyed by their counterparts back in Europe.

The organization of social force into power, the key step in this process, has two dimensions, one social, the other psychological. Socially, the energy of society is organized by the formation of established customary repetitive patterns of functioning such as regular work schedules, production cycles, periodic country fairs, festival, and elections; systems for efficient movement and coordination such as transportation and communication systems; specialized institutions performing functions such as those related to industrial production, minting, banking, governance, education and health care; laws and other judicial functions which function as an organization of common rules and expectations backed by the capacity for enforcement.

These external social structures are made possible and supported by a subtle psychological infrastructure of ideas, beliefs, attitudes and values among members of the society. Money acquires power only because members of society all recognize the same specific objects or notations as symbols of value. Trade is possible only because minimum levels of trust and reliability are shared by buyers and sellers. Law acquires power only because members of the collective recognize and accept the necessity of complying with established rules in the absence of physical compulsion. Efficient production is only possible in societies where the values of self-discipline, a sense of quality, accuracy, punctuality and work responsibility are internalized by members of the workforce.

Both the external and psychological social structures have their counterpart in each individual member of society. The external structures are represented in the individual as skills, the personalized capacities necessary for supporting and utilizing collective social systems. The psychological structures are represented by the manners, behavioral patterns, character traits, personality and individuality of each person.  Thus, the successful operation of a national credit system depends on the institutional mechanisms of banks, merchants and electronic communications, but also on the individual skills of borrowers to manage credit efficiently and the personal sense of responsibility to discharge obligations to retain their creditworthiness.

Both the individual and the collective need to acquire considerable knowledge in order to establish and utilize these external and internal social structures. That knowledge is acquired and accumulated very gradually through countless experiences until it matures and distills into an essential endowment of the individual and the collective. That essence is the true foundation of social power in the society and in the individual.

The potential energy of society is infinite, as illustrated by the unparalleled mobilization of capabilities in times of war. The potential energy of the individual too is unlimited, as evidenced in rare moments of maximum necessity or motivation such as Churchill’s indomitable leadership during the Battle of Britain. The potential for movement, direction and productive organization of that social energy is also incalculable and infinite, as the vast complexity of the modern world so vividly illustrates. Its conversion from potential into usable power depends on the extent to which it is integrated. Thus, Europe prospered and world trade flourished when the productive capacities of many producer nations integrated themselves with the raw material sources and consumption needs of others. Today that power of integration is most graphically illustrated by the functioning of the internet, where every field and function is connected and integrated with every other.

Integration is also the key to the power of the individual. In the measure the individual perceives, aligns and identifies his values, ideas, beliefs, attitudes, skills and actions with those of the wider society with which he relates, the greater is his capacity to become a channel to mobilize and direct the social power of the collective personally. Because she identified with the aspirations of her fellow black Americans, when Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama, thousands of other black Americans followed her example, thereby launching the American Civil Rights Movement. Thus, hundreds of millions of Indians rose as a single person to answer the call of Mahatma Gandhi when he launched his civil disobedience movement. One person, a single individual, so integrated with the aspirations of humanity can become a channel to mobilize and deliver the infinite social power of money for the prosperity of all.

This infinite potential of social energy forms the basis for what is commonly called but poorly understood as Social Capital. Social capital represents the vast potential energy of society that can be directed, organized and expressed for social accomplishment. It consists of a formed and developed human capital and an unevolved, raw energy which has not yet acquired the internal and external structures necessary for effective mobilization and control. Social evolution is the progressive emergence and organization of this infinite reservoir of raw energy into higher and higher levels and forms of social and psychological structures.

Definitions and Concepts related to Social Power

  1. Society – an infinite reservoir of social Energy generated by aspiration.
  2. Phases of Energy Conversion Process – the phases of the process of transforming raw energy into Force, Power and Results through direction organization, skills, attitudes and actions.
  3. Differentiation of Segments – the specialization of social activities, functions and organizations and the interaction between segments which vastly multiplies the energy, efficiency, development and results of that energy. Multiplicity is energy multiplied.
  4. Subunits of Social Organization – the process of coordinating acts, activities, systems to form organizations, institutions and culture.
  5. Planes of Consciousness – physical, vital, mental and spiritual planes of existence on which all these processes occur.
  6. Stages of Personality – development and internalization of social capacities in the individual through successive stages of manners, behavior, character, personality and individuality.
  7. Movement – energy for change occurs for maintaining the status quo (survival), expansion (growth), higher organization (development) or introduction of original new movements (evolution) at the physical, vital, mental and spiritual levels.
  8. Powers – Language, money technology, education and every other aspect of society becomes a power for accomplishment with a capacity for conversion into other powers and self-multiplication. Wealth is a ballast of power to social movement in stability.
  9. Processes – the character of the movements of energy as expansion, contraction, construction, destruction, reception, enjoyment, etc.
  10. Strategy – for conversion of energy into each phase of the process leading to results.
  11. Integration – organization and interrelationship between different subunits, segments, levels, phases, powers, stages and planes.

Individuality – the emergence of truths and capacities of the infinite in the determinations of the finite. Each finite individual has the potential to acquire the capacity to wield infinite Social Power.  For that one must become Self-Aware