Social Hierarchy is probably embedded in economics
November 03, 2006The social and economic hierarchy we keep seeing everywhere is probably going to persist. We're going to keep seeing it because of this: rank is biological.
My wife and I keep referring to "chimp politics" at our workplaces; the similarities between the social hierarchies of chimpanzees and humans in a business environment are frightening. They also make sense.
Biggest problem with anarchism? Getting to consensus. It's a time-consuming, labor-intensive process. It's great; definitely something to strive for when you've got the resources for it - but that's not the case in the jungle, whether you're referring to the green one with chimps or the steel one with MBAs... well, chimps.
So we've got this rank structure pretty well hardwired (whether it's literally biological or effectively inbuilt due to massive subconscious societal methods is immaterial for this point. Trying to determine an experiment to determine which it is would be a WONDERFUL sociology/anthropology project) into us. Trying to remove that rank structure is quixotic at best, and actively harmful (by removing huge amounts of efficiency) at worst. But the rank structure constantly has injustice built into it.
So here's the third way: Start actively undermining the link between status and "deserves more". That link isn't necessarily required. So we've got our "hierarchy" (Bob's my boss, Joe's my employee) that maintains the same chain-of-command efficiency... but without so much of the status symbols and massive pay inequality that plague USian business.
This kind of effect is hinted at (though I don't think it's an explicit plan) with Semco, as outlined by Ricardo Semler in <a href="http://www.inc.com/articles/2004/03/7dayweekend.html">The Seven Day Weekend</A>.
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