This week I had the good fortune to talk with Rok Kranjc and Michel Bauwens about my research on degrowth and hierarchy. The full discussion will be available in a month or so at the Seoul Platform for Initiating Discourses on an Equitable and Resilient Society (which supported this research).
For now, here is my presentation. I discuss ideas from the paper Living the Good Life in a Non-Growth World: Investigating the Role of Hierarchy.
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Hey Blair! I think this line of research is very important however the current model is unrealistic because it treats hierarchical size, span of control, and despotism as independent variables.
1. Smaller, flatter organizations are more amenable to democratic transformation and therefore reducing hierarchical scale could indirectly reduce inequality by facilitating a reduction in despotism.
2. In more democratic societies there is considerably less incentive for elites to increase hierarchical size or span of control and therefore reducing despotism could indirectly reduce inequality by facilitating economic localization and political decentralization.
An interesting “natural experiment” that might let you tease out these relationships explicitly under conditions of economic contraction would be to compare how Cuba and Eastern European countries responded to the collapse of the USSR.
EDIT: In more democratic societies there is considerably less incentive *AND OPPORTUNITY* for elites to increase hierarchical size or span of control
Yes, treating these variables in isolation is unrealistic. But the point of doing so was to illustrate what each variable does in the model of hierarchy. As you say, in the real world, they’re all entangled with each other. That’s why models are simple and the real world is complex.