038 Social structure and power

Systems of higher animals and man through their programs of information transfer and response to each other’s information exert controls and influences on each other’s works. These are adaptive and serve to produce group actions corresponding to group structures that develop. In psychological studies the principles of social action through power and force have long been recognized and described with factors and matrices of different combinations of interaction (see, for example, Ref. 4). Recognized are resistances to forces, opposing forces, and some of the same concepts which have their counterparts in the physical and biological systems. For historical reasons social science has been reluctant to recognize that the pathways and expressions of social power are the same kind of flows that occur in electric power lines and atom bombs. The measures of correlation, frequency, and probabilities have been used instead. The energy diagrams may encourage the use of a real energy unit (kcal) as a common denominator, uniting physical, biological, and social theorems.

In Figure 7-2(d) a human individual is shown with opinions entering and leaving and with actions resulting from the opinions prevailing in the information storage. A social structure of three such individuals (such as executives in a corporation; members of a family, etc.) is given in Figure 7-2(d) forming a power network like that discussed by French [7]. In this example, the energy flows include those of the human operating on food supplies plus larger power flows that depend on their actions. Included is one pathway of data from the real world (not opinion). Truth is the state of noncontradiction, in this case between the several inputs from real world and opinions. As shown, each opinion pathway is really a double pathway including work of transmitting the information and the tiny energy content of the information itself (which has high amplification value). The degree of influence of one unit on another through opinions includes the interior matching of truth plus the coefficients of the input multiplier actions that represent the previously established status of the other individual.

Diagram of a more complex tribal organization

In Figure 7-1 a small tribal organization works on agricultural plots where their group action requires coordination for maximum output of food. The food flow supports the individuals who choose a chief through a small work expenditure for organization of the group, the exchange of opinions that sets up acceptance of control in their memory systems, and finally the selection of the leader. The chief then does the work of guiding the group. As shown in the diagram, such a system has loopback reinforcement work for the individuals in relation to agricultural production, and the chief helps to prevent competition and to focus group effort — a necessary system expense. In the process of system self-design some extra work may have to be expended in fighting, for dominance is measured in proportion to the ability to control others through physical power in some primitive circumstances.

In better circumstances when individual physical power is no longer the measure of the ability to control others, voting procedures are relied on and provide a more accurate accounting of the number of component powers available. Control mechanisms must recognize the true distribution of power or be by-passed. They will be loop-rewarded only by drawing most of the power of the system into group actions. Successful stable political organization must represent actual power distribution or be eliminated as some of the excess power in alternative patterns flows into the work of reorganization.