Matrix of power

freedom vs. power

Freedom is having power and control over your own choices in life. The word 'power' usually refers to the ability to influence or control other people's choices in life, thereby limiting their freedom. Therefore freedom and power appear to have conflicting interests.

Parental power

Although freedom and power obviously have conflicting interests, power can be used in a positive way to protect and promote freedom. Parents, for example, can use their parental power to limit, influence and control their children's choices for educational purposes, or to protect them from real dangers. They can allow their kids more freedom after they teach them to deal with these dangers. Obviously, having this kind of power over their kids, parents must learn to use it wisely. Restricting their childrens' freedoms too much will limit their kids to learn from new experiences. But allowing their kids too many freedoms before teaching them to deal with real dangers, would be asking for trouble. Parents thus face the difficult task of balancing their children's freedoms with deliberate limitations to their freedoms.

Organisations with power

Every person and organisation with the power to limit, influence or control other people's choices in life, has the responsibility to use this power wisely. But unlike parents, whose priorities are supposed to reflect the child's interests, all these people in power have their own private interests and motivations to act, which seldomly reflect the public's interest of general prosperity and genuine freedom. To those in power, the desire to stay in power, and even gain more power and wealth, often appears stronger than the desire to serve the community. This does not only apply to powerful corporations, with their strategies of making large profits at the expense of consumers and workers. It applies to virtually all other powerful organisations, like to our governments and churches, banks, schools, newsmedia and charities. Monitoring their activities to understand how their actions reflect private incentives of gaining status, wealth and power, is pivotal to guarding our freedom.


Government power

Government power

Governments like to take on the parenting role teaching us to deal with our responsibilities. If we don't deal with our responsibilities correctly, government has the power to limit our freedom by fining us, leaving us with less money and thus fewer or inferior choices to make. Government even has the power to use physical force on us, and put us in prison, thereby limiting our freedom almost completely.

Corporate power

Capitalist power

Commercial corporations make little attempt to hide their motivations to make giant profits at the expense of workers and consumers. The more powerful they get, the more profit they can make. And the more profit they make, the less money is left for their workers and consumers to enjoy their lives. Although many corporations now appear to start acting more responsibly, most of their act is just a facade.