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Mar 16 2016

Power is a Magnet to Bad Ethics

We know that collective power corrupts. Collective power is the power of a group acting together and it usually exceeds the capability of any individual acting by themselves. This makes it seductive to those with weak or bad ethics because it gives them an opportunity to sway the direction of the group in their benefit.

Strong leaders seem attractive to groups. But strength in leaders is often evaluated in terms of charisma, or speaking skills, instead of ethics, or the ability to provide effective leadership toward solutions that the group desires. Many groups are prone to elevate individuals who project strength to leadership positions and give them more control over the direction of the group than is wise. Groups that are easily swayed in this manner become targets to those looking to seize power and use it for their own benefit.

Large groups can accomplish more than small groups, giving them more collective power. This makes large groups more attractive to those looking for a group to corrupt. It also means large groups tend to be more corrupted and controlled than smaller groups.

We all want to be part of a large and powerful group. By association, this makes us feel better about ourselves. In some circumstances, a large group is desirable or even necessary. National defense is an example. But in a general sense, unless the need for size can be clearly established, smaller, more local groups usually offer better ethics and less corruptibility.