Governments are hierarchical control structures just like the hierarchical structures in businesses except that they involve the use of force to cause obedience to the dictates of the hierarchy inevitably ending in the termination of the life of the one refusing obedience … whereas failure to obey the dictates of the business control structure results only in termination of employment.
Hierarchies are needed wherever large scale, integrated activities are to be performed. One man cannot cope with the actions of one thousand men. This is related to a quantitative limit on how many things an individual mind can hold in lucid attention simultaneously. This number is said to be “seven”. And this is enough to create sentences and mathematical calculations.
As a teenager I recall reading a sentence in one of Immanuel Kant’s antinomies that was sixty nine words long. I spent forty five minutes trying, in vain, to locate the subject, verb and object. Finally, I gave up the search with the general opprobrium, “If a man cannot express himself clearly, he does not know what he is talking about”.
Thus, the total managers generally needed to perform a large scale task can be figured as powers of seven. If a crew of 137,257 men is needed to get the job done, you can expect the management distribution to look something like this …
- 1 (boss hog)
- + 7 (generals)
- + 49 (colonels)
- + 343 (lieutenants)
- + 2401 (sergeants)
- + 16,807 (corporals)
- + 117,649 (privates)
for a ratio of 19,608 chiefs to 117,640 indians … or
Each chief controls seven indians but the total chiefs to indians ratio is 1 to 6.
This is a ballpark estimate that depends on the difficulty of the task and the experience and enthusiasm of both the chiefs and indians. It may vary considerably. So, I will use a management fraction of 1 to 10 instead of 1 to 7 to facilitate easier calculations farther on.
Is Government Actually Necessary?
It is roundly acclaimed by anarcho-capitalists that government is not necessary in a rational society. And further, that government is inherently evil … so much so, that it must be eliminated altogether. The ‘proof’ of evil is the litany of perpetual failure throughout the course of history as well as the general mechanisms of failure.
I concur that in the long run, government may not be necessary. I do not accept that it is proven to be evil by its history. It may be that the perfection of government is similar to a circus performer balancing on a wood plank set on a six inch diameter cylinder. When learning, the initiate fails completely on each try until the one attempt wherein success is achieved. Thereafter, the trick is performed with increasing facility until it is second nature and new tricks can be added … like juggling several balls … simultaneous with the plank-cylinder balancing act. Thus, government may work properly if and only if we have the knack of it.
A government is working properly (balancing) when it performs all required functions without ever exercising disciplinary action on its chiefs or indians and these ‘members’ do not fear that it will ever exercise force upon them.
Temporal and Spatial Limitations of Government
It is difficult to imagine seriously the concept of “World War MCLXXVIII – the war to end all wars”. What we call human history cannot possibly span more than perhaps 20,000 years in total if we define it as the ‘chronicle of changes made in civilization’.
Drastic political and philosophical changes on the earth must cease altogether at some point. Thus, the world as it will be one million years from now will not be drastically different than the earth as it will be one billion years from now. There will be nothing to learn of vast significance. There is a natural winding down, over millenia, of possible major conceptual tribulations.
This is true in all disciplines. In mathematics for instance, there will never be anything discovered in the future as significant as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. That ship has sailed. What remains is to mop up the infinity of progressively, less important areas of inquiry.
So “government” is a finite problem to be solved reasonably soon (I intend to solve it now, in print, and permanently).
There is also a spatial element not really much explored.
The surface of the earth is 197 million square miles. Its land area is 57 million square miles. Of this, 25 million square miles is considered ‘habitable’. There are 6 billion people on earth. Dividing the habitable area by the number of people we get .0095 square miles per person which is … 265,000 square feet. This is a square 515 feet on a side. That’s about 6 acres of land.
As the acreage per person diminishes, the friction between individuals increases and the need for management increases.
Government is forced into existence by social friction.
If one man desires to use reason to solve frictional issues with his neighbors … and another man chooses to deal with those same issues by force of arms … the first man is obligated to enter into the venue of force. Force always drives the issue of problem solving. Reason can never drive problem solving unless all participants are in full agreement to eschew force.
The cause of this is clear. A man, ‘assaulted’ by reason, can refuse to engage without immediate consequence … but, a man physically assaulted has no recourse but to presently respond in kind. Reason solves problems with some degree of difficulty. Force simply eliminates them. Thus, Stalin’s motto: “No man, no problem”.
Our “problems” began when man settled down to farmer instead of hunter-gatherer and have not subsided. Reason has taken a back seat to force for about 6000 years. The overarching problem of man is then …
“How do we institute a government of reason instead of force?”.
I render my solution … now and forever … on the next page.