Power...

When people establish cultures, the same principles apply. The social and technological elites must successfully organize and focus power if they are to fulfill their roles. In many cases, this requires creating distance, both physical and social, to avoid disruption of the social machinery that maintains balance, establishing a pace of change that avoids cultural destabilization.

John Galbraith analyzed social power with great clarity in his book "The Anatomy of Power." Galbraith delineates the sources and forms of power. The former are charisma, production and cooperation. The latter are coercion, compensation and organization.

Obviously, one of the lesson of history is that power is amoral: it can be channeled for good or ill. Mature societies codify the sources and mold the forms into structures that provide oversight to prevent abuse of personal rights, and abuse of privilege through misappropriation of value stored in the commonwealth. Galbraith treats these issues in depth.

The only meaningful enhancement of his work I can offer is to suggest that we consider a fourth source of power in more depth: consensus. Consensus might be considered an unspoken form of cooperation, but its procedures differ so greatly from those of negotiated cooperation that I believe it bears elaboration. That will be taken up in the discussion of society.