2 min read

Power Games

Power games are when people use power as leverage to influence people.  Contrast to rationality or kindness.  People who play power games act solely for their own interests.

You can't engage with people playing power games directly.  The saying by George Bernard Shaw comes to mind, “Don’t wrestle with pigs.  You both get dirty and the pig likes it."

The problem is that nature abhors a vacuum.  And people who play power games rush to fill power vacuums.  How can you have a society where power game players are negated?

Possible solutions:
1. Give them a disconnected controller to play - When a younger brother wants to play video games but would be a distraction, they're often given a disconnected controller to pacify them.  Is it possible to misdirect power players?
2. Can opposing power players cancel out?
3. Is there a version of the prisoner's dilemma that would help solve this problem?
4. Tit-for-tat is supposed to be a good solution for interacting with unknown collaborators.  Would it work against power games?
5. Demand the rationale for every decision
6. Don't tolerate hypocrisy
7. Have stances be written
8. Recognize when people's intent is "ends justify means"
9. Ignore people who say you "can't waste a crisis"

In the end, why give people with bad characteristics power?  Not just people who play power games, but neurotics, people with low time preference, basically, people who can't run their lives or have a disregard for consequences.  Why would anyone believe that they should be in power?
If you want to be king that should disqualify you.

When the King was dedicated, he knew his moira. In three years, or seven, or nine, or whenever the custom was, his term would end and the god would call him. And he went consenting, else he was no king, and power would not fall on him to lead the people. When they came to choose among the Royal Kin, this was his sign, that he chose short life with glory, and to walk with the god, rather than live long, unknown like the stall-fed ox. - The King Must Die

In contrast, we know the characteristics of people who are good at decision making.  Growth oriented and abundance mindsets.   Those who take responsibility and embrace consequences.  People who don't have a victim mindset. People with the opposite characteristics are people we should avoid in life, why let them lead?