Zero Sum and Political Powers: Citizens, Can They Ever Win?
Zero Sum and Political Powers: Citizens, Can They Ever Win? Today as I scanned the world news, I saw a familiar picture which I have seen onnumerous occasions in news media. I saw in the CNN news article dated 19 th December2010, the bloody images of two dead men “reportedly killed by Ivorian police and armyforces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo” lying on one of the roads of Ivory Coast. Causalities of yetanother political power struggle. What does the death of these two men mean in a politicalpower struggle game? Does it mean that the citizens of Ivory Coast will win at the end of theday? Who will be the actual winners? Let us explore further.“Give Us a King to Judge Us” Our exploration to the above questions can begin with the story from the Bible in 1Samuel 8:3-22. In the days of Samuel, when Israel was under theocratic rule, the Israelitesdesired a king to rule over them. Now, Samuel was not in favor with their request. So hewarned them about the costs of rule by monarchy. He told them, how their sons anddaughters would become the king’s soldiers and servants. He warned them that the kingwould take their lands and divide it among his officers and servants. He spoke about howtheir resources earned by their sweat will be taken away by their king. He warned them thatthey themselves will eventually become the king’s servants. And the final warning he gavethem was that when they cry to God for help because of their king’s tyranny, God will notanswer them. Did all his warnings deter the Israelites from wanting a king? History showsthat the Israelites got kings who did exactly what Samuel warned that they would do. So, didthe Israelites in history win politically? No, they all ended up as servants of their kings. Theyall experience different degrees of tyranny. Just like the Bible days, the citizens of modern day states have their chosen kings in theforms of politicians who carry labels such as chancellors, presidents and prime ministers.These modern day kings, whether by elections or appointments, have equal political powersas the ancient monarchs who were labeled as kings. In some countries, the politicians arethe real powers while their monarchies are given the label and functional parameters of“constitutional monarchies.” But again the question we have to ask is that, in the modernpolitical systems ruled by chancellors, presidents and prime ministers, do the citizens everwin politically? Do they gain or have equal or more political powers than their elected orappointed politicians? I will let you as the readers to answer these questions after you havecompleted reading this article. You, yourself, will know the answers. To facilitate that, let’sexplore the term zero sum as it relates to political powers.Zero Sum and Political Powers In any game involving two or more players, every time one wins, it causes aninversely proportionate loss to others. This is what we mean by Zero Sum. And in politics,every time someone or group (political parties, politicians, government agencies, military,law enforcement agencies, or judiciary) gains any unit or proportion of political powers,there is an inversely proportionate loss of political powers to the citizens. This applies evenin democratic political environments. It doesn’t matter whether or not an opposition partyrules, the principle is still the same. This is political reality. There is no such thing as two or
all players winning a game. In political power games, a win-win situation is a just politicalrhetoric. As in competitive games, all cannot be winners, more so, in political power games.So, according to Zero Sum as applied to political powers, can the citizens ever win?Political Conflicts, Why Do They Occur? If in a game of two or more, all are winners, why is there a necessity to compete? Ifthere are competitions, it means that there are winners and losers. All political conflicts areovert reflections of the need to win political powers. So, whenever you see, as in theexample of the alleged reported killings of civilians by Ivorian police and army forces loyal toLaurent Gbagbo, it is a violent reflection of the need to win politically. So in the deaths ofthe two civilians whether they were or not the supporters of Alassane Ouattara, there is aninversely increase in political powers (of force) to the Ivorian police and army forces loyal toLaurent Gbagbo and an inversely proportionate loss in political powers to the citizens(civilians) of Ivory coast. There are no win-win situations here. If we go by this logic, as longas Laurent Gbagbo wants to win the political power struggle in Ivory Coast, he is not goingto listen to a so called “win-win” compromise, offer or even threats of sanctions againsthim. He will fight to win at all cost. And the losers in political powers will be AlassaneOuattara, his supporters (kingmakers and power brokers), and the citizens of Ivory Coast.But assuming that Alassane Ouattara wins with assistance of all his supporters, the averagecitizens of Ivory Coast are still going to experience an inversely proportionate loss of politicalpowers with every gain of political powers by Alassane Ouattara and his supporters. So whoare the real winners in political power games?What Are Your Answers To The Above Questions? Do citizens ever win politically? Do they gain or have equal or more political powersthan their elected or appointed politicians? Now, do you know the answers?Conclusions Remember, for every gain for any unit or proportion of political powers by elected or appointed politicians, there is an inversely proportionate loss of political powers to the citizens of a state.References: CNN News Article Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/africa/12/19/ivory.coast.qanda/index.html?hpt=C1 Author’s Blog Link: http://rajatwit.blogspot.com/