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Philosophy

Ethics and Power

Power is really an inverse function of ethics. What is considered permissible or (indeed) valuable under any moving ethical frame of reference is implicitly – some would argue necessarily – representative of the power structures, systems and integrated social, political and ideological modalities of a time and place.

Notice also that what is considered good or bad within any particular organisational system is also directly correlated with what enables and validates the continuity of that system. Property rights, for instance and as against theft or inequitable and illegal removal, are axiomatic to a concept of self-determination which is itself derivative of a notion of (a) self being owned, possessed and clearly-delineated. Acts of good (or evil) are not asserted as true or false embodiments of ethical principles except where they replicate and recursively reinforce an underlying utility and value of and as the context in which they occur.

This last point regarding context is also why the manifest ethical frameworks and value systems of any historical or ideological moment can prove themselves to be so inadequate and inaccurate. The facts of what might actually and authentically benefit the greater number of people in the most effective and diverse ways are rarely aligned to the functional self-propagation of the power systems that are in place.

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