A Theory of Power
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A THEORY OF POWERIn his penetrating analysis of the structure of power and the human condition, Jeff Vail unravels the functioning of our world and proposes a core concept of patterns of power?relationships. This historical critique of hierarchy sweeps from anthropology and psychology to economics and politics, ultimately presenting a model for a sustainable, human-compatible future. A Theory of Power is THE most innovative approach to anarchist theory in a generation, breaking free from the chains of past dogma and integrating the most current knowledge of the functioning of our world.Praise for A Theory of Power:"Very rich, stimulating and ambitious I salute your important work!"-John Zerzan, anarchist philosopher, author of Elements of Refusal, Future Primitive and Running on Emptiness"Fascinating"-Noam Chomsky, author of Hegemony or Survival, described by the New York Times as "arguably the most important intellectual alive."
structures as the aggregate demand remains carefully balanced with the supply capacity of each household, and institutionalized exchange does not occur. Similarly, Share-Out served as the predominant method of redistribution—equally distributing the product of cooperation among the participants. In the example of the cooperative hunt, while only one individual may have killed an animal, the meat was shared among the participants in the hunt, affecting redistribution throughout the tribe. Such
efficiency and information flow while keeping power concentrated in the hands of the many. The field of ecology provides further insight into the comparison of hierarchy versus rhizome. Greater diversity and complexity in an ecosystem increases its resiliency. The rigid stratification of hierarchy, while efficient from the standpoint of centralized control and coordination, has proved less capable of supporting dense, stable networks of organic life (of which humanity remains a part).
America, 1960’s ‘Back to the Land’ communes, individuals who operate exclusively in a cash economy, etc. Hakim Bey, self-described “guerilla ontologist”, has proposed a variety of “Autonomous Zone” concepts, from temporary festivals to permanent settlements, which explore the invisibility of some structures to the eyes of the state.17 The approach of invisibility may represent the most realistic solution to the problem of power, at least until the size of a rhizome network provides enough
movement to live in harmony with our genetic requirements—an archaic revival. A new vision, with individual freedom to pursue arts and spirituality, above the pettiness of bickering for power, may prove possible if we learn to control the powers that have dominated us throughout history. In the spirit of this vision, the message will ultimately fail if forced upon others. Only through personal example, by showing that a realistic and preferable alternative exists, will these concepts succeed on a
competition for scarce resources limit the number of individuals that can survive to reproduce. Over time, those individuals who demonstrate greater capacity for survival due to changes in their genes will replace those with less genetic fitness. As mental capacity increased with the evolution of higher order animals, new types of power-relationships evolved. Many animals do not live in isolation; they live in small groups or communities on which they depend for survival, or the opportunity to