Transfer of Power

Well, readers, last week was just crazy, with 12 hour days for work, and homework and class after hours! I’m back to a slightly less hectic schedule this week!

My husband and I had a discussion recently about the transfer of power, inspired by his reading of “The History of Western Philosophy” by Bertrand Russell. He posed the question, “If a Senator dies while in office, who should get to replace the Senator?” I responded that we’ve got a process for that, but ultimately, it’s whoever the public elects. Then he asked, “If a man dies, who should get his estate?” I responded, his wife and children, or whoever he wills it to. We started talking about how monarchies used to transfer political power through blood, but now, political power is transferred through votes. However, we still transfer economic power through blood.

However, in today’s society, the golden rule is more true than ever: He who holds the gold makes the rules. Wealthy people wield significant power over the political arena and everyday lives of common people. Take a look at the housing crisis and the economic recession, and you’ll see that the government can’t change fortunes as effectively as the wealthy. Rich people contribute to PACs, lobbyists, and individual campaigns, their stock holdings can make or break a corporation, and their disposable income can fund entire cities! Why, then, do we still allow this type of power to be transferred through blood?

I posited that a wife and children had to make sacrifices for the man to become so rich, and that there are a lot more checks and balances in place to ensure that the heirs don’t hurt others with their wealth. My husband commented that the owner of a nuclear power plant shouldn’t just automatically pass that ownership down to a child. What if the child was evil or incompetent? Wouldn’t that be as bad as a king leaving the kingdom to his inept eldest son? To me, there’s a board of directors, a managerial team, and shareholders (or, in the case of nuclear power, government regulations) to ensure that the heir can’t inflict harm via their inheritance of such a company.

We talked about some pros and cons of the transfer of economic power through blood, and I’ve presented a few of the points we discussed. In short, will economic transfer of power eventually go the way of political power?

One thought on “Transfer of Power

  1. I never really thought about the comparison between the transfer of political and economic power. It does make me wonder if there won’t be some paradigm shift at some point in the future, in the same way that we’ve seen political power transfer change. Or at least that there isn’t always one right way to do something. Very interesting food for thought!


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