Politics and Power

Topics: Political philosophy, Game theory, State of nature Pages: 3 (423 words) Published: May 3, 2013
Politics and Power
The natural state of man is a war of all
against all (‘the state of nature’)
People who want the same things will be
They will use all means (including ‘force and
fraud’) to attain their ends
People are insecure, and live in a constant fear
of injury and death
There is no place for industry, because the fruit
of it is uncertain (Hence, no agriculture,
navigation, building, culture, science)
Life is short and unpleasant
Hobbes’ defense of his assumptions
The fact that people lock their doors at night (even in the 16th century!) provides support for Hobbes’ view that people are naturally inclined to use ‘force and fraud’ Desire for Power Leads to Social Order

Man is a rational egoist who fears death
His egoism competition and war with all
Others - He is engaged in a zero-sum game.
His fear of death and desire for ‘commodious
living’ demand for social order

Desire for Power Leads to Social Order
The only way to provide social order is for
everyone to acknowledge a perpetual sovereign
power (the state, or Leviathan) against which
each of them would be powerless
This represents a coercive solution to the
problem of social order. Due to rational
egoism, the only means of providing order is
by establishing a state that would punish
would-be miscreants.
Desire for Power Leads to Social Order
* Macro-level cause: war of all against all for power
* Situational mechanism: people want power for security
* Individual internal state: desire order
* Behavioral mechanism: rational egoists decide to give up sovereignty/power to the state * Individual action: People give up sovereignty to the state * Macro-level outcome/cause: state
* Individual internal state: Recognize that deviance is costly * Behavioral mechanism: Individuals want to avoid costs
* Individual action: Obedience
* Macro-level outcome: Social order
Hobbes: Draw the theory

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