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The system isn't the saviour

Capitalists and socialists often frame their arguments as if just changing to their systems is enough to make society better, but is that a valid assumption?

We are still in the middle of a long experiment in how to govern ourselves fairly, with much discussion about which political and economic systems work the best for that. But largely missing from such discussions is how can those systems actually stop nefarious wealthy people from sabotaging them. The secondary assumption is that the processes and laws of a system will magically mitigate against such hijacking.

The whole problem with the assumptions is that despite the best intentions and attention to design of constitutions, laws and regulations, they each get undermined during their formulation and implementation by the same type of people that they are designed to lock out. Without identifying and preventing those people being able to thwart attempts at fairness, any system built will just be a hollow shell that pretends to be fair, yet will be rotten to the core. This modern period is showing just how fragile our democracies are with full scale assaults on democratic institutions.

The types of personalities that undermine any attempts at fairness have existed since the dawn of civilisation. They were the warlords, rulers, heads of early companies, robber-baron miners and industrialists, and now the tech billionaires. They used their fortunes to just provide enough incentive for people to be exploited, promising opportunity while withholding the easy means of achieving it. These are callous narcissists with stunted empathy and a willingness to manipulate people and systems to cement their positions in the top echelons of societies and government.

This is shown in how they have been able to manipulate every political or economic system to ensure they gain and maintain wealth and power, indicating that it is not so much the systems that define how well societies work, but the actions of those few who are willing to thoroughly pervert them for their own ends. They are the root cause of the problems, not the systems, though some systems facilitate their wanted outcomes better.

The current predominance of the politico-economic system called neoliberalism is the outcome of their efforts over the last century to control the thinking and operation of most countries on the earth, being rapidly accelerated by the Reagan and Thatcher governments in the US and the UK in the 1980s as they pared back the power of governments and unions to stop their takeover of the reins of power and makeover countries as it they owned them.

They are the dark triad personalities that have always sought dominance at the expense of everyone else. Unless they are prevented from accessing the levers of power, any popular sentiment for one system or another will be hijacked and hollowed out. They are the true face of evil as getting their own way always involves mass suffering and hardship. The destructive psychological traits of these people are well documented, but are often portrayed as being found in low-level individuals while those with power are seen as society's saviours despite ample proof of them being anything but.

The traits for these people have existed since before their adulthood and manifest in almost all their decisions. There will be hundreds, if not thousands, of actions by which they can be identified, so it shouldn't be too difficult, though tedious, to document their pathology enough to show why such individuals should not be allowed to have the power that sitting at the head of corporations and governments allows. It will take a lot of effort to undo the propaganda that they put out about themselves so that people cease to be blinded to their nefariousness.

Their records of damaging actions need to be made public if we are to get enough public support for how to define how to prevent them getting access to positions of power. Unfortunately, they have millennia of practice at setting up societies as their playthings, while portraying themselves as the rightful rulers so much that people en masse assume that such attitudes are valid, even if the results have the obvious hallmarks of cults. They fund thinktanks and influencers to push their propaganda onto all level of societies.

Beyond publishing their pathologies is the formulating of clear criteria by which they can be recognised early in their lives and when attempting to access positions of power. Much legislation governing corporations already attempts to weed out those who misuse their positions, but it needs to have better criteria to detect and document the nefarious traits early in their careers so that they do not advance. These people are to societies as paedophiles are to children in how they pretend to be benefactors but instead manipulate to undermine peoples' sense of worthiness and agency.

To prepare ourselves to detect these people or see how our leaders and corporate heads are manifesting such pathologies, we can learn about dark triad personalities and how their constituent pathologies of psychopathy/sociopathy, narcissism and Machiavellianism operate and manifest individually and collectively, as while one trait may dominate, most people working at a higher level are well practiced in all three. With that understanding, we can go a long way to avoiding their influence and propaganda, and make it easier to undermine their influence on societies as a whole.

As we reduce their influence, we can collectively have better discussions about what balance of individual and government agency will support the most individual freedom and endeavour without exploitation in each nation and between them. We can then pick and choose what aspects of different political and economic systems would serve us best, or make up new ones. That should give the planet a chance to recover from the last centuries of damage through exploitation practiced by those who didn't care about it or humanity.

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