Recently I've been thinking about the relationship between money and power. "Money is power" is the proverbial saying. (So are "time" and "knowledge", but that is not what I am concerned with here.)
Those who control vast amounts of money are either given power, or they assume that power, presumably because their "worth" is great, since multitudes people can literally starve or prosper based on their decisions.
When we speak about "empowering" people, we usually speak in financial terms. The most notable examples are "empowerment zones," communities that encourage small business ownership and entrepreneurship through tax breaks, loans, and grants.
And our advanced financial and economic systems are designed to create new wealth in proportion to service sector, manufacturing, retail, technology, and energy growth. They are purposefully designed to provide opportunities for hard workers to obtain wealth by creating it, not by taking it from the poor. And those who are wealthy are encouraged to give their excess wealth away in the form of charity. We even have entire economic systems based around the redistribution of monetary wealth.
But I find it very interesting that power within social structures, particularly political power, is viewed almost primitively. Instead of an unlimited commodity that can be created and shared, political power is considered to be a scarce commodity. It is pursued at great cost. It is hoarded. Wars are fought for the right of political power. There is as much -- perhaps more -- deceit and evil present in the acquisition and use of political power as there is in the acquisition of money.
The acquisition of political power is treated as a zero-sum game; that is, whenever the game is played and the winners receive their share of the bankroll, there is nothing left over, and no way to make the bankroll larger during the next game. A man with great political power has that power only because someone else has little power. Sharing political power is considered to be suicide, because you can never trust the other side not to betray you and monopolize your goodwill.
I have often wondered if those in elitist circles, whose solutions to our current social ills always seem to involve transferring large amounts of money from one group of people to another, would ever dream of likewise sharing their political power with others, particularly those with whom they disagree? Is ideology so important to us that we will do anything to justify it and impose it upon others? Do we crave the perceived "above the law" lifestyles of those in power more than we crave love and justice, or even wealth?
Perhaps this is one of the primary areas of brokenness that permeates humanity and its institutions.