Which of the four kinds of power does this apply to? Any/all?

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I assume you mean the Roman definitions at https://www.benlandautaylor.com/p/the-vocabulary-of-power? This applies straightforwardly to potestas, auctoritas, and dignitas, and applies complicatedly to imperium.

Unlike the other types of power, imperium is adversarial *by definition*. When there are two parallel holders of imperium, well, that's not imperium at all, that's a civil war. If you set up an independent source of imperium—a militia or mafia or whatever—within an existing imperium, then the current holder of imperium will want to suppress you or incorporate you into their hierarchy ASAP, and if they don't then they won't hold imperium for very long. The strength of the imperium can vary, e.g. Rome's imperium was much more complete in the first century AD than in the 4th and 5th centuries when they had to rely on foederati, so the imperium's power is not conserved in a strict sense, but the adversarial nature means there are fewer options for trying to change it.

However, if there is no holder of imperium, then all that goes away. At that point, it amounts to establishing a local pocket of law and order. (Which is why we often see manorialism established after a previous imperium disintegrates, as I touched on at https://www.benlandautaylor.com/p/the-four-instruments-of-expansion.) Setting up a new source of imperium isn't inherently competitive with the preexisting imperium, because there isn't one.

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The word that was on everybody’s minds for some time, *equality*, is . . . unnatural. It is anti-power and anti-agency, and by consequence, pro-decay and pro-death.

Network effects, power laws, compound interest . . . Power disparity is the only stable configuration, without it, there is conflict and power struggle.

The objective of a well designed system of governance, then, is maximally efficient transfer of power. This makes way for great men to realize their greatness, and it means that when a 1 in a trillion or 1 in a quadrillion person does come along, society receives maximum benefit from that person’s presence and life, by getting out of their way.

A small fraction of resistance and conflict reduced would produce an order of magnitude increase in agency, and each additional fraction would produce greater results than the last, the last few drops squeezed hold virtually all the nectar.

What do you think?

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