marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

limits to power

Inspired by another essay that jordan179 indexed -- this one.

In which he observes of Powerhouses -- really, really, really powerful superhumans, a la Superman


All this assumes that the Powerhouse is an ethical being. If he is ruthless and amoral, of course, he simply takes over. There is nothing that you can do to stop him, unless you have other Powerhouses or really good gadgeteers.



Well, given the usual slew of superpowers that such beings have -- they don't usually include mind control.  Or massive multitasking.  It would be kinda tricky.  To steal an observation from Thomas Sowell:  in both Imperial Rome and the antebellum South, a slave-owner would suffer little if anything for killing a slave, and yet despite the extent of this power, slaves in both eras were sometimes paid to do work.

It was the delusion of Communism, too, that people could somehow be made to work.  Assuming that the Powerhouse had needs, there is the little matter of how he could prevent malingering, laziness, theft.   True, he could blast the slothful to dust, but that wouldn't get their jobs done.

Could be elided, fictionally.  In fact, in most fictional kingdoms, it is elided -- as the king is, so is the kingdom.  Like many conventions, it helps move the story along without distractions.

But it would be more realistic to have a character he describes as a Mentalist do it.  Or perhaps a Gadgeteer, who could make lots and lots of any given gadget to coerce people into doing as he wants.
Tags: politics, superpowers, world-building: social classes
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