Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Leaders and checks & balances

The Articles of Association of a company define and restrict the legal power of its director(s). In my view, the main reason is the separation (of power) between ownership and management. As a result of that separation of power, the appointed director(s) is (are) the natural person(s) who can legally represent the company (eg, buying, selling). Still, the assets belong to the owner(s).

A country’s Constitution is similar to the Articles of Association of a company because it defines and restricts the executive power of elected leaders. A country’s voters are similar to the owner(s) of a company. At the Annual General Meeting (AGM), the owners formally decide and/or approve on the company’s actions. Essentially, voters do the same during General Elections.

In a family, such matters are less obvious because power is mostly informal. Children accept the seniority of their parents until children no longer do. Latter moment may happen early, never or somewhere in between. Using Fear and/or Love are common parental tools in raising children. As always, the use of Fear is restricted in time and in space – unlike Love.

There is another similarity in the above situations: the scope of checks and balances. Some checks and balances will be too severe, which will hinder executive actions by company management or a President, and children’s development into adulthood. Some checks and balances will be absent or inadequate, which will hurt the interests of ownership, voters or families.

Children who lack parental checks and balances while growing up, may become obnoxious teenagers. Similarly, children who suffered overextensive parental checks and balances may “free” themselves at a later age. The scope for parental checks & balances is, however, always difficult for first-time parents. Parenting does not (yet) require education or a licence. Someday, this may change, for whatever reason (eg, genetic disorders, overpopulation).

Similarly, some leaders feel that their Constitution provides overextensive checks and balances. They want to “free” themselves by changing the nature of the (once ceremonial) presidency (eg, Turkey), or removing provisions for maximum terms (eg, Russia). Other leaders show a disregard for their Constitution (eg, USA).

Most mature adults accept checks and balances because of self-interest (eg, level playing fieldtrias politica). Similarly, Constitutions often show structures to limit the (abuse of) power by our elected leaders. Changes to a Constitution often require supermajorities. This is in the interest of all voters.

Some relevant quotes on power and authority by John Dalberg-Acton (1834-1902):

  • “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority.” 
  • “Despotic power is always accompanied by corruption of morality.”

Children (Dream version) – (1995) – Robert Miles (1969-2017)

artist, lyricsvideo, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.


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