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Leadership and Oppression


One of the best videos I saw this past week was a talk by Simon Sinek  – ‘Why Leaders Eat Last’      ( /  ) He talks a lot during this talk about the chemicals (which are produced in our own brain and) which are associated with certain emotions.

He talks a little about cortisol (which is associated with anxiety and stress).  But mostly he talks about 4 chemicals – Endorphine, Dopamine, Seratonin, and Oxytosin.

The first 2, he says, we can experience on our own; we don’t need anyone else.  And these two are (both) addictive. The purpose of endorphine, he says, is – to mask physical pain (e.g., the ‘runner’s high’)

The purpose of dopamine, he says, is to make sure we get stuff done.  We get a little shot of dopamine when(ever) we achieve a goal (or make visible progress toward a goal).  By the way, we also get a shot of dopamine – when we use alcohol, or nicotine, or gambling, or use our cell phone. Dopamine, he says, is a dangerous drug … and is highly addictive.

The second 2 are ‘trying’ to control the first 2.  We experience these in a social context.

Seratonin, he says, is the “Leadership” chemical.  It’s associated with status and pride.

Oxytosin is associated with love, trust, friendship, human generosity, and sacrifice.

The role of a leader, he says, is – to provide safety.

Another good video I saw recently is –    (What the 1% don’t want you to know  – Bill Moyers, with Paul Krugman, discussing Thomas Piketty’s book – Capital in the Twenty-First Century)

Piketty says that – ‘for those who work for a living, the level of inequality is probably higher than in ANY OTHER SOCIETY at any time in the past ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.”

And in the three decades between 1977 and 2007 60% of U.S. income went to the richest 1% of Americans.

Also – at state & local levels, the poorest 20% of Americans pay taxes at 11%, while the richest 1% pay at 5.6% (about half the tax rate of the poorest 1/5th)

According to a paper by Gilens & Page (Perspectives on Politics, fall, 2014) –  making use of data from 1981 – 2002, they conclude – “America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.  … the preferences of the average American appear to have only miniscule, near zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

6 thoughts on “Leadership and Oppression

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