In Western society, which is more important - power/money? And who holds/controls it?

I have here a copy of the Highroads Dictionary (Nelson) 1969, which defines the following:

Power: means of doing; moving force; ability of body or mind.

Wealth: large possessions; riches; abundant.

Granted the definition is a little old, but will do for now.

I read a book some while ago titled (IIRC) “Why Japan Will Overtake the US in the 21st Century and Become the World Market Leader” (I think it was dated 1995). It was basically an exploration of the Japanese attitude towards business, using a cultural and historical backdrop. The author maintained that in Japanese society, power is more prized than financial success (i.e. to be rich). This apparently stems from the traditions of the Samurai, who shaped much of the Japanese landscape.

The best position to occupy (according to the book) is in the civil service (managing governmental operations in the fiscal sector). In order to do this you gotta have top grades (which means being in something like the highest 1% of your class - the educational elite) and attend Tokyo Law School (this is of course a generalisation - but apparently it’s your best bet).

The situation works much in the same way as an “old boys network”. You will have connections with people who wield power and influence, and thus your position in society is strengthened.

Does this same model hold true in the West? Which is considered to be more important - power or money?

I have always had a quiet assumption that in Western societies power lies more with political figures than those in possession of a great fortune. But is this assumption correct? In Western society, who holds the power?

Can those with a significant amount of wealth buy themselves into positions of power, and is the reverse also true (can individuals with power become wealthy)?

In Western society, how does one go about obtaining power? Would the initial impetus come from political, economic or social means?

In the above question, you can think of “political” as running for some kind of office of authority; “economic” is the ability to purchase power; “social” is the influence you can gain amongst local or national structures (e.g. The National Association of Women Workers In The Barnyards, or just an implied position of authority in your local neighbourhood - like the Mafia).

And finally, how is the fabric of Western society affected by people who have power, and how does this differ from the East? For example (and this is a lame one), do they treat those in power with more respect in the East than in the West?

Money(or the equivelent) and knowledge equels power. It always has.

Money is used to buy Power.

Power is then converted into more Money.

Ad infinitum, ad nauseum…

The two are equivalent. It’s P=Mx^2 - we just have to establish the value of x (which may be defined as the maximum rate at which Money may be propogated across the space between hands in Power Purchase transactions :stuck_out_tongue: )


I agree with the previous posters that Power and Money are intimately tied together. Sometimes you have people with a lot of power and relatively little money… but they can get those with money to back 'em up. Like that Cleric in Iraq for example. He opens his mouth and Bremer trembles about the consequences…

Money though is a bit stronger I would say in the West. Big Money bought Bush his office, Lobbies are financed... not empowered. US prowess and all other big countries is primarily from strong economies... not "power" alone.

I have no strong evidence for this, but it’s a viewpoint. Republics seem to favour the money = power = money loop, whereas monarchies lean towards power = knowledge, although founded on the money loop working a generation or two beforehand.

So in the US the money you make can buy you power (although, for sure, your daddies money is even better, Dubya) whereas in the UK, Japan, Spain and Scandanavia it is your position in society, the establishment, that gives you access to power. New money is looked down upon (but taken with a slimey smile, e.g. Bernie Ecklestone) but new money quickly becomes old…