Re: power <debate>

Martin Cohen (mcohen@UCLA.EDU)
Sun, 10 Mar 1996 18:45:21 -0700

Thomas W Kavanagh wrote:
>On Sun, 10 Mar 1996, Michael Cahill wrote:

>Who was it that said, "the rich are different from you and me: they have
>more money."

F. Scott Fitzgerald made the first statement; Hemmingway replied with the

>While it may well be true that there are personality differences between
>the powerful and the powerless, there is more to the success of the
>powerful and the lack of success by the powerless than personality (if
>there wasn't, historians would all be psychologists).

Michael Cahill wrote:

> I am increasingly inclined toward
> the view that the powerful are significantly different from other people on
> the inside.

We Americans love to ignore social class and economic advantage as major
conditions concerning power in the U.S. How else can one explain a Dan
Quale being a heart beat away from the presidency for four years? For that
matter, how else can you explain his acceptance into law school and seat in

On the other hand, there are those who rise to posisitions of leadership on
their own merits. But if they are born to an inner-city slum, perhaps they
are more likely to become a gang leader than a political or business
leader? The point is that personal qualities are probably more widely
distributed than are social opportunities. I have known too many
underemployed women, African-Americans, and yes, even white males (usually
of lower middle-class origins; and too many imcompitants in positions of
responsibility to believe it is all or even mainly a matter of personal

Martin Cohen