Hierarchy – Part 1




Our society adheres to an open social stratification system; meaning society works mostly in an hierarchical order based on merits or one’s efforts. Most Governments have a head and the ministries or departments support the head. Corporations have hierarchies too. A CEO usually is at the top and the reporting structure is usually a pyramid hierarchy. Look at the family structure, there is a hierarchy as well, though sometimes not formally defined. Hierarchy in the family is dynamic. Depending on the type of task, the decision maker is sometimes the mother and at other times father. Hierarchy in all these examples is power/responsibility based.

Let us look at the Consumer side of things. There is hierarchy here too. There are membership levels like platinum, gold, silver, etc. When it comes to shareholders of a corporation, there are some who are preferentially treated; these are preferred shareholders. In transportation industry you have first class, business class, etc. On the consumer side it is mostly based on consumer’s worth.

Human society has established and found its best fit over many centuries. I wonder if there will be  peace and order without hierarchy. As long as humans are dependent on each other, resources are limited and decision making is involved, there is hierarchy. A select few make decisions for the whole. These select few who are the top of the decision chain are better decision makers. They are perceived better at decision making either because of experience or wisdom or intelligence.

There is one area where everyone is treated equal. Elections in democracy. I am talking about the popular democratic nations. Every person  has one vote. No more and  no less. Why is that the case? As in most cases some processes were started long back and have been followed without change for we humans don’t like change. Processes made sense the way they were because of limitations in past. We had tremendous advancements in the human society and most of these limitations in the past are no more limitations. We don’t have to follow the same traditions/processes. Should all be given one vote in elections? In almost every arrangement of humans there is hierarchy or preference. With all the technological advancements at hand is it not possible that elections be based on an algorithm involving multiple factors rather than simple entitlement.

So how do we aim for this election system that is algorithm based without creating a bias? There is an argument that the government should be run like a corporation and president should run it like a CEO. If country is a corporation, the voter is a shareholder. Not all shareholders are treated alike by a corporation. There are preferred shareholders. So why not preferred voters. May be  people who give better share of their salary as tax should be given preferred vote. If you pay 30% tax then your vote is counted as 1.3. If you pay 0% tax then your vote is counted 1. The rich (who may pay more tax in terms of amount) are not necessarily favored here but the person who is paying higher percentage of tax. With so much digital data and computing power we have in this age, it’s not difficult to do this computation.

It doesn’t have to be tax based alone. It can be based on multiple factors such as military service, residency status, age. The decisions made by the government have short term and long term effects. But most decisions’ effect takes place in decades that follow. So the younger people have more at stake in the decisions as it might affect them for a longer period than the old. So why not give them more preference. People in 20s get 1.1 votes, people in 30s get 1.3, in 40s get 1.4 and everybody else gets 1. The  40s group in the younger lot get preference for they have experience and wisdom to make a better decision.

Some might argue that some are disadvantaged by this. They might say that they are not getting the fair share. They are not entirely taken out of the voting system but are given lower priority. When we give the responsibility to the CEOs, Presidents, etc. we trust them to make better decisions. When we give more preference to some voters we are giving that preference to make better decision.

If we look closely at the electoral college in the united states, it has come down to giving preference to some states because of the political leaning of the states. The people in these states have become more important. Replacing electoral college with voter weighted system won’t do any bad. If  we can debate this weighted voter idea and let universities do research,  we will have a better understanding. In this world of fake news, people being angry for their economic situation a learned and measured decision is hard to come by. But a dialog is important….after all what is democracy.

Banks of Godavari, India

via Photo Challenge: Delta


Fatherish….Long way to Subway

I had survived a month in this new country. Twenty years, million sitcoms later, I still dread ordering drive through and spelling my name to customer service, thanks to my thick  accent. My kids have a ball when I order french fries and get handed over sprite – EVERY SINGLE TIME.

On our way from Detroit to Chicago. I was tired of pretending to know how to read the map from AAA and all I wanted was some food and a nap. My friend, being a veteran immigrant for 6 months, convinced me to try a healthier option and dragged me to Subway. I rushed to the restroom and by the time I got in line there were a few people between me and my friend. That was my first tactical mistake. New to the country and trying new food begs for help. Specially if you ate curry and rice your entire life.

I see most in the line on the higher side of the scale. In those days the Subway was famous for eating healthy and losing weight. Well…I hardly see any success stories…. wonder where they all eat now.

Having lived in US for a month now, being naive and single, fast food was the undisputed choice. I was trying to find the numbers in the menu. ‘Number 5, medium with Coke’ was easy. But here in subway I don’t see any numbers. With my thick accent I knew I was in for a long conversation with the lady in gloves.

To play it safe I asked for ‘Veggie delight’. Sandwich maker asks me  ‘6 inch or footlong’. Thinking that she was getting too personal, I gawked at her awkwardly. Seeing my clueless expression, she explains, ‘Would you like a 6 inch sandwich or footlong?’. I never thought food could be measured in inches. Anyway, I said ‘foot long’. She asks me ‘What kind of bread?’ I thought to myself, now there were kinds of bread? The only kind I knew was the one in slices.

Then she asks me ‘Cheese?’ This is sounding like a multiple choice test.

Now comes the real food assembly part. She asks me “what would you like on your sandwich?”. I don’t even recognize half the veggies in those bins. Seeing my confusion, she decided to be kind. She pointed to each vegetable and asked me if I wanted it. I said ‘No’ to most, No being the easiest thing to say. She wraps the sandwich.

I pay for the sandwich for which I gave the recipe…..a little disappointed that I was eating something that was neither steaming or smelling. I can actually take apart everything in the sandwich ingredient by ingredient. Human civilization is going backwards I guess.

I grabbed the coke and sat with my friend. Took a bite, choked and reached for the coke to drain it down my throat.

When I reach home, mom calls and surely enough asks what I ate for lunch? I decide to dazzle her with the names of American Subs and what goes into them and what doesn’t…..

After all these years I can’t believe subway is my first choice if I have to grab something real quick. I guess the ‘Eat Fresh’ has caught up with me…