If I were forced to work with a bully or a slacker as a peer/coworker, how could I make them do their share of the work? First of all, it is quite obvious I cannot just tell these people to do their job; I would have to make them. Realistically, the world doesn’t work on good intentions alone; self interest is a part of it. In order to make the bully or the slacker do his/her job, I need some form of leverage over them. This leverage can be in the form of authority, telling my boss the problem in order to rescue myself from being taken advantage of and in order to prevent a precedent for future abuse. Another form of leverage is manipulating them by playing on their character weaknesses, something left to more canny individuals. Another still is by stamping my handiwork with my indelible signature to create evidence of their omission.
Leverage is neither evil nor good. People might get the bad idea that leverage is evil, since it is power to compel someone against their will. However, it is merely a tool. Like any other tool – hammer, knife, accounting software, the Internet, money, etc. – it is the ethical consequences of the action that clears up this ambiguity.
There are three groups that provide leverage to the people:
Competition and Market Forces – Free-market forces give the people, who are consumers, leverage by choosing one supplier or service over the other. Without the power of choice, how are people able to punish inefficiency, or framed in another way, reward innovation and hard work?
Courts of Law, Law Enforcers, and Legal Experts – If someone violates a serious binding agreement, the ability to take them to court is a form of leverage. The law is a tool, a way to keep people from breaking promises others depend on for their welfare, stability and happiness. Without such leverage, there is very little to prevent abuse and the public from being taken advantage of.
Free Speech, Free and Impartial Media, and… Free Thought – Public expression is a way to communicate to others serious or vital concerns with regards to their conduct. Free speech allows people to attack and defend their credibility, and gives the truth opportunity to prevail. Part of free speech is the ability of individuals to apply the more impartial tools of logic and reason to come to their own conclusions, which we know as Freethought.
I might address that these forms of leverage may not be perfect tools, but without them we certainly diminish our power to affect change and improve our situation.
Looking at the three groups: Free trade, Law and Order, and Free speech, how much leverage does the Filipino have? Among them, what is the easiest to achieve given our own individual abilities, and that can be achieved by our collective groups? Which group precedes the others or by what degree?
Understanding leverage helps me determine what is the most cost-efficient application of effort towards change. I hope this helps you too.