Edition Release Notes

Notes on the First Two Editions

The first edition of this book was published in January 2013, in full Kindle and paperback versions, as Patterns of Power: a Rough Guide.  It was written in the expectation that it might be read from beginning to end, like any other book.

The second edition was essentially a re-formatting, to improve the usefulness of the pattern descriptions by making them easier to quote from.  Some other changes were made, notably in response to further material on banking reform, inequality and drones.

The full edition of this book can be thought of as comprising two separate books:

  • An analysis of how power can be classified and assessed.
  • A repository of descriptions on each of the patterns of power.

It was made easier for readers of the full edition to bypass the pattern descriptions if they wish to get an understanding of the overall methodology without being overwhelmed by detail.  All the pattern descriptions were numbered, to provide easy access to items of interest – and the pattern numbers are hyperlinked in the book’s electronic version.

The second full edition was accompanied by another, much shorter, overview edition which provided online access to the pattern descriptions via links to the Patterns of Power website.

Notes on the Third Edition

Periodically, the Patterns of Power books and the associated website material need to be updated to replace website links which no longer work and to refresh reference material where relevant.  This new edition, though, also reflects major changes in the political landscape since the previous edition was published four years ago.

Voters in wealthy Western countries have become discontented.  Economic factors are largely responsible: globalisation has resulted in some jobs going to developing countries; inequality has continued to increase, as the proceeds of economic growth have mostly been taken by people who were already wealthy; and technology has enabled many jobs to be replaced by machines.

Some politicians have seized on this discontent.  There has been a surge of ‘authoritarian populism’ – promising to roll back the impact of economic change, blaming immigration, rejecting international agreements and appearing to offer strong leadership.

These populists have been able to take advantage of a major change in the way that news travels.  Unaccountable sources, spreading innuendo and lies through social media, now play a major role in forming public opinion.

Donald Trump’s election was one example.  Authoritarian populists persuaded British voters to choose to leave the EU, and there are further examples in other European countries.  All collective international governance now appears to be more fragile, as these politicians turn their backs on international agreements.  The progress made by the Paris Accord on combating climate change might be lost.

Some sections of the book have been expanded and sub-divided to explore these issues in more depth.

Also, the 2016 Chilcot Report on the invasion of Iraq has been taken into account.  Chapter 8 of this edition now only contains a summary of the Iraq analysis that was published in Edition 2 of this book, with links to the rest of it, but it now includes a comparison between that and the Chilcot report.

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