Each of the other four dimensions of power is designed to exert collective constraints upon types of behaviour which harm other people. Breaches of the rules can be prevented or remedied within the relevant dimension – so crime, for example, is met by law enforcement within the Legal Dimension. There are, though, reasons for bypassing governance:
- Self-Protection can be used as a substitute for current governance mechanisms which are deemed insufficiently robust to be relied upon.
- Ungoverned Power can be used to gain a perceived advantage, in situations where formal governance can be bypassed with impunity. This is particularly common in international relations.
- There are situations where ad hoc peer-to-peer negotiation is more effective than providing formal mechanisms of control.
- Risk-sharing can sometimes supplement the protection services provided by the established governance mechanisms.
- Ad hoc responses are necessary in situations where breaches of the governance framework, either by those who have power or by those who are under it, exceed the parameters that it catered for.
The four dimensions of formal governance protect people’s rights against the abuses by others – but individuals, organisations and countries can act as they choose if they can bypass governance. Individualists in particular may see Ungoverned Power as desirable, but it relies upon an adversarial trial of strength to establish a balance of power so it can result in agreements that would not be considered binding by the weaker party.
© PatternsofPower.org, 2014