From ancient era, politics is a major subject that could not be easy to script or defined by scholars. Political systems changed itself regularly, according to terms and conditions and with the situation as well. Many theories came and tried to define the system of politics but only few can be relevant for us. One of an important one, we discussed here i.e Pareto’s foxes and lions theory as below…
Pareto’s thesis was that elites always rule. There is always the domination of the minority over the majority. And history is just the story of one elite replacing another. This is what he called the “circulation of elites”. When the current elite starts to decline, it is challenged and makes way for another.
Pareto thought that this came about in two ways:-
- Either through assimilation, the new elite merging with elements of the old
- Or through revolution, the new elite wiping out the old. He used the metaphor of a river to make his point.
Most of the time, the river flows continuously, smoothly incorporating its tributaries, but sometimes, after a storm, it floods and breaks its banks.
The Theory Of Foxes And Lions
- The first, whom he called the “foxes”, are those who dominate mainly through combinazioni (“combination”): deceit, cunning, manipulation and co-optation. Their rule is characterised by decentralisation, plurality and scepticism, and they are uneasy with the use of force.
- “Lions”, on the other hand, are more conservative. They emphasise unity, homogeneity, established ways, the established faith, and rule through small, centralised and hierarchical bureaucracies, and they are far more at ease with the use of force than the devious foxes. History is the slow swing of the pendulum from one type of elite to the other, from foxes to lions and back again.
The relevance of Pareto’s theories to the world today is clear. After a period of foxes in power, the lions are back with renewed vigour. Modi, as his behaviour during the election campaign confirmed, is perfectly at ease with the use of intimidation and vibrant behaviour. After a long time of silent leadership in India, Modi comes with the behaviour of aggressiveness and too much confident just like the power of the lion. It reveals that politics is a game of theories that can be changed according to situations and conditions.