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Concept.png Hierarchy Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
The MacLeod Hierarchy:
Psychopaths, Clueless & Losers
A pyramidal arrangement of power or social status, with many people of low status, and corresponding few of high status.

Hierarchy is a power structure in which a relatively small number of bosses (superiors) direct a much larger number of inferiors. Large hierarchies may have many intermediate levels between top and bottom.

“I think one of the most important intellectual tasks today is to break through this assumption that hierarchies are natural, they're inevitable, that there's not much you can do to change them, and to reclaim that deeper spirit of an egalitarian quest for a more equal world in which in fact the dignity of all people can be achieved.”
Robert Jensen [1]

Official narrative

This is a system of power arrangement which is somehow natural and in harmony with "human nature". History has shown that attempts to oppose hierarchy are doomed to fail, since a small elite of leaders eventually regains control of the ignorant masses. The best that is realistically possible is to the the excesses of a corrupt elite and try to ameliorate the living conditions of those at the bottom of the hierarchy.


This is a very old arrangement of social status and privilege and has been much maligned over the millennia.

MacLeod Hierarchy

The simple yet profound cartoon which inspired a lot of discussion on the internet about the pathologies of corporate structures

In 2004 car­too­nist Hugh Mac­Leod published a very simple cartoon entitled "Company Hierarchy", which was notably ruled by psychopaths.[2] This subsequently inspired a lot of discussion, including worthwhile and often humorous and/or academically worthwhile discussion about corporate power structures.[3]


Related Quotations

Bureaucracy“are not themselves forms of stupidity so much as they are ways of organizing stupidity — of managing relationships that are already characterized by extremely unequal structures of imagination, which exist because of the existence of structural violence. This is why even if a bureaucracy is created for entirely benevolent reasons, it will still produce absurdities.”David Graeber
School“Tests aren't tests at all, they're drills. They're part of a psychological training package which controls the behaviour of the unsuspecting. The ultimate goal is to establish and perpetuate a hierarchy. You have to be made to feel that you failed.”John Taylor Gatto2007
Leo Tolstoy“I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives”Leo Tolstoy