The Real Problem with Gerontocracies

Any mention of gerontocracies conjures up images of aging middle-eastern dictators, kings and old Asian statesmen who exert influence well into their late 70s and 80s. This popular and media driven image does not, however, help us understand the reasons behind their existence and ability to screw up the future of most people in such systems.

Most of you probably believe that old age and mentally inflexibility are responsible for the multitude of problems seen in gerontocracies . Many of you also believe that many developed countries are not gerontocracies because their leaders are not much older than the median person in those countries.

As I will explain in the rest of this post, you are wrong on both counts. As far as gerontocracies are concerned, old age and behavioral inflexibility are minor problems compared to the proverbial elephant in the room. Let me start with a simple question-

What type of people do hierarchical systems concentrate at the level of leadership?

The answer is simple but unpleasant- hierarchical systems will always concentrate the most greedy, disingenuous and sociopathic people at the top. Gerontocracies should therefore be seen as systems that are ruled by the most insecure, greedy and sociopathic members of the population who also happen to be inflexible, regressive and tenacious. Old age is therefore, at best, a secondary reason behind the general suckiness of gerontocracies.

Gerontocracies should therefore be seen as governance by the very people who mere existence, let alone possession of power, is detrimental to everyone around them.

The entire mental world of gerontocrats is driven by the need to maintain the setup which brought, and is keeping, them in power- regardless of the consequences for everybody else. Their rigid adherence to CONservatism, traditions, customs and overall disdain for change and improvement is based on this the overwhelming desire to maintain their position through the impoverishment and abuse of everybody else.

They will therefore reject, hinder and attempt to destroy any effort to improve the lives of others in that system. You cannot reason or bargain with them nor can you expect them to act in good faith any more than you can convince a bunch of cancer cell from following their chosen path.

Now some of you might think that developed countries are not gerontocratic because the median age of politicians and rulers is closer to the median age of their populations. However, as I have just explained, geronotocracy is not really about age. It is about maintaining the old ways, power structures and scams inspite of their obsolescence and danger to everyone else.

Countries such as Japan, Italy, Greece, Germany and even the USA are being governed to keep the old ways alive and profitable regardless of the consequences for everybody else. Whether it is publicly promoted ideas about work, careers, families or laws (and regulations) governing education, healthcare, internet or anything else- they all aim to keep the old rentiers in power by sacrificing the future.

As I have previously said- “civilization” as we know it is a ponzi scheme which worked because of the lack of effective contraception and poor communication. Today they have neither the excess naive slaves, communication barriers or social obfuscations to hide behind. However the gerontocrats and their old dying supporters have not yet grasped the nature and extent of this change, or maybe they choose to ignore it hoping that it will just go away.

It won’t go away, but they will have to- one way or the other.


  1. Matt Strictland
    February 6, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    I basically agree but in truth does anyone have a single clue how to actually fix any of the systems?

    The guaranteed minimum income you and I favor is no real solution and even going whole hog with economic nationalism and work sharing all that will not accomplish much.

    I am starting to think we need more smaller nations and less trade thus allowing each group to have their own customs and ways and just let the dust settle on the industrial age.

    It might provoke a big war or it might not, it probably won’t be worse than the upcoming fracas where that kid in the above post or his kids will be doing stuff to their enemies that would have Vlad Tepes going “Dude.. Wait what?”

  1. February 12, 2012 at 2:01 am
  2. March 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm

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