Quoting directly from the online article,In an effort to reconcile the science stating that power leads to action and lack of power leads to inhibition -- despite constant historical reminders of the powerless rising up and taking action -- new research in the June issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests that the legitimacy of the power relationship is an important determinant of whether power leads to action.
Getting the Developed World to change is difficult. Politics within each nation demand unwavering attention to the internal issues of each nation with little resources or even regard going to problems on the other side of the globe. The average person has even less connection unless they make an effort on their own to find out.
The same though can be true of people in the Developing World. Even though these issues directly impact their lives, there is often a powerlessness inherent in individuals, communities, even nations, but not always. Sometimes people rise to make a difference in their own lives. The question is why sometimes and not others.
Researchers endeavored to determine what factors where necessary to motivate the powerless to take action.
"Power activates a person's behavioral approach system and underlies our motivation to act, while powerlessness activates our behavioral inhibition system to restrict action and risk-taking," said Galinsky. "But, in illegitimate power scenarios, the powerless are more likely to act without direction in an attempt to change the situation, and the powerful may inhibit their actions for fear of losing their undeserved seat at the top."
The efforts to get the Developed World to keep its Millennium Goals promises is no doubt worthwhile and there are countless working on overcoming all of the challenges inherent in reaching those goals. It would though pale in comparison if people around the world, who now feel powerless, could be empowered to make changes in their own lives.
The article appeared in the American Online Magazine, a project of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. While I don't usually turn to the AEI for guidance, this does provided food for thought. Bunker Roy wrote a similar article in the International Herald Tribune in 2005 Why the millennium goals won't work.