Negative selection, in politics, is a process that occurs in rigid hierarchies, most notably dictatorships.

The person on the top of the hierarchy, wishing to remain in power forever, chooses his associates with the prime criterion of incompetence – they must not be competent enough to remove him from power. The associates do the same with those below them in the hierarchy, and the hierarchy is progressively filled with more and more incompetent people.

If the dictator sees that he is threatened nonetheless, he will remove those that threaten him from their positions – “purge” the hierarchy. Emptied positions in the hierarchy are normally filled with people from below – those who were less competent than their previous masters. So, over the course of time, the hierarchy becomes less and less effective. As this happens relatively often, once the dictator dies, or is removed by some external influence, what remains is a grossly ineffective hierarchy.

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Vocabulary Help

  • choose – escolher
  • dictatorships – ditaduras
  • die – morrer
  • emptied – vagas, vazias
  • enough – suficiente
  • fill – preencher
  • forever – para sempre
  • grossly – grosseiramente
  • happen – acontecer
  • nonetheless – não obstante
  • over the course of time – ao longo do tempo
  • power – poder
  • prime criterion – principal critério
  • purge – purgar, eliminar
  • remain – permanecer
  • remain – restar
  • see (see, saw, seen) – ver
  • threatened – ameaçado
  • wish – desejar