Before the simulation, most players would agree with the statement of Lord Acton who said, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. But after the simulation, they assert their belief with a new respect for its validity. At least the Circles and Triangles do. The Squares sometimes have a hard time admitting that they abused their power or that they enjoyed exercising it. The Circles and Triangles are generally quick to point out instances where the Squares did not treat them fairly such as arbitrarily rejecting proposals by the Circles and Triangles, claiming special privileges, restricting the right of the Circles and Triangles and so on. Also, such non-verbal behavior as pulling their chairs close together, laughing devilishly and being unusually animated as they made their rules, would seem to suggest that perhaps they enjoyed it. And that, of course is the point. The reason power is corrupting is that it is intensely satisfying, makes one feel supremely important and creates an insatiable desire for more power. Few people can resist its influence. If this is so, then the clear implication is that we must not only try to avoid abusing power ourselves, but also guard against its abuse in politics, business, schools, families and in on-to-one relationships with others.
The idea that power corrupts as well as the other ideas which are listed below are often known by the participants before they participate in the simulation. Yet, when participants of all ages and sophistication are asked to place a value on what they learned from participating in StarPower, they consistently report that it was “very important” to them. In looking into this seeming contradiction of participants placing value on learning concepts which they already knew, it seems that the playing of StarPower has given new strength and validity to old but important ideas. It is one thing to know that power corrupts everyone, it is quite another to realize that power might also corrupt Ted or Mary or even oneself. This realization can often help the participants look at these ideas with a new perspective – an ideal time to re-evaluate them, to determine if there is still truth and meaning in them, to apply them to one’s own discipline or situation or simply re-affirm their importance.