Hierarchy does suggest that there are going to be some roles which are higher or lower in comparison to each other; unless I missed a meeting, that's what a hierarchy is. However, it doesn't make a statement about the decency, kindness, or mutual respect of the people involved in it. It's not a value judgment on how or why people might organize into a hierarchical arrangement. A hierarchy can come to be due to any number of measurements.
When I think of a relationship hierarchy I instantly think of some people being important and others being less important - while that makes me want to throw up in my mouth, "less than" isn't necessarily a requirement for someone lower on the hierarchy diagram. While I expect this is more true than people would feel comfortable admitting, I recognize that it isn't *necessarily* a "less than"/"greater than" setup with all hierarchical arrangements.
Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol
Everyone is finding their own path, and has the right to make mistakes, be human, find the path that works best for them, and work towards doing 'poly' with as much integrity, honesty and respect as possible.
I don't have anything to add to this quote but I just wanted to say that I love the descriptions that came to your mind when describing the circumstances of a healthy relationship. That's a beautiful thing.