Wednesday, May 20, 2009


It is not original to note that there is a difference between power and influence. This distinction is helpful in understanding the dynamics and course of political maneuvering, as well as give some indication as to what may become of the current political fashions.

Power and influence are closely intertwined, but there are crucial distinctions that determine the fate of political movements. The most obvious distinction is that dead people can be influential, but are not powerful. This distinction is fundamental, because it is the clearest illustration that influence is durable, but power is much more finite. Power is essentially endothermic, requiring a constant input of energy to maintain itself, whereas influence is exothermic, animating others and providing energy beyond the temporal reach of its source.

The essence of power is to determine who wins and who loses in same area of human endeavor. Influence is the capacity to focus the thoughts and principles that animate the activities and enterprises of others. Because of the contemporaneous realtionship between power and its subject, power is much more prone to corruption. Power is result of coersion where influence is more concerned with persuasion.

Obviously, power and influence often, in fact usually, reside in the same person or group. Power can sometimes be converted into influence and vice versa. Because power is more immediately apparent, it is more susceptible to corruption. Excessive uses of power may lead to diminishing influence, especially where power is exercised through the use of force.

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