28 July 05


(on which Alwin Toffler’s ‘Power Shifts’ is based, in his own words)

1. Power is inherent in all social systems and in all human relationships.  It is not a thing but an aspect of any and all relationships among people. Hence it is inescapable and neutral, intrinsically neither good nor bad.

2. The ‘power system’ includes everyone – no one is free of it.  But one person’s power loss is not always another’s gain.

Alvin Tofler

Alvin Toffler

3. The power system in any society is subdivided into smaller and smaller power subsystems nested within one another.  Feedback links these subsystems to one another, and to the larger systems of which they are part.  Individuals are embedded in many different, though related, power subsystems.

4. The same person may be power-rich at home and power-poor at work, and so forth.

5. Because human relationships are constantly changing, power relationships are also in constant process.

6. Because people have needs and desires, those who can fulfill them hold potential power.  Social power is exercised by supplying or withholding the desired or needed items and experiences.

7. Because needs and desires are highly varied, the ways of meeting or denying them are also extremely varied.  There are, therefore, many different ‘tools’ or ‘levers’ of power.  Among them, however, violence, wealth and knowledge are primary.  Most other power resources derive from these.


8. Violence, which is chiefly used to punish, is the least versatile source of power.  Wealth, which can be used to both reward and punish, and which can be converted into many other resources, is a far more flexible tool of power. Knowledge, however, is the most versatile and basic since it can help one avert challenges that might require the use of violence and wealth, and can often be used too persuade others to perform in desired ways out of perceived self-interest.  Knowledge yields the highest quality power.

9. The relationship of classes, races, genders, professions, nations, and other social groupings are incessantly altered by shifts in population, ecology, technology, culture, and other factors.  These changes lead to conflict and translate into redistribution of power resources.

10. Conflict is an inescapable social fact.

11. Power struggles are not necessarily bad.

To read the full excerpts please click here, https://akscentre.wordpress.com/aks-diaries-excerpts-and-fragments/