Power

Power us the ability to have an effect.  If I make a choice and the choice has an effect, I have power.

Balancing rights and responsibilities is a matter of the distribution of power. Power is the ability to have an effect. If I make a choice, the choice has an effect. Everyone has power. Not everyone has the same amount of power or power in the same arenas.

Power is morally neutral. It is not better to have power or to not have power. Being powerless is not a good thing. Being powerful is not a good thing. Good and bad come not from the presence of power but from the use to which the power is put. Fire is power. We can use fire to heat a house or to burn a house down. A hammer has power. We can use a hammer to drive nails or break windows. Fire and hammers are morally neutral. What we choose to do with fire and hammers is not.

Everything has power. The chair I am sitting on has power. It has the power to keep me from sitting on the floor. I have more power than the chair. I can move it around, but it cannot move me around.

Some people believe that infants are powerless--until they live with one. If you have lived with an infant, particularly if you have been the parent of an infant, you know how powerful infants can be, especially at two in the morning when the baby has colic or bronchitis. Everyone and everything has power. Everyone and everything has the ability to have an effect.

Not everyone has the same amount of power. As a white first-world educated man I have far more power than an uneducated third-world woman of color. Not everyone has the same kinds of power. I am tall enough to get things down off the top shelf that my wife can't reach but she has smaller hands so can get things out of the disposer that I can't. We each have different ways of having an effect.

see also, Power: power over, power with, empowerment 

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