You're More Powerful than You Think

You're More Powerful than You Think

A Citizen's Guide to Making Change Happen

Eric Liu

In politics, power is usually seen as a zero-sum game—your gain has to be my loss, because there’s a fixed amount of power in the system. But that is a law of thermodynamics, not civics. Citizens in fact can create power out of thin air—without taking it from anyone else—and often do. There is no limit on the amount of power in a polity. Power is positive-sum, not zero-sum. That is because power emerges from the imagined as much as from the material. In fact, it emerges first from the imagined. The material sources of power—whether violence or bureaucratic pressure or financial incentive—are only the manifestation of what is imagined.

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