drawing by margueritaPower is a measure of a person's ability to control the environment around them, including the behavior of other people. The term authority is often used for power, perceived as legitimate by the social structure. Power can be seen as evil or unjust, but the exercise of power is accepted as endemic to humans as social beings.
The use of power need not involve coercion (force or the threat of force). At one extreme, it more closely resembles what everyday English-speakers call "influence", although some authors make a distinction between power and influence - the means by which power is used (Handy, C. 1993 Understanding Organisations).
Much of the recent sociological debate on power revolves around the issue of the enabling nature of power. A comprehensive account of power can be found in Steven Lukes Power: A Radical View where he discusses the three dimensions of power. Thus, power can be seen as various forms of constraint on human action, but also as that which makes action possible, although in a limited scope. Much of this debate is related to the works of the French philosopher Michel Foucault (1926-1984), who, following the Italian political philosopher Niccolò MachiavelliAnthony Giddens. (1469-1527), sees power as "a complex strategic situation in a given society [social setting]". Being deeply structural, his concept involves both constraint and enablement. from wikipediaThe robbers come upon a carriage carrying a little girl, an orphan, who, because she is on her way to live with an evil aunt, feels fortunate to be plunder. The robbers take her back to their cave. When she wakes in the morning, she sees the treasure and asks, “What is all this for?”
The robbers are dumbfounded, a joke that reads even better during a financial crisis. Resolution eventually comes as “all the lost, unhappy and abandoned children” are gathered up and brought to a castle, bought with treasure. “The children grew until they were old enough to marry.”Children's Books - Book Review - 'The Three Robbers,' Written and Illustrated by Tomi Ungerer - Review - NYTimes.com