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On Power

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Power is access.

The ones with the most power have the most access. Use a simple thumb rule: count the number of rooms you have access to in your organization. If you have more access than some other counterpart of yours, then you are more powerful in the organization structure. Likewise, in the social structure, the driver of an MP might be more powerful than most of us. He has access to more people, more homes, more offices.

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Access needs to be legitimate.

Of course, you can just barge in. But is that access legitimate? Can you replicate it across time and geography? If not, then such one-time access does not count for much.

Access to information counts the most.

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The “rooms” were used as a metaphor. One may even say that power is access to information. If you can have all the information sitting from your room, you would be the most powerful person on planet earth.

Power is the source of all corruption.

Current flows whenever there is a potential difference. The same can be said about corruption. Wherever there is difference in power levels, there would be corruption ( in either tacit or explicit way). To eliminate corruption, you need to demolish the power structures. To demolish power structures, you need to make access of public to information free and easy. Hence, technology.

We need better technocrats to make the lives of our people better.

Technocrats who understand the social structure, technology and the need for equal development are better poised to drive change than even bureaucrats. It is because without technology, you cannot possibly hope to make information free and accessible to all.

Amartya Dey, India

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