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Who has power nowadays?

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

In a democracy, it is a state with its institutions that imposes rights and obligations on individuals and groups. But recently, as many sociologists have already highlighted*, more people have been united by the view that power comes from other hands.

Supposing state institutions no longer had power to act the question would arise: “who has power today?” Maybe power is in the hands of an international lobby that is motivated to find new international customers or supporters, or maybe the reverse is true: international consumers govern the world.

Maybe power is in the hands of criminal organizations. It could be very probable, as we constantly hear the news about new conflicts. Reading it may lead to the statement that the world is very brutal, so it seems impossible for a state to cope with all of these atrocities. Anyone who reads sensationalized news stories can hold this kind of view. But crimes have not increased drastically. What really has increased is the amount of news we encounter.

Since Montesquieu, legislatures have made laws, executives have made decisions, bureaucracies have implemented policies, courts have resolved disputes, and the media has reported on their actions, but nothing has changed. What has really changed is that the majority of people vote for people who cannot impose rights and obligations on them.

* e.g. U.F., Trust is collapsing..., 2018; Z.B., Liquid Modernity, 2020.

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