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You’re More Powerful than You Think

In Eric Liu’s book, “You’re More Powerful than You Think,” he breaks down the concept of power. He highlights six ways we can see power play out, especially in the civic domain:

1. Physical Force: It’s the idea of making people do things because they’re afraid. Remember the Partition of India in 1947? The fear of getting communal violence made millions of Sikh, Hindu, and Sindhi families to move out of Pakistan.

2. Capital: Basically, money talks. Take the Delhi Metro’s development, for instance. It got major funding from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

3. State Action: When the government steps in and changes things up. Recall when, in 2016, the Indian government made ₹500 and ₹1000 notes worthless overnight? That move aimed to squash black money and fake currency.

4. Social Norms: It’s about what most people believe is right. In India, “arranged marriages” are a big thing. They’re a deeply-held tradition, and a lot of folks actually like this method more than finding a partner on their own.

5. Ideas: Think of how just one idea can shift the way we all think. Mahatma Gandhi introduced us to “Ahimsa” or non-violence. This simple idea became a game-changer in India’s quest for freedom from British rule.

6. Numbers: There’s strength in numbers. Back in 2011, a guy named Anna Hazare started the Anti-Corruption Movement. So many people showed up at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan that the government had no choice but to pay attention. They even started working on an anti-corruption bill.

So, when we look around, we can see these forces at work. It’s a neat way to understand the dynamics of power in our world.


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