The Use of Power

April 4, 2010

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” Lord Acton

There’s a lot of truth to what Lord Acton wrote.

William Pitt, The Earl of Chatham and British Prime Minister from 1766 to 1778 said something similar: “Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it.”

The corruption that Lord Acton and William Pitt talk about does not only apply to a nation’s political and business leaders. It influences common citizens, who put pressure on their government to react violently.

As China grows its power, how will that corruption manifest itself?  Will China become like the British Empire or the United States and continue to wage wars around the globe in the national interest? Maybe, or will China re-define what the use of power means?

“China is presenting its ascent not as a power shift, but as a paradigm shift. It claims that its rise will be different from other powers in the past and sets an example for a fundamental revision of the nature of great power politics.” Source: In The New Times

See Power Corrupts