Like Everything Else, Power is Changing

Moises Naim, former editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy, scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the executive director of the World Bank, tells us how power is changing.

A number of people asked me about the ideas from The End of Power by Moises Naim. At the first and third services, I read a few short excerpts from his book. I forgot (!!!!) to do this at the second service.

Naim has a simple but elaborate theme. He believes the very nature of power has changed in recent decades. There is a seismic shift in how power is used and in who has power. Through the Internet, our ability to access vast resources, stay in viral connection with many others, and be agents of influence are unlike any other time in history.

Here are the excerpts I read:

This is a book about power. Specifically, it is about how power – the capacity to get others to do, or to stop doing, something – is undergoing a historic and world-changing transformation.

Power is shifting from brawn to brains, from north to south and west to east, from old corporate behemoths to agile start-ups, from entrenched dictators to people in town squares and cyberspace.

Power is decaying. To put it simply, power no longer buys as much as it did in the past… power is easier to get, harder to use, and easier to lose… battles for power are as intense as ever, but they are yielding diminishing returns.

Power is scattered among an increasing number of newer, smaller players from diverse and unexpected origins…and these players are using a very different playbook form the one on which traditional players have long relied.

Power itself has become more available – and, indeed, in today’s world more people have power.

As I re-read these words, it is so obvious we are experiencing this. Witness the many social movements of protest and frustration that rise up so easily and spread like wildfire. The many people who once had no voice, now have a voice. The many people who once had no formal positions of power and authority, now have a platform to speak, persuade, and ignite change.

We do live in VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) times. Everything is changing. Power itself is changing. Leadership, the use of power, is changing also. For better or for worse, these are our times. They are the only times we will have.

Which is why we are launching, what I hope will be, not just 40 days, but 1,000 conversations on leadership.

Whenever God has a work that needs to be done, God goes looking for partners, for people who will be participants and join in with what he wants to do. There is a new work God is doing. God is looking for new leaders. May you and I be among those God finds with willing hearts. May you and I say along with Isaiah, “Here am I Lord – send me.”

Leading alongside you,
Pastor Brian

Brian Rice

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