Mans 4 Sources of Power

To be an effective source of power, money [resources] must be exchanged in ways that require returns and create obligation, in other words it must be invested” (Ernestine Friedl)

Select one of Mann’s four sources of power (IEMP) and discuss how the above quote by Ernestine Friedl factors in to his model. What role do resources play in the origins of power? Use an example to support your argument.


Mann and Friedl both discuss the sources of power in their respective writings. They compare especially when discussing the economic part of Mann’s IEMP model and the necessity of investment in Friedl’s theory. Resources, in both cases, are key factors in determining the origins of power.

Within Mann’s description of economic power, he mentions the circuit of praxis, a combination of production, distribution, exchange, and consumption. This entire cycle, which, according to Mann’s model, contributes to economic power by its satisfaction of human needs, is an investment of some resource that contributes to an individual’s power, as Friedl states. A dominant class forms, which is able to take control over that cycle, and they obtain the most economic power. This is because they, as one would assume, invest the most resources into the market. The dominant class becomes the dominant class by investing their own time, money, and effort to understand the market, form business relationships, acquire stock, and create start-up companies, thereby putting themselves into a position of power. Following Friedl’s model, these people that invest their energy into the market, receive some return, and this comes in the form of dominance and power in the economic model that Mann describes. One’s resources are the key to obtaining power; with more resources to invest, the potential for power is higher.

Even those within the circuit of praxis, that are not part of the dominant class, receive, to a smaller degree, some power. A person within the production step invests their time and effort to manufacture a good, and receives a return, most likely in the form of a paycheck, which gives them some spending power. A company in the distribution step sells their products to retailers and receive money, again, meaning economic power. Retailers in the exchange step sell the product to consumers, receiving money, and, therefore, receiving economic power. Buyers in the exchange step spend money for the product, investing in something that may better their life in some way, giving them some boost in general power. The whole process of satisfying human needs, that is summarized by Mann’s idea of economic power, follows Friedl’s guideline of power stemming from some resource, whether it be money, time, or some physical item, being invested in order to receive something, a favor, money, or even loyalty, in return.

An example of the dominant class, proving the necessity of resources in the pursuit of power, can be seen in our current President. As a prominent being in America’s economy, he rose to that position of power through the investment of his own money, time, and effort. He was able to obtain money to invest into the creation of companies, entertainment mediums, and the stock market. The time and effort he invested into the maintenance of these entities, solidified his position as a business executive. Through his great amount of resources, and careful investment, President Trump was able to receive a great deal of power, serving as an excellent example of the necessity of resources to obtain power and be part of a dominant class.



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