There are various theories about the notion of power. It seems to me that the most interesting notion is the following: the capacity of an individual of influencing the behaviour of other people without physical or legal coercion instruments. In modern democracies this is the most important characteristic of power. In this sense we can say that A has power on B. Indeed the power of A on B is based on A capacity of manipulating B emotions. In general B does not have advantages from the actions imposed to him by A. On the contrary in general A has advantages from the actions he imposes to B. This notion is probably near what Max Weber calls “charismatic power”. Often this kind of power is based either on the moral convictions of B or on the attractiveness of A. The question is: is this kind of power morally acceptable?
There are at least seven possibilities: the coercion of A on B brings:
1. advantages both to A and B.
2. disadvantages both to A and B.
3. Indifference both to A and B.
4. Advantages to A and disadvantages to B.
5. Advantages to B and disadvantages to A.
6. Advantages to A and indifference to B.
7. Advantages to B and indifference to A.
Since the exertion of this kind of power involves necessarily a manipulation, all situations in which there are either disadvantages or indifference for B are not acceptable. So only cases 1., 5., 7. could be considered. Marxist politic is based on the legitimacy of these three kinds of manipulations. Perhaps we can accept them, but it is almost impossible that who have power in our sense does not use it as well in more useful for himself ways.