… is from page 193 of the 1993 Liberty Fund edition of the J.F. Huntington translation of Bertrand de Jouvenel’s 1945 volume, On Power:
If the natural tendency of power is to grow, and if it can extend its authority and increase its resources only at the expense of the notables, it follows that its ally for all time is the common people. The passion for absolutism is, inevitably, in conspiracy with the passion for equality.
People such as Thomas Piketty and Paul Krugman worry about accumulations of material wealth. I worry about accumulations of power. Bill Gates’s ability to force me to buy his company’s software does not increase with the number of dollars in his financial portfolio. Government’s ability to force me to do its bidding does indeed increase with the amount of power in its possession.