(from L. potere, to be able). To have the capability, time, or opportunity to carry something out. The faculty and jurisdiction to order or to do something; authorization to carry something out; the forces of a state; the supreme governing and coercive authority of a state. In political life, the designation for the group of economic, social and political leaders who make up the ruling class of a state. In antiquity the term p. was used as a synonym for influence, authority, control, force, empire; in the early twentieth century, as the capacity of a person to impose their will on others. Today, p. is defined in terms of the relationships of dependence of certain social unities upon others. The powers of the State, based on the theory of the separation of powers, are: constitutional p., which relates to the organization of the State, the writing and amending of its constitution through a representative constituent assembly or referendum; legislative p. which resides in the authority to make and amend the laws, and which belongs to an elected representative body or parliament; executive p., which is responsible for the governing of the State and the enforcing of the laws, and belongs to the government formed by the monarch or president and/or legislative body of a State; and finally judicial p., which carries out the administration of justice and corresponds to the justice system. There is also a moderating p. such as that exercised by the head of State. P. and fear provide the basis for the irrational form of authority that is used to prohibit all criticism – an authority built on inequality. In Oriental despotism and modern totalitarian regimes alike, the p. of the state has been absolute and deplorable. The most profound thinkers have always dreamed of ending all p. imposed on human beings, reserving for human beings only the p. over things. Today the exercise of p. is not reserved for the State alone, but the latter appears as a mere intermediary or executor of the intentions of the great concentrations of economic p. (the Para-state). On the other hand, the theory that explains the emergence, development, transfer and disarticulation of p. is not limited to a traditional sociopolitical vision, but considers the different “niches” of p. such as technology, communications, population distribution in urban and rural areas, population concentrations in the peripheral areas or in centers of decision-making, and the manipulation of “culture” in general (language, social customs, religion, science, art and recreation).