Documenting the process by which government and controlling majorities have grown increasingly powerful and tyrannical, Bertrand de Jouvenel demonstrates how democracies have failed to limit the powers of government. This development Jouvenel traces all the way back to the days of royal absolutism, which established large administrative bureaucracies and thus laid the foundation of the modern omnipotent state.
On Power is an important work that Professor Angelo M. Petroni of the Luigi Einaudi Center for Research in Torino, Italy, has said is "simply a book that no serious scholar of political science or political philosophy can afford to ignore." Bertrand de Jouvenel was born in Paris in 1903; he traveled widely, becoming an astute observer of British and American institutions. Later in life, he was an author and teacher, first publishing On Power in 1945. Jouvenel died in 1987. Among his other books, besides The Ethics of Redistribution, are Sovereignty: An Inquiry into the Political Good (1957) and The Pure Theory of Politics (1963).