“Economic power is exercised by means of a positive, by offering men a reward, an incentive, a payment, a value; political power is exercised by means of a negative, by the threat of punishment, injury, imprisonment, destruction. The businessman’s tool is values; the bureaucrat’s tool is fear” — Ayn Rand
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Ayn Rand is contrasting economic and political power in this quote. She argues that in business or the free market, power is exercised through positive means such as offering value to others in the form of goods, services or rewards that incentivize people.
However, political power operates through negative or coercive means like threats of punishment, harm, or forceful control over people. Her view is that business relies on voluntary exchange of values to benefit all parties, while bureaucracy and government rely on instilling fear of penalties to get people to comply with their rules and demands.