The first dimension of power fits in with the pluralist view and states that there is an open, transparent system, while recognising that political resources are not distributed evenly, they are also not completely centralised with a small group of the elite. The real decision-making power i.e the power to vote on legislation, introduce new bills rests with political actors. However they are influenced by a number of other factors such as their constituents, lobbyists and pressure groups and I think that this view of power fails to highlight how the political agenda can be controlled or manipulated. Power is often exercised in a much more subtle way that the one dimensional view suggests.
Lukes second dimension of power is an elitist view of power. This view recognises the power we can see, like in the one dimensional view but also acknowledges that power is also involved when specific issues are left off the agenda in order to avoid conflict. The first dimension would only look at the apparently open discussion and the results of conflict over matters actually allowed onto the agenda, but miss the more subtle exercise of power (Lukes, 1974: 19).
Lukes describes the third dimension as being the “supreme and most insidious exercise of power”. I think a good example of this type of power in action is the way in which capitalists have manipulated the interests of the working classes to believe that capitalism is in fact in their best interest rather than communism. Through channels such as education and media the ruling class have been able to instil these values to the extent where people see no alternative.
I believe that this view of power best illustrates the society we live in today while the other two dimensions show a weaker type of power.