I am quite a structuralist when it comes to power: in my view elites don’t use power, power uses elites. The common theme of human history has been a struggle for power based on our atavistic, primal fear, almost panic and the concequent craving for instant, short-term security. These actions create organizations and structures that in turn shape the individual actions and interact chaotically and unpredictably with each other. That’s how at the core of any human institution are the impulses of a permanently scared animal. Reason and enlightenment have had some limited effect towards rational, measured behaviour, but so far any real progress has been minimal.
So, power is structural and behaves structurally but depends on primal human impulses. On the individual level we concequently see how it continually keeps ending up in the wrong hands. The best do lack much conviction, as they are rational and base their actions on doubt and probability. The worst instead are full of passionate intensity and act accordingly: decisively and aggressively. And end up with the short term perceived security, short term power. Some institutions do curb this pattern and let reason prevail to an extent at least (rarely, if ever, fully). Most don’t. And so we stagger on.