Power and Systems Transformation in a New World: Overview of the Topic

Transformation of powers and systems in the new world has been evidenced since the 21st century and many dimensions have been advanced to explain the change. Because of this transformation, many nation-states have emerged, some of which stand to date but others have collapsed out of the same pressures. However, preceding the emergence of nation-states, transformation of nation powers and systems led to the collapse of empires like the Roman Empire, Ottoman Empire and the likes (Shackman, 2010, p. 1).

The two major world wars are also characteristic of the change in power systems among wealthy nations and so far, they have been able to transform international relations through the creation of new ideologies and the inducement of change in world power.

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Transformation of power and systems in world politics partially incorporates elements like growth in democracy (which has been evidenced the world over since the 20th century); armed conflicts and issues to do with terrorism. However, these transformations incorporate a number of many other driving factors which will be further analyzed in this study.

Introduction

Since the creation of mankind and the development of government, the world has constantly been experiencing change. Every decade bears with it a different change in world political systems and countries continuously grow as a result of this unstoppable force. Basically, a change in political systems refers to a change in the institutional functions of a given country and partially, a change in its constitutional makeup (Andrain, 1994, p. 90).

With a change of these systems, a number of social, economic and political transformations are experienced, especially touching on aspects to do with education, health, welfare, industry, or even a country’s foreign policy with another nation (Coleman, 1975, p. 86).

These changes are usually propelled by a number of variable elements in international politics. Such elements include globalization, leadership change, evolution and revolution of the economy among many other factors (Andrain, 1994, p. 90). These forces (and many others) have worked over centuries to transform political systems each day.

However, one of the biggest driving forces in world political systems today is the transformation of the composition of the social economy. This affects the way most countries deal with the change in political systems across the spectrum but political systems are also affected by income disparities within the general populace; economic dependence and the poverty index of a nation (Andrain, 1994, p. 90).

This study analyzes the components affecting the transformation of power and systems of the world’s political systems, with a special reference to the factors driving the change and its potential impact on the country in question. Reference will also be made to existing political theories explaining the change, as well as how a change in political and power systems in world politics transforms existing world economies.

Economic Development

Economic development has been one of the leading drivers of change in the world’s political systems because it determines the distribution of power in world politics (Allied Publishers, 2010, p. 41). Some of the most influential nations in the world today trace their superiority from their robust economies, as can be evidenced from the case of America, which is one of the world’s superpowers, due to its strong economic power.

Britain has also over the decades commanded a lot of power in world politics, especially in the 17th, 18th and partially into the 19th century because of its strong economic makeup, as was characterized by the industrial revolution. In this context therefore, it is correct to say that the influence of world superpower nations can be easily traced to their strong economic strengths.

There is always a strong relationship between economic development, income distribution and citizen equality within any given nation because there is a chain-linked development course of these factors to a country’s social, economic and political parameters. This relationship can be explained by the linear theory which in Routledge (2010) states that “economic development leads to urbanization which leads to communication which leads to high levels of education, and in turn, leads to Democracy” (p. 51).

The linear theory through this analysis, perfectly explains why political systems change in the new world because, as it is evidenced on the world today, wealthy nations across the globe such as Japan, United States (US) and certain European countries, exhibit an almost equitable income distribution system than most developing nations; meaning that economic systems (which dictate income disparities) determine the strengths of nations in international circles of power.

Robert Mundt (cited in Routledge, 2010, p. 51), a political researcher, in the US affirms this statement by stating that:

“in advanced industrial nations the wealthiest ten percent of households receive about one quarter of the national income, while the poorest receive forty percent, and about twenty percent get only fifteen percent of the national income; in middle income countries like Brazil, the wealthiest ten percent gets forty-six percent of national income and the poorest forty percent get only eight percent.”

In some cases, the social economy can greatly spur political change, as can be evidenced in the case of Russia where the social system led to the collapse of communism in the state. In the past, the Russian political system was characterized by state-owned assets and many people believed in communal ownership of assets and in the operations of a central-owned government (Fitzpatrick, 2008, p. 3). This perception changed with the advent of a new socioeconomic order.

Nonetheless, the collapse of communism does not mean that the communist system was a failure, because in the past ten years or so (preceding the change), Russia and some communist economies were able to compete effectively with other world political powers in global politics, but as time went by, and economies revolutionized, it was quite hard for these regimes to keep up with capitalistic economies, and this necessitated a change in their systems of governance (since it was apparently too difficult to control their economies in the wake of stiff competition from capitalistic regimes) (Fitzpatrick, 2008, p. 3).

In fact, when analyzed in terms of their global competitiveness, communist products and services were of poor quality while their production was based on a need-basis because the efficiency level in production was very low (Fitzpatrick, 2008, p. 23). Basic necessitates like food and water also became very hard to access, and many people hard to wait long cues to get basic services, since everyone was entitled to the same services and nobody had more rights over another.

This situation created some form of social unrest because Russians started arguing with the government, about the provision of social amenities. In 1991, Russia went through the worst inflation in its history; brought about by the escalation of the incumbent situation, but later, the country changed its communist policies by establishing the Russian federation (Fitzpatrick, 2008, p. 13).

Urbanization

Urbanization is a great reason why political systems change, because with it, many people are forced to move from their rural homes into urban areas, to seek basic social amenities, or search for employment opportunities in cities. The biggest driver for this rural urban migration is the quest for a better life, for the migrants and their families as well.

With urbanization comes a number of changes in the sociopolitical makeup of a nation because there is bound to be a new population growth in cities and an increased need to plan for the accelerated use of infrastructure to cater for the building human population in cities. These concerns also bring a change in policies (Coleman, 1975, p. 86).

In the same light, as more people move to cities, more jobs are created and, many more industries are established, so that the entire social economy is in tandem with population growth.

A change in political systems is often evidenced in this case by the creation of new governments which are more critical on foreign policies and trade to cater for the increased global and local needs of its economy (for sustainable future development). As time goes by, these changes in political systems force the newly formed governments to resemble those of developed nations (Coleman, 1975, p. 86).

Revolutions

Revolutionary change has changed the world’s political systems, in the past, and even at present. It also still continues to shape how specific regimes in the world operate (Paynter, 1992, p. 1056). Strong examples of how revolutionary change affects countries’ political systems were evidenced in Russia and Germany.

After the First World War, many Russians believed that the revolution finally marked the end of imperialism and capitalism, because before the war, the country was dong well in terms of economic and social development, and even the people were generally happy with the state of affairs; however, the war changed the status quo (Fitzpatrick, 2008, p. 5).

The change was evidenced by Russia’s participation in the war because they went to fight Germany and as an aftermath to the conflict, the then government collapsed, as well as the economy.

This eventuality created a big dilemma for the then government because the collapse of the economy was unprecedented and they did not have a clue of what to do after that (Paynter, 1992, p. 1056).

Amid all this confusion, a group emerged, advancing the opinion that the economy had to be modernized and made more democratic, in tandem with Western forms of government, but in a strange twist of events, the leader of the moderate democrats went contrary to his agreement with Western regimes and instead brokered a peace agreement with Germany to end the Russian conflict with the European nation (Fitzpatrick, 2008, p. 5).

This marked the start of the Russian revolution and the creation of a new unity between Germany and Russia, to bring an end to capitalism and imperialism (Fitzpatrick, 2008, p. 1). After Russia became a communist regime, revolutionary change became more apparent, as can also be evidenced in the progression of China’s government, because the two share a lot of similarities, in that, China experienced a revolutionary change just like Russia, in the Maoism era (which was based on guerrilla tactics to liberate the people of China from oppressive regimes and empower the people) (White, 1993, p. 21).

In this revolution, Maoism emphasized a lot of importance on the views of the peasants because its proponents were majorly constituted of the peasant population; even though they failed to topple the government of the time (White, 1993, p. 21).

In this regard, communism became a typical characteristic of China’s government and it can also be evidenced today.

Britain is also another such country which was widely affected by revolutionary change but it stands unique to the other countries because its revolution not only affected its own self but also other nations across the globe. In this context, Great Britain got the infamous connotation as the “mother of all governments” across the globe because it is indeed the oldest government in existence and its revolution as a government has been studied and emulated by many regimes across the globe.

In fact, components of today’s democratic governments (such as the legislature, Judiciary and the Executive), were evidenced in Great Britain, as far back as 1066 (Andrain, 1994, p. 90).

The famous Bill of rights which is characteristic of many constitutions around the globe was also part of Great Britain’s revolution which guaranteed the right to freedom, right to life, (among other rights) for everyone. Over the years, the country hasn’t had many changes after its tremendous political changes, due to many reasons, which some researchers identify as the decline of the grand old party plus the economic change the country is currently experiencing; however, despite the relatively low economic performance of Great Britain in recent years (when compared to other emerging countries), the country has still managed to stand as one of the most stable economies in the world, and indeed one of the most powerful nations globally (Andrain, 1994, p. 90).

Conclusion

Many countries have had various types of changes in political systems, but presently, there seems to be a stronger inclination to the Western form of government by many regimes. Even though many theories have been advanced to show that democracy is a commendable solution to world problems, the concept still has its own challenges.

Currently, communism remains an unviable idea; going by the way history has treated communist regimes but China stands as the strongest communist regime and it has not yet shown any indication of changing into a democratic regime (Lawrance, 1998, p. 2).

Overall, political change has been greatly spurred by various types of socioeconomic factors but the common types of changes are revolutionary change, economic development and urbanization. In most cases, social unrest or anxieties, especially with regards to the provision of social amenities; unemployment; corruption; welfare; education; health and such like parameters, spur political reforms.

As countries evolve, people’s attitudes also change with the pace of reforms and nations which command a stronger power in political and economic standings must also have a stronger nationalistic feeling among its citizens. For instance, the happier the people are with their governments, the more they are likely to participate in nationalistic projects and support their government. When such sentiments are overwhelming, political change is likely to be experienced.

However, there are certain instances where political change is brought about by feelings of contempt because people are normally outraged by slow pace of reforms or poor observance of human rights and this is likely to lead to a revolt against most governments and consequently lead to a change in political systems. Transformation of power systems therefore comes about because of a number of reasons, cutting across the board, but all of them lead to a nation’s prosperity or failure in the long run.

References

Allied Publishers. (2010). Political Systems of the World. New York & London: Allied Publishers.

Andrain, C. (1994). Comparative Political Systems: Policy Performance and Social Change. New York: M.E. Sharpe.

Coleman, S. (1975). Measurement and Analysis of Political Systems: A Science Of Social Behavior. New York: Stephen Coleman.

Fitzpatrick, S. (2008). The Russian Revolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lawrance, A. (1998). China under Communism. London: Routledge.

Paynter, J. (1992). Encyclopedia of Government and Politics. London: Routledge.

Routledge. (2010). Environmental NGOs in World Politics. London: Routledge.

Shackman, G. (2010). Brief Review of Trends in Political Change: Freedom and Conflict. Retrieved 5 December, 2010, from: http://gsociology.icaap.org/report/polsum.html

White, G. (1993). Riding the Tiger: The Politics of Economic Reform in Post-Mao China. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

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