Political science: Nations, States, Rank, and Power

1. Discuss the differences among the concepts of nation, country, state, government, and nation-state. Examine the growth in the number of nation-states in the international community since 1648. Discuss the proliferation of states since World War II. Consider the large number of nations in relation to the relatively small number of nation-states. Consider how nation-states are evolving. Are they likely to become large regions or associations of states, or to devolve along linguistic and ethnic lines?
Differences among nation, country, state, government and nation state concepts
Nation, country, state and nation-state concepts are used to describe geographical sovereign territorial units. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably but usually they have varying meaning. The term nation is used to describe a group of people sharing common culture who are tightly held together by their common practices. This concept has a different meaning when compared with a state which is a term used to describe a political entity that is self governed. A country is a concept that can be used to describe the geographical region of a territory. It is at times used to describe the political distribution of an independent state (Bates, 48) . Generally, the concept of a country has a meaning that can be related with a government, state and a nation. The concept nation-state is used to describe a group of homogenous people sharing common religious, historical and language elements who have their own state. In some cases, a nation-state may be used to describe a group of multicultural society sharing common culture such as the United States which shares the American culture. The government concept is used to describe political unit organization that has powers to control the public (Linz, 27). A government develops public policies that it uses to control its member’s actions. A government can be used to describe local, national or even international administrative powers.
Since 1648 nation-states such as France, Germany and Japan have grown in different aspects (Lee, 71). The concept nation-state started gaining popularity in the 1600 when specific regions especially in Europe started working towards protecting their cultural beliefs. In 1648 most nation-states in Europe were experiencing separate growth. After the signing of the Treaty of Westphalia the states stopped supporting people with similar religion or cultural beliefs but rather the people started recognising the territorial jurisdictions only. Some of the nation states that developed due to this concept include the Germany and France.
Just after the out break of World War II, nations in different parts of the country formed unions which lead to the emergence of a state. These nations came together to protect their territories. After World War II these nations signed a proliferation treaty to remain as a state. The United States of America and the soviet unions are some of the states that were formed using this concept (Bates, 49).
In most parts of the world, the territories can be classified as nations rather than nation states. One reason for the large number of nation rather than nation-states is because it develops governing laws and systems that are fairly applicable to different communities. On the other hand, nation states are comparatively small because they develop unique government laws and system and even regulations that each member within the nation state is required to adhere to. Initially, the development of nation state was as a result of state of nature. Means of production and religious groups promoted the formation of nation states (Linz, 57). This concept has however evolved and currently territory sovereignty is used to describe a nation state. However there are high chances of most nations coming together to form states association especially due to the impact of globalization.
2. Discuss the difficulties of measuring power among the nation-states of the international system. Is Ray Cline’s conceptual formula a realistic one in a world of nuclear proliferation and militarized states? What components of Cline’s formula are most relevant in the power equation of a nation-state? What is a superpower? What is a middle power?
Difficulties of measuring power among the nation states of the international system
Most nation states use the concept of unipolarity when measuring power. However, this concept is faced with difficulties especially in the international systems which are not only influenced by power distribution but also states influence. International influence of nation states on economic, cultural and military makes it hard to measure power among nation states.
Ray Cline conceptual formula of power potential is not a realistic one in a nation under nuclear proliferation and militarized states. His formula of measuring power is not a realistic one because the concepts used in the formula may not always give positive results as expected in the conceptual formula. For instance, a superior country’s power may not always affect the power and actions of the smaller countries. In a world of nuclear proliferation and militarized states, power is not the sole policy determinant as indicated in Ray Cline’s conceptual formula.
Components in Clines formula that are most relevant in power equation of a nation state include C and W and to a small extend E (Guy, 234). Nation states equate their power based on the state’s population or territory and to a certain extend based on their economic capability (Linz, 43). In addition national strategies (W) can also be used to equate nation-states power.
Super power and middle power
A superpower in a nation or state is the power by a state to influence events in the world wide scale for own interests in the international system. Generally, a country that has superpower has the power to influence projects in different regions of the world. During the World War II for instance the United States and the British Empire were some of the states classified to have super power (Allan, 01). Middle power describes the ability of a country of largely or moderately influence projects in an international system. Middle power enables a country to have a certain degree of influencing international relations in the globe but without complete dominance in any given area.
3. Discuss how the basic political organization of a nation-state can enhance or complicate its economic potential. What advantages do unitary states have over federal states? Discuss the various types of federal systems introduced in the chapter. Which one most clearly resembles the unitary system and why?
The political organization of a nation state can enhance or complicate its economic potential based on the customs and regulations to govern the people. One strategy through which a political organization of a nation state can enhance its economic potential is through promoting the creation of infrastructure in order to facilitate trade and travel. Nation states political organizations such as in French have used this strategy to enhance economic potential (Lee, 84). Promotion of internal custom tolls by political organizations of a nation state can complicate its economic potential especially since it interferes with how the nation state conducts international businesses.
Advantages unitary states have over federal states
In a unitary state all its powers are based on the national capital unlike a federal state whose powers are shared by the central government and the state. As a resulted of undivided power a unitary state does not experience competition from different government sectors on power issues. Due to single source of power in unitary states, and reduced competition between the government and the states for power such states can easily regulate its commerce (Bates, 53). In addition, a unitary state enjoys simpler management of the state’s economy compared to a federal state since only a few people have the power on the state’s money unlike in a federal state.
Types of Federal systems
In this chapter coercive federalism, competitive federalism and permissive federalism systems have been discussed. In competitive federal system the government has the responsibility of downgrading the local government’s affairs. A coercive federal system on the other hand may allow the federal system to develop laws for the local governments. In a permissive federal system the federal government should permit powers and authorities for the local government (Guy, 176). Among the three federal systems described in this chapter, permissive federal system resembles the unitary system because the local government do not have any powers and authorities by themselves but rather work by the powers permitted to them by the federal government.
4. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the various types of economic systems employed among the world’s states. Suggest some of the ways that urbanization, industrialization, and communications alter political institutions. Is the GNP the best measure we can use to plot prosperity or economic decline? Discuss the political problems encountered by the trade-off between economic growth and sustainable environmental quality.
Types of economic systems and their advantages and disadvantages
There are over three types of economic systems practiced by the world states. The most common economic systems include the market economy, mixed and planned economy systems. In market economy systems the buyers and sellers are the key decision makers of the economy. State governments which use this economic system have minor role to play in regulating the state’s economy. One merit of this economic system is that it is least affected by political factors. In addition, this economy system provides equal competitive business opportunities thus lowering monopoly. However, this economic system may reduce the state’s development potential especially compared to the global market. A planned economy system allows the government to make all business decisions about production economy, distribution and prices (Lee, 37). One of the advantages of this form of market system is that the government can plan the state’s development strategy without interference from the market forces. However, this economic system is prone to political interference. Mixed economy uses the elements of both market and planned economy systems. The government and business partners have equal powers of regulating the state’s economic activities. This economic system is flexible thus development strategies can be alerted easily to meet the state’s interests (Guy, 213). However, this form of economic system can easily promote the formation of capitalism or socialist economic policies.
Ways urbanization, industrialization and communication alters political institutions
Political institutions are altered by industrialization, urbanization and communication systems because they are required to meet the policy challenges that develop due to transformation of these systems. Urbanization, communication and industrialization may interfere with civil rights, voting rights promote pluralism politics thus forcing political institutions to later their strategies to address these needs.
GNP in measuring economic decline or prosperity
Gross national product is one of the ways that can be used to measure a national income. This method measures the final value of expenditures of a state. This form is not the best measure in determining the economic prosperity or decline since it only factors incomes that are generated within the state and excludes income created outside the state. Thus this method of determining the economic status of a nation is not the best since it does not give the correct income generated figure was for a nation.
In most states, economic growth and sustainable environmental quality have a controversial relationship. The trade off between economic growth and sustainable environmental quality is faced with various political problems most of which are based on the need for economic growth rather than maintaining sustainable environment quality.
5. Is the military capacity of a state an accurate indicator of its ability to influence other states? What can be said about military power (hard power) vis-à-vis the totality of a state’s perceived strength? Identify the problems inherent in comparing national power on the basis of military indicators. Prepare a list of soft power strengths the state can cultivate to move from hard power towards peaceful strategies of resolving conflict.
Military capacity of a state is an accurate indicator of its capability to influence other states. Military capacity determines if a state can be classified as a superpower state or middle power states. In most states, the defence or military sector determines how powerful a state is especially in the international system. A state can use its military capacity to push other states to pursue its interests and goals. In addition, states with high military capacity can use it to punish any states that are non cooperative.
In most cases military power of a state can be used to describe the state’s totality of the state’s perceived strength. Hard power greatly determines the state’s perceived strength since it determines its ability to influence other states. One of the major problems of comparing national power with on military indicators basis is that it tends to overlook other aspects that are critical in determining the power of a state such as economic, political and cultural factors. For a nation to be considered as a powerful nation, it should not only have the potential of influence other states using military power but other forms of power such as economic. Both soft and hard power should be considered in determining a nation’s power. Economic and cultural powers are some of the soft power strengths that can be used by a state to cultivate peaceful strategies of resolving conflicts peacefully.
Chapter Four: Thinking about Government
1. Differentiate politics from government. Define the following 4 terms in relation to both definitions; (a) accountability, (b) constitutionalism, (c) popular sovereignty and (d) rule of law.
Politics and government
Politics is the process of managing the society through political institutions while government is a state’s institution that mainly creates and implements laws. While politics may involve everyone in a state the government involves only a few chosen people (Guy, 84). The government is formed as a by product of politics.
Accountability is a concept that uses governance and ethical aspects in formulating its meaning. The government and political members are for instance required to be accountable to members of the public. In a government or political environment accountability is used to imply that the members are answerable to the public or legislative bodies formed to represent the public interest. According to Bates (57), political and government accountability is mainly regulated using a statute or the state’s constitution
Constitutionalism in any state is used to address the problems that can be associated with the state’s constitution. Politics play a key role in constitutionalism by advocating for the implementation of the law system while the role of ensuring that the laws are obeyed role is vested on the government (Lee, 16).
Popular sovereignty
Popular sovereignty also common referred as sovereignty of people is a belief of legitimacy by a state that its will is vested on people’s consent. Political institutions thus according to this concept holds the legitimacy of the state. The government on the other hand according to the concept of popular sovereignty is a servant to the state (Bates, 58).
Rule of law
The rule of law is used to define specific procedures in a legal framework that must be complied with. Politics ensure that everyone is subject to the rule of law even in authority. The rule of law acts as the government’s master.
2. Discuss the most salient attributes of democratic, authoritarian, and totalitarian governments. Why is Canada thought to be a democratic state? What makes China a totalitarian regime? Name an African and South American state that would represent the model of authoritarianism described in this chapter.
Salient attributes of democratic, authoritarian, and totalitarian governments.
Democratic, authoritarian and totalitarian governments use varying governing systems and their political institutions are organized to exert power to the citizens to a certain degree. Each of these government types has specific salient attributes associated with it. For instance, one of the salient features of a democratic government is that it allows its people to elect their leaders fairly. In authoritarian government, one of the main characteristics include the political power is vested on the leaders of a political institutions rather than the people. The political leaders are thus unaccountable to the people (Guy, 46). Totalitarian most unique salient feature is that the people do not have any powers. The government in this form of government controls the life of its citizens in all aspects including political and economic matters.

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