Human behavior is determined by a number of factors, among them power politics. Power can be defined as the ability to make individuals or entities do what they otherwise would not have done. Power goes together with authority and influence, but slight difference exists between them in that, whereas power is the ability to effect change, its legitimacy might be questionable. On the other hand, authority is legitimate while influence is a broader concept of both power and authority. States protects their interests and sovereignty by threatening one another with political, military or economic aggression. In this reflective paper, I will closely examine how power politics negatively impacts on the social and economic development within a country.
In order to understand and comprehend the world international relations, one needs to closely examine some of the reasons why nations interact with each other. It is evident that most of the interactions between nations are aimed at benefiting the member states. As noted in Wight, 2002 book power politics has continued to dominate relations among states. The relationship though has majored mostly on economic power, this is because monetary and investment dealings have proved to be the key character leading to the interactions. The rich nations in most cases have always exploited the poor nations thus widening the gap between the rich and the poor. It is therefore very difficult to separate international politics with the economic matters. A significant growth in the political relations among states is mostly measured through economic or military potential of a nation.
There have been considerable human injustices among nations, which are solely contributed by power politics. Some of these injustices are aimed at wealth maximization. Actually, the developed nations have always used their economic capacity to further exploit the developing nations. Moreover, Multinational companies which are owned by the developed nations have dominated most economic activities in the developing countries. As a result, the move has made it extremely difficult for the indigenous firms to flourish. The intensified competition established by these multinational corporations limits the performance of the small and newly established firms. The wealthy nations therefore continue to prosper at the expense of the poor and developing nations. The large international cartels also collaborate much with the wealthy and powerful class, who are mandated in safeguarding their interests. Since these people are key decision makers in their countries, the cartels use them to further their economic advancements.
Distribution imbalances among the citizens within a given country have also been observed. With the already set bureaucracies, the resources end up not reaching the bottom level. This is mainly because the distribution of capabilities is skewed in such a way that the super ordinate actors are favored (Goldstein, 1991, p. 32). It is because of these imbalances that gap between the rich and the poor grows day-by-day. The power politics which surrounds a given population put them in a considerably better position as resources are adequately provided. The wealthy people also end up occupying political seats in almost all nations of the world. By so doing their power and influence in national affairs are increased. The group also establishes infrastructures which favors their lineage and guarantees power retention. Despite the adoption of democracy in most nations, particular group of people continues to benefit from the political leadership. The sons and daughters of the people who used to rule the region still stand in a better position than the other residents. The move makes it hard for the young people from the humble background to equally compete for the same offices (Pfeffer, 1994, p. 247). Power politics is therefore a discriminative leadership style where the “haves” continuously deprive the “have not” in the society. The wealthy class ensures that they maintain influence over the less fortunate members. Their selfish interests are always directed towards boosting their economic status, which consequently earn them more reputation to the people below them. This group of people has synchronized the national polices to suit their personal interests. They also ensure that the nation provides good environment, which supports their economic, political and social activities. Lengthy procedures dominate the business sector, which limits the small scale business people. Unless one is well connected with those in office, extreme delays which are meant to frustrate the new comers are evident. More capital therefore needs to be accumulated before planning to invest in most countries of the world. This is because the current bureaucracy is set in favor of the powerful and wealthy class in the society (Roy, 2003, p. 87).
Since the injustices brought about by the power politics are entrenched in the country’s constitutions, it make’s it hard to practically revert the condition. A lot of deliberations need to be undertaken in order to reach the amendment consensus. The clear connections between the key decision makers and the multinational corporations limit such amendments. The foreign policies of many nations are therefore set to favor developed and wealthy nations. Policies which encourages interactions between various nations are established, but only when a mutual relation exists between them. Whenever no gain is perceived, regulations and checks are reinforced to discourage the relations between them. It could be wise if a mutual relationship always dominate the interactions between nations. But some nations seem to benefit more than the others whenever a relation is established between them. For instance the developed nations always stand to benefit more than the developing nations. This is because their financial and technological capacity helps them exploit the scarce resources in these nations. They also extend financial assistance to them tying them to their rules and conditions. The financial advancement brings in the issue of dependency among nations (Farmer, 1999, p. 81).
The power politics has also led many developing countries to constantly depend upon the developed nations for their economic progress. This economic dependency has greatly hampered government operations, and hence sovereignty of nations. The multinational corporations such as the United Nations and World Bank also extend such financial assistance to the needy countries. The corporations not only possess a lot of power, but also influence the political decisions within the subjects. The many conditions which are mainly attached to financial loan, hinders the economic progress of developing nations. Such conditions include how to spend the finances and the kind of leadership that the country should adopt in order to qualify for their support. The loan is accompanied by high interest rates which further worsen their economic positions (Farmer, 1999, p. 84).
Devine, 1997 pg 2 notes that there has been a gradual development, which aims at changing the existing social classes in the various nations around the world. The changes are directed towards reducing the domination of a particular group of people in the country’s activities. It is also evident that the changes has only be possible among the developed countries, while it’s yet to be realized in the less developed and the developing nations. The traditional social classes discouraged the transparency in recruitment activities, something which negatively impacted on the output generated (Mukherjee, 1983, p. 15-17). Both the government and the private firms have therefore suffered due to this shortcoming. There have been efforts aimed at changing this scenario in order to maximize the output generated by the recruited labor force. Equal opportunities have gradually been presented to all applicants. Education considerations rather than family background have positively contributed towards social mobility. The move has therefore continuously weakened the traditional social classes, which neglected equality. The newly advocated type of social class should encourage openness and transparency during the recruitment processes both in the government and private institutions.
Devine, 1997 further explains that though the social classes are said to be slowly dying the impending death is premature. This is because there is a growing gap between the rich and the poor in almost every nation of the world. The presence of extreme poverty class of people and extremely wealthy people approves the continued dominations of social classes. In order to fully do away with the social classes which still dominate, the government should first ensure that resources are equitably distributed among its resident. Continued financial support to the poor in order to improve their economic capacities should be encouraged. The government should also ensure that provision of basic services such as, health and education is relatively affordable to its residents (Boykin, 1995, p. 37). There is also a need of changing the national culture, where every citizen can successfully vie for a political post, without considering his or her family background. For these factors to be successfully implemented within a country system of leadership, constitutional amendment needs to be done. This is because some of the above factors are the way they are because the constitution supports them. For instance the high and expensive health and medical facilities in the United States have all along been supported by the constitution. Constitutional amendments are still being pushed through in order to change the private domination in the medical and health care sector. The health care reform aims at ensuring that the federal government offers affordable medical services to its residents. The reform also aims at ensuring accessibility of health services by all something which was not there before. The affordable and easily accessible health care services will contribute much in improving health status of the average and poor Americans (Harrington, Estes & Crawford, 2004, p. 205).Until when equality in resource distributions, education and health services will be guaranteed for all residents within a nation, social classes still a reality. The social classes together with economic dependencies among nations explain the role of power politics. The unfair recruitment practices also show how the wealthy and powerful class influences the job market, limiting the qualified poor applicants. In order to prevent future rebellions from the youth, the government ought to amend some of the constitutional clauses which allow social injustices amongst it people. The interests of all residents in a given country should be protected by the country’s constitution.
In the recent past, the American diplomatic history has attempted to solve the power problem in debates, the way of making decisions and the politics of force and power, such attempts and decisions have been instrumental in shaping the foreign policy for decades, until mid of the 19th century, American diplomacy had assumed distinctive and tradition always of using power, which was altered but not destroyed. The American foreign relations are complicated by Americans' contradictory sense of themselves as victims of Old Word power politics that is they are vulnerable to imperial machinations and abuse of power from abroad. They as well saw themselves as an aggressive, powerful people destined to expand into "the West" forming new American empire." Their decisions impacted on the foreign policy greatly. In an attempt to gain their influence Americans planed for diplomacy so as to influence nations great and small and to establish foreign ties by granting access to the riches of the nation's commerce.
To effectively apply power in politics, democracy which means “the rule of the people?” must be the guiding factor in a government. It includes equality and freedom. All citizens should be equal before the law and must have equal access to power, and freedom is secured by legitimized rights and liberties. If any democracy is not carefully legislated, to ensure even distribution of political power with balances, then accumulation of power can become harmful to the democracy itself.
The question of gender and politics is one of the most discussed issues currently; women activists in any part of the world have constantly questioned political inequality among the sexes by raising fundamental questions about the issues of male-dominance in democratic system in which women find themselves formally or informally excluded from political power although their have been attempts to shift focus on empowerment, rights, social and political equality and discrimination among women. Women in different parts of the world face different problems and confront different challenges and they strike a common tone: in that the all modern societies are governed by males and that the male dominance does occur naturally but is simply a cultural phenomenon that must change that must change to eliminate discrimination against women in the political arena.
In conclusion, power and politics go hand in hand in the business world today, to gaining power often depends on the ability to read and to understand the politics of the day. Upon gaining power, leaders utilize politics to reach long term goals and visions they have always wished to achieve even if it is on the expense of other people who may stand on their way. Depending on the style of leadership, personal agendas and other interests may come into play. Although, the personal agendas are not always a bad thing, they are generally set forth with limited perspective and can potentially result in catastrophe with far reaching effects on the residents. The effects of these personal agendas are that they restrict the free flow of communication and constructive criticism may not be accepted. In most cases, personal agendas are a major contributor to the negative aspects of power because they make them greedy. However, there is always much more to be gained than lost with regard to power this is because power provides a solid structure and a clear expectation as they strive to please those under their control. But when, power is used effectively, appropriate politics can be set into place so as to obtain the desired goals and objectives.