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The Power Transition: a Retrospective and Prospective Evaluation Summary

The Power Transition: A Retrospective and Prospective Evaluation Kugler and Organski *Introduced in 1958 *Gauge impact of Power Transition Theory on the field of international politics through: 1. Has the new construct, model, idea, or theory provided an explanation more powerful and more parsimonious than what existed previously? 2. Has this way of looking at the problem proven more valid than the alternatives? 3. Has the new idea influences the creation of other ideas and the undertaking of new work? 4. Are such extensions successful?

Rejects 3 fundamental assumptions of the realist angle: 1. International system is governed by few rules (anarchy). PTT: no anarchy, but hierarchically organized in a manner similar to the domestic political system. Actors accept position 2. PTT: Rules for governing domestic and international were fundamentally similar. But there is no enforceable international law. Constant competition for scarce resources. 3. International competition driven by potential net gains accrued from conflict or cooperation. -balance of power: max power/ power transition: max net gains *Perspective of hierarchy Dominate nation at top of pyramid (not us, before England) -Great powers: cannot match dominate now, but may in the future. Eventual challenger to dominate included -Middle powers -Small powers -Colonies *Power is a critical variable shaping the way international order functions. (not power-max model) *Satisfaction with the way goods are distributed is determinate of how smoothly the international order operates. * Nations supporting the international order ally with dominant nation. -alliances are stable and reliable instruments. Cannot be easily altered short run. If dissatisfied nations are weak they can do nothing. Rarely if the dissatisfied nation is a great power that can catch up to dominate nation can they challenge. -peace is threatened when challengers seek to establish a new place for themselves in the international order. *Conditions for a peaceful international order exist when the dominant nation has a large power advantage over any other single nation or combo of nations. * Today, supporters of international order and US dominant = Germany, England, Japan, France, and Italy. Soviet Union and China are potential challengers. instability is likely only during periods of relative parity among potential competitors. -growing in power more rapidly than the dominant. Dominant then fears the challenger will: 1. Surpass the dominant country 2. become unwilling to accept a subordinate position 3. Challenge leadership and rules of the international order. **Competition for dominance in the international order is finally joined when the dissatisfied anticipates greater benefits and privileges if a conflict is successfully waged than if the status quo is preserved. Dominant will prepare to resist. World Wars rooted in this. BALANCE OF POWER: nations could not attack each other because when they have equal power, the cost of war increases -goal: max power *POWER TRANSITION: shift from primary>secondary>tertiary production. Fertility and Mortality from high to low. Political system mobilizes resources. Population growth rate. – accept hierarchy of power. *TRANSITION PROCESS 1. Power potential: under developed country. All power lies in the future. 2. Power maturity: fully developed. Then slows down in overall growth. If larger, may overtake the country that developed before. 3. Overtaking: hegemonic stability theory.

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Hegemon declines because of the burden placed upon it. *EMPIRICAL EVALUATONS -Odds of war 50% -preponderance provides the most stable condition for the international order. -# of major wars so small that chance may have provoked. -U. s. emergence as dominant attributed to its fast and continued growth for several decades. *IMPLICATIONS -Challenger attack after it has more power than dominant. -direct measure of governmental capacity into power equation permits an accurate account of outcomes of major wars. -contrast to Deterrence: nuclear weapons have no changed the calculus of war and peace.

Does not include that war costs have obviously multiplied. -If states would be better off with status quo there is no reason to challenge. -weaker cannot challenge without high cost, and stronger has no incentive. -incentives heighten with growth of challenger. -war may be waged if both sides have equal opportunity to gain. *PTT states that high costs attached to nuclear conflicts do not reduce the danger because it is the marginal calculations of gains and losses that lead to challenges. *POWER AND POLITICAL CAPACITY: -national power was rooted in the development of socioeconomic and political resources.

Power= Economic Productivity per Capita X Population -is the political system more productive, more effective, and more efficient than another in its ability to extract resources for its own ends? *Relative Political Capacity is a first attempt to approximate the level of political performance through the use of revenue data. -the fiscal system is a transformer. Power= (Economic Production per Capita X Population) X Relative Political Capacity -Tests set to determine is one could “postdict” the outcome of wars among developed and developing nations (Korea, Vietnam, and Middle East).

Improve WW1 and WW2. ^Successful in both *POLITICAL CAPACITY: DEMOGRAPHIC TEST -Could not tell what effects the growth of the political system had on fertility and mortality. -fundamental changes in one sector cause change in another. ***An equal distribution of power among key contenders is the necessary condition that brings about major international conflict and that when power is asymmetrically distributed, peace is assured.


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