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Power in international relations is similar to what
wealth is to economics. This means
1. Power and wealth are relative concepts
2. There is no absolute power just as there is no
absolute wealth
3. Power and wealth are social conventions, their
measurement depends on social circumstances
4. Power and wealth are dynamic; their content and
attributes change over time
5. Both power and wealth are means, not goals in and
of themselves
1.
1. Power as control over resources
Power as control over resources. Power is a bundle of tangible
and quantifiable resources; the more resources in the bundle
(or a more balanced combination of resources), the more power
a given unit has.
2.
2. Power as control over actors
Power as control over actors. Power refers to the ability of a
given actor A to influence the behavior of other actors (B, C,…)
according to A’s will, even if the required behavior of other
actors contradicts the will or interests of B, C, … The more
other actors behave in accordance with A’s will, the more
power A has.
3.
3. Power as control over outcomes
Power as control over outcomes. The ability of an actor to
increase the likelihood of desired outcomes and to reduce the
likelihood of undesired outcomes. This conception sees power
as the capacity of a given actor to affect its environment.
Due to the difficulty to measure and assess power in terms of
control over actors or control over outcomes, it is commonly
assumed by both scholars and practitioners that:
Control over Resources
Control over Outcomes
Control over Actors
This assumption underlies policies of force design as well
as influence attempts both via positive inducements and
via sanctions. Yet it may be empirically tenuous
Physical Power Political Power
Psychological Power
Physical Power
• The sum total of the resources available at
the disposal of the state’s authority for the
pursuit of national goals
• Physical power usually denotes a potential
pool of resources for international
interactions—this potential may not be
actually realizable under all circumstances.
• Most components of this pool of resources
are tangible and measurable quantities.
Demographic
Total population
Urban population
Age pyramid of
population
Educational/technol
ogical quality
indices of
population
Economic
GDP, Per-capita GDP
Natural resources
Economic efficiency
(components of GDP)
Economic indicators
(growth rates,
inflation,
unemployment,
balance of payments)
Military
Military
expenditures
Military personnel
Military burden
Type, quantities,
and quality of major
weapon systems,
Quality measure of
armed forces
Correlates of War (COW) Composite Index of
National Capabilities (CINC)
• Three dimensions: Demographic, Economic, and Military
• Demographics: Total and urban population
• Economics: Iron-steel production and energy consumption
• Military: Military expenditures and military personnel.
• Each state’s capabilities on each variable is measured as the
state’s share of the system’s capabilities. For example the
relative population of state x is defined as
State X’s population
World’s population
Likewise the state’s relative military expenditure is defined as:
State X’s military expenditures
Total world’s military expenditures
5
1
000
,
000
,
000
,
6
000
,
000
,
200
,
1
'
1999
1999
1999 =
=
=
Population
World
Population
s
China
CPR
For example, China’s population ratio in 1999 is:
6
x x x x x x
X
TPR UPR ISR ECR MPR MER
CINC
+ + + + +
=
Thus the composite index of national capabilities for a given
state (x) is the average of its share of world’s resources over
these six variables: Total Population Ratio (TPR), Urban
Population Ratio (UPR), Iron Steel Ratio (ISR), Energy
Consumption Ratio (ECR), Military Expenditures Ratio
(MER), and Military Personnel Ratio (MPR)
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
CINC
1816 1824 1832 1840 1848 1856 1864 1872 1880 1888 1896 1904 1912 1920 1928 1936 1944 1952 1960 1968 1976 1984 1992 2000
Year
Capabilities of Major Powers, 1816-2001
UK France Russia China US
Political power refers to the ability of the government to
extract human and material resources from the population for
the purpose of accomplishing national goals. This is the
capacity of the political system to convert its potential
capabilities into actual capability.
A. F. K. Organski and Jacek Kugler. The War Ledger (1980).
Offered a formula for measuring national power, as:
National Capacity = GNP × Political Capacity
According to Organski and Kugler, GNP is the single best
predictor of potential power (as control over resources).
Political capacity is a multiplier of physical power; it
determines which percentage of the actual resources that a
state produces are actually available to the government.
Organski and Kugler offer a definition of political capacity in
terms of tax extraction ratio, that is:
Political Capacity (PC) =
ActualTax Extraction
PotentialTax Extraction
Another way of measuring political capacity is as:
Military Personnel
PC
Total Population
=
0
100,000
200,000
300,000
400,000
500,000
600,000
700,000
800,000
900,000
1,000,000
GDP
($
Mil.
1960
1962
1964
1966
1968
1970
1972
1974
1976
1978
1980
1982
1984
1986
1988
1990
1992
1994
1996
1998
2000
2002
Year
Economic Performance of States in the Middle East, 1960-2003
Jordan Syria Egypt Israel Saudi Arabia Iran
0
0.02
0.04
0.06
0.08
0.1
0.12
0.14
0.16
0.18
0.2
Mil
Pers/Population
1960 1962 1964 1966 1968 1970 1972 1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000
Year
Political Capacity (Mil. Personnel/Population)
Egypt Iran Israel Syria Jordan Saudi Arabia
0
2000
4000
6000
8000
10000
12000
14000
National
Capacit
1960
1962
1964
1966
1968
1970
1972
1974
1976
1978
1980
1982
1984
1986
1988
1990
1992
1994
1996
1998
2000
Year
National Capacity of Middle East States
Egypt Iran Syria Jordan Saudi Arabia Israel
The extent to which a state possesses psychological power
is the size of the shadow that is cast by its political and
physical power.
According to this conception, a state maximizes its power
the less it is forced to apply physical power.
The major component of psychological power is a state’s
reputation, that is how other actors perceive the state’s
capabilities and its determination to use them (and to incur
costs) in the pursuit of its national interests.
Reputation is acquired through historical experience. It
has to do with the state’s record of behavior in situations
that are similar to the present situation in which the
exercise of power may be required.
Past behavior and its outcomes suggest how a state might
behave in future situations.
Other factors that affect a state’s reputation include
domestic cohesion, a demonstrated will to suffer, leaders’
popularity, and so forth.
There are two basic versions of the paradox of power:
1. A strong state loses a conflict or war against a substantially
weaker opponent, despite a significant disparity in military
capabilities.
Control over resources does not correlate with control over
outcomes.
2. A strong state loses a conflict or war against a substantially
weaker opponent, because it has considerable higher level
of military capability.
Control over resources causes
causes loss of control over outcomes
Explanations of the Paradox of Power
„ Incorrect measurement of power: Reliance on
measurement based on physical capabilities.
Measures do not incorporate political and/or
psychological aspects of power (e.g., Organski and
Kugler).
„ There is a gap between capabilities and resolve. A
stronger state may not have the resolve and will to
suffer for a marginal objective (Spiegel, Ray).
„ Not all types of capabilities are fungible for all
kinds of situations (Baldwin).
„ Excessive capabilities causes inferior actors to
collude against the superior adversary (Maoz).

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Power in International Relations (Pol 5)

  • 1.
  • 2. Power in international relations is similar to what wealth is to economics. This means 1. Power and wealth are relative concepts 2. There is no absolute power just as there is no absolute wealth 3. Power and wealth are social conventions, their measurement depends on social circumstances 4. Power and wealth are dynamic; their content and attributes change over time 5. Both power and wealth are means, not goals in and of themselves
  • 3. 1. 1. Power as control over resources Power as control over resources. Power is a bundle of tangible and quantifiable resources; the more resources in the bundle (or a more balanced combination of resources), the more power a given unit has. 2. 2. Power as control over actors Power as control over actors. Power refers to the ability of a given actor A to influence the behavior of other actors (B, C,…) according to A’s will, even if the required behavior of other actors contradicts the will or interests of B, C, … The more other actors behave in accordance with A’s will, the more power A has. 3. 3. Power as control over outcomes Power as control over outcomes. The ability of an actor to increase the likelihood of desired outcomes and to reduce the likelihood of undesired outcomes. This conception sees power as the capacity of a given actor to affect its environment.
  • 4. Due to the difficulty to measure and assess power in terms of control over actors or control over outcomes, it is commonly assumed by both scholars and practitioners that: Control over Resources Control over Outcomes Control over Actors This assumption underlies policies of force design as well as influence attempts both via positive inducements and via sanctions. Yet it may be empirically tenuous
  • 5. Physical Power Political Power Psychological Power
  • 6. Physical Power • The sum total of the resources available at the disposal of the state’s authority for the pursuit of national goals • Physical power usually denotes a potential pool of resources for international interactions—this potential may not be actually realizable under all circumstances. • Most components of this pool of resources are tangible and measurable quantities.
  • 7. Demographic Total population Urban population Age pyramid of population Educational/technol ogical quality indices of population Economic GDP, Per-capita GDP Natural resources Economic efficiency (components of GDP) Economic indicators (growth rates, inflation, unemployment, balance of payments) Military Military expenditures Military personnel Military burden Type, quantities, and quality of major weapon systems, Quality measure of armed forces
  • 8. Correlates of War (COW) Composite Index of National Capabilities (CINC) • Three dimensions: Demographic, Economic, and Military • Demographics: Total and urban population • Economics: Iron-steel production and energy consumption • Military: Military expenditures and military personnel. • Each state’s capabilities on each variable is measured as the state’s share of the system’s capabilities. For example the relative population of state x is defined as State X’s population World’s population Likewise the state’s relative military expenditure is defined as: State X’s military expenditures Total world’s military expenditures
  • 9. 5 1 000 , 000 , 000 , 6 000 , 000 , 200 , 1 ' 1999 1999 1999 = = = Population World Population s China CPR For example, China’s population ratio in 1999 is: 6 x x x x x x X TPR UPR ISR ECR MPR MER CINC + + + + + = Thus the composite index of national capabilities for a given state (x) is the average of its share of world’s resources over these six variables: Total Population Ratio (TPR), Urban Population Ratio (UPR), Iron Steel Ratio (ISR), Energy Consumption Ratio (ECR), Military Expenditures Ratio (MER), and Military Personnel Ratio (MPR)
  • 10. 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 CINC 1816 1824 1832 1840 1848 1856 1864 1872 1880 1888 1896 1904 1912 1920 1928 1936 1944 1952 1960 1968 1976 1984 1992 2000 Year Capabilities of Major Powers, 1816-2001 UK France Russia China US
  • 11. Political power refers to the ability of the government to extract human and material resources from the population for the purpose of accomplishing national goals. This is the capacity of the political system to convert its potential capabilities into actual capability. A. F. K. Organski and Jacek Kugler. The War Ledger (1980). Offered a formula for measuring national power, as: National Capacity = GNP × Political Capacity
  • 12. According to Organski and Kugler, GNP is the single best predictor of potential power (as control over resources). Political capacity is a multiplier of physical power; it determines which percentage of the actual resources that a state produces are actually available to the government. Organski and Kugler offer a definition of political capacity in terms of tax extraction ratio, that is: Political Capacity (PC) = ActualTax Extraction PotentialTax Extraction Another way of measuring political capacity is as: Military Personnel PC Total Population =
  • 14. 0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.1 0.12 0.14 0.16 0.18 0.2 Mil Pers/Population 1960 1962 1964 1966 1968 1970 1972 1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 Year Political Capacity (Mil. Personnel/Population) Egypt Iran Israel Syria Jordan Saudi Arabia
  • 16. The extent to which a state possesses psychological power is the size of the shadow that is cast by its political and physical power. According to this conception, a state maximizes its power the less it is forced to apply physical power. The major component of psychological power is a state’s reputation, that is how other actors perceive the state’s capabilities and its determination to use them (and to incur costs) in the pursuit of its national interests.
  • 17. Reputation is acquired through historical experience. It has to do with the state’s record of behavior in situations that are similar to the present situation in which the exercise of power may be required. Past behavior and its outcomes suggest how a state might behave in future situations. Other factors that affect a state’s reputation include domestic cohesion, a demonstrated will to suffer, leaders’ popularity, and so forth.
  • 18. There are two basic versions of the paradox of power: 1. A strong state loses a conflict or war against a substantially weaker opponent, despite a significant disparity in military capabilities. Control over resources does not correlate with control over outcomes. 2. A strong state loses a conflict or war against a substantially weaker opponent, because it has considerable higher level of military capability. Control over resources causes causes loss of control over outcomes
  • 19. Explanations of the Paradox of Power „ Incorrect measurement of power: Reliance on measurement based on physical capabilities. Measures do not incorporate political and/or psychological aspects of power (e.g., Organski and Kugler). „ There is a gap between capabilities and resolve. A stronger state may not have the resolve and will to suffer for a marginal objective (Spiegel, Ray). „ Not all types of capabilities are fungible for all kinds of situations (Baldwin). „ Excessive capabilities causes inferior actors to collude against the superior adversary (Maoz).