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International Relations - The Future Belongs to the Most Effective Nations

Francis Fukayama stresses the drastic transformations the American political system has undergone since its founding in his “America in Decay – The Sources of Political Dysfunction.” He believes that no administrative system has a place in a world in which small interest groups can wield so much power. A just political system, though, would be able to counteract the unjust power that elite networks hold.

Therefore, the future would belong to the most effective states, just so long as they are being run legitimately and fairly. Due to a far greater potential for superior protection, a heightened possibility for a better way of life, and greater economic prospects, the most effective states would triumph over the peer-to-peer, decentralized networks.

Unity, centralized organization, and common goals have long been key to protecting states from aggressors. Smaller, decentralized networks, conversely, tend to struggle more with unifying and all fighting together under the same leaders. Part of the reason the Union Army emerged victorious from the American Civil War was its strong cohesiveness and shared belief it was fighting for a just cause.

The Confederacy, though, suffered from disarray within the states it constituted. It was largely unable to rally behind one leader and government due to its belief in states’ rights, which equated to decentralization. While much of the Confederate South stood together, parts of East Tennessee were running rampant with Unionists who would oppose the Confederate cause in any way possible. Many of these Unionists formed groups to oppose the Confederate Government, which undermined the stability of the region as well as the war effort. Thus, for a state or organization to look toward the future, let alone remain in existence, it must be able to efficiently protect itself. In this aspect, the most effective state clearly has an advantage

Effective, centralized, and powerful states have also born witness to the some of the greatest discoveries and inventions in history. Such innovations ultimately improve the way of life of the state’s citizens. America is known to be a leader in the technological and medical frontiers, and yet has always relied on the government, in varying extents. Such a relationship dates back to the time of Alexander Hamilton and has continued throughout the sections of American history in which the country remained united and centralized.

Examples include West Point being founded in the early 1800s by the U.S. government to foster a domestic advancement in engineering as well as when Congress allocated the money to build a revolutionary telegraph line from Washington D.C. to Baltimore in 1843. In the nineteenth century, the government also invested in biological and medical fields, aiding in the development of numerous cures. In Sub-Saharan Africa, though, decentralization has recently become the norm in dealing with urban development. As a result, responsibility for basic services, such as sanitation, electricity, and portable water, fall to sub-national authorities.

Such decentralization practices have led to favouritism among certain parties, along with advantages to them in upcoming elections. In other words, decentralization has resulted in political parties winning over voters with the quality of their service, meaning they could just as easily use their power to punish their opponents. Hence, states that are operative and centralized tend to excel and operate more fairly in their development than those who choose to remain decentralized.

Economies tend to thrive most in powerful, legitimate, and operative states. A prime example of this is the United States of America. Even after the recession that occurred in 2007-2008, it is currently regarded as the world’s largest economy. Numerous natural resources, a well-organized infrastructure, and high productivity are trademarks of the American economic system. Such qualities have made America attractive to foreign investors, as over $2.4 trillion dollars of foreign investments have been made in the American economy.

These ample foreign investments make the economy stronger, and a stronger economy results in more investors. Decentralized networks of nations often have numerous troubles with their economies, as seen in early America. In the early days of the country, there were ongoing debates about how centralized the government should be, leaving it in a state of disunity. Most states had differing currencies, whether it be paper money, hard coins, or whiskey. No true national economic infrastructure was formed, and several monetary waves of panic ensued. Additionally, foreign countries were wary of investing in the wobbly nation, making matters even more difficult. Had the early American governing system been more consolidated, its economy would likely not have gotten off to such a rough start.

In summary, the most effective states definitely seem to be better suited for the future than their decentralized counterparts. They have the upper hand in large part because of their better ability to protect themselves, their being fertile grounds for innovation and development of every sort, and their far greater potential for economic prosperity.

(Written and edited by: The Decision Maker - International Relations editors)


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