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Political Concept of State Essay


Max Weber describes the state as an institution where the use of force as a means of maintaining order has been legitimized. The state is inextricably linked to sovereignty because of the power it has, and this fact denotes its superiority and that it has the highest form of authority in any given territory. It also means that there is no power, either internally or externally, that can challenge it. This paper will focus on the characteristics as well as the globalization of the state.

The degree to which a state intervenes in society and the economy is one of the methods used to classify the nature of the state. A further classification relates to power distribution, and theories of the state usually provide different accounts of power distribution. One such approach, based on the distribution of power, is pluralism. In pluralism, the state is seen as being composed of thousands of different activities that results in citizens forming groups. These different groups are in competition, which creates the potential for conflict, and it is the state’s role to regulate them or mediate between them. Here the power is fragmented and diffused in such a way that most interested groups can define and influence public policy to some extent.

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Another influential political ideology is Marxism, or ruling class theory, inspired by 19th century German thinker Karl Marx. At one time, a significant portion of the world’s population lived under regimes claiming to be inspired by Marxism. The most dominant interpretation of Marxism is that power for the working class cannot be obtained by voting and that power lies in the economy. Those who have economic power also have political power. In a Marxist society, the ruling group is always the social group or class that has the means of production.

According to the New Right political theory, the state has a tendency to over-extend its authority to beyond the boundaries of what is required for a healthy society. There are two forces at work here, the external and internal force. The external force comes into play during the highly competitive election process, where politicians make unrealistic promises to voters that they cannot honor once they are elected. The second force is the internal force, also called the oversupply thesis. This is where governments increase their interests by forging relationships with other groups to the financial benefit of both. An empirical analysis of the state reflects on the reality of any given political system as opposed to what it ought to be.

The term ‘hollowing out’ of the state suggests that governments no longer have the significance they used to. The primary cause of this is the globalization thesis, which states that, because the nations of the world have become so economically interdependent, nation-states have lost their autonomy. The internationalization of the economy has promoted the globalization of the state and the growth of multinational corporations now rivals the power of governments, resulting in some government trade decisions now being made outside of the state. Many argue that globalization is a positive development and could help to create peace and greater tolerance, while there is also concern that the loss of state autonomy could exacerbate inequality and poverty.

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