パワーシフトと国家の人口規模  [in Japanese] Population Size and Power Shift: Are Bigger Countries Necessarily More Powerful?  [in Japanese]

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<p>One of major characteristic of today's emerging powers is the fact that they are very populous. It can be easily assumed that the more populous the more powerful a nation will be. It is also often argued that the advantage of early modernizers like today's G7 countries are quickly disappearing as modern technology and scientific knowledge spread all over the world, equalizing per-capita productivity, favouring more populous countries. Thus, what we are witnessing is a return to a pre-modern world where populous empires dominated the world. But even pre-modern history is full of small political units that became highly dominant international players. This suggests populous countries may have inherent disadvantages.</p><p>One possible disadvantage is low-per capita productivity. Despite impressive aggregate wealth, per-capita income was and still is relatively low in countries like China and India. In fact, successful city states were more effective in accumulating wealth through international trade. The low per-capita productivity is also related to difficulty in providing good governance in large countries. Another possible disadvantage is its lack of intellectual freedom needed for technological development. Innovation is a dynamic continuous process rather than a single unique historical event. But a huge country tends to have an authoritarian regime that fails to offer favourable environments for innovation by oppressing intellectual freedom. Finally, a huge empire, though powerful externally, can be highly vulnerable internally with many centrifugal forces at work constantly threatening effective mobilization national resources for unified goals.</p><p>Simple statistical analyses cannot find meaningful co-relations between the size of the population and the above mentioned disadvantages. But it is certain that a larger population size works in favour of aggregate power. Thus, it is safe to assume that a certain level of large population is a necessary condition to be a dominant player in the world politics. Selecting 16 countries in today's world that have more than 80 million populations or 1% of total world population can selected as likely candidates of powerful players in the future, only 3 out of the 16 are liberal democracies and the most of the rest have weak domestic governance as well as low per-capita productivity. Whether those potential powers can actually develop into major political players in the future depends upon improvement of their domestic governance. But at the same time, given the exceptional enormity of the population size of China and India, it is likely that they can offset their weaknesses by sheer force of numbers. The US, on the other hand, is a unique political unit that is a wealthy liberal-democracy with a large population size.</p>

Journal

  • International Relations

    International Relations 2016(183), 183_15-183_30, 2016

    JAPAN ASSOCIATION OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

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