The wish of every political authority is to ensure that the state under its jurisdiction is economically and politically developed to an extent that its people are not exposed to vulnerable conditions. As such, every sitting government has the responsibility of ascertaining the wellbeing of its subjects. However, this is not an easy task to achieve. Many governments have failed to develop their states economically owing to various factors, much of which remain structural and organizational.
For instance, the countries being referred to as third world suffer from major political and economic crisis which make them totally dependent upon other economically stable nations. However, the question that one is bound to ask is why some nations seem to be stable politically while other nations consider this an illusion, something which needs the mediation of higher powers. This paper looks at the factors that promote and undermine political and economic development of nation states.
Economic development cannot be dissociated from political stability. Political stability on the other hand comes as a result of superior organizational and structural set up of the state. Higher political participation of citizens at all levels, manifested in organized political system results in a higher socio-economic development. Higher socio-economic development on the other hand stimulates more political participation.
Political participation of subjects within a given state or nation is dependent upon the political attitude of those particular subjects since it is this political attitude which finally determines whether a given clique in office if furthering their own interest or the interest of the subjects. As such, the economic and political development of any nation is dependent upon those individuals responsible for the running of the state. Political participation of subjects is the major factor which determines how a nation or state develop politically and socio-economically.
However, for subjects to be active politically, they must be of a higher social status. As a state expands economically, individuals achieve higher status roles as income increase. As such, wealth is created which comes with an element of tension. As old groups become displaced, new groups emerge which will naturally compete for domination within the state. The tensions which exist within these groups resulting into conflicts will heighten political awareness among groups and individuals.
This will ultimately lead to an increased political participation among the subjects. The expanding economy will also be accompanied with the creation of multifarious organizations that will root for a greater integration resulting in the desire to control the state. The complexities which characterize an expanding economy will necessitate the expansion of the apparatus of the government making its role be seen by the different social groups as relevant to their interests.
As this perception increases, they are likely to take actions aimed at influencing government policies. Ever since the birth of nation states in Europe, the process of modernization has emerged and flourished within them. National development has often been realized through the notion of citizenship as part of the political culture. It is an accepted fact that all citizens have equal rights before the law. The political participation of the subjects is legitimized by national political culture to a large extent.
However, as much as economic development brings about increased status and wealth, many individuals use political participation as a means to achieving other goals. As such, they withhold political participation once they recognize that they can achieve these goals through other ways. For instance, an individual may use a political office for personal economic gain while ignoring the importance of that office in protecting or furthering the wellbeing of other individuals in the nation or state (Isbister, 1998). This is however dependent on the ideals of the nation.
For a nation to achieve a holistic political and economic development, political participation becomes an integral factor for it is through political participation that subjects become aware of the role of government in protecting and furthering their interest. As such, in a nation state where individuals are politically active, politicians are likely to further the nation’s agenda which is primarily political and economic stability. Many politicians gain office by deceiving the majority and while ion office, lead the state to a state of collapse.
It also follows that political and economic development can be tied with leadership skills and visions of such political leaders. Many economically stable nations have collapsed due to poor leadership which has in turn led to serious crises. Honest and focussed leaders who truly understand the problems of their people are the key to economic and political stability. However, this also requires the support of the population whose participation may guarantee the nation’s stability.
The organization of individuals and groups into a workable political system which represents the interest of the majority is also a key to economic and political development. According to Lijphart, the best political system is the consensus democracy where even the interests of the minority groups are taken into account when it comes to policy (Lijphart, 1999: 31-33). With this regard, economic and political development is dependent upon political participation described by political organization and governance structure.