Read e-book online The Era of Global Transition: Crises and Opportunities in PDF

By Davies Robert W.

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But just as we have looked for the emergence of new actors beyond the state, so we must see if new forms of power are emerging, beyond those highlighted by Susan Strange. Smart and soft? ‘Soft’ power is a term that has fallen into frequent usage. Nye (2011a) defines soft power as ‘the ability to obtain preferred outcomes without coercion or payment’. It can be considered as the opposite of the hard-edged relational power introduced at the beginning of this chapter. Soft power has the same end in mind as hard-edged power, in Nye’s words, ‘affecting others to get the outcomes that one wants’ (Nye, 2011a), but it does so through persuasion, not blunt, arm-twisting force.

In this new environment, it would be erroneous to think that states are the most powerful of all, having sole access to the constituents of smart power. They may be the weakest. Non-state actors may prove to be more nimble than traditional state actors in their use of power in its various forms. As we have seen, the concept of the state is one that is showing its age. After more than 350 years the state is creaking, its borders offering little defence against the unintended poison found in the chalices of technology and globalisation.

24). This is hard, armtwisting power, and the stuff of traditional state versus state military conflict. But structural power is different and may be potentially of far more interest to us. Strange puts forward this definition of structural power: ‘the power to shape and determine the structures of the global political economy within which other states, their political institutions, their economic enterprises and (not least) their scientists and other professional people have to operate’ (Strange, 1988, p.

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