Comparing State Polities: A Framework for Analyzing 100 Governments

Comparing State Polities: A Framework for Analyzing 100 Governments

Comparing State Polities: A Framework for Analyzing 100 Governments

Comparing State Polities: A Framework for Analyzing 100 Governments

Synopsis

Since the end of the Cold War, many new countries have been created, and several new wars have broken out, resulting in new forms of politics and government for which Cold War paradigms are inadequate. Using extensive exhibits, this book provides a comparative framework for understanding governance in today's world. The author selects 100 countries as worthy of greater investigation, highlighting 50 of them as prone to ethnic-based problems and 33 as beset by violent domestic conflict, and provides a comparative political analysis of their governing structures.

Excerpt

Since the end of the Cold War, the world has seen more than a score of new countries come into being, and a similar number of new wars break out. The end of the Cold War did not bring about the "end of history" as some predicted (Fukuyama, 1989), but instead has resulted in new forms of politics and government for which Cold War paradigms have proved inadequate.

This book provides a comparative framework for understanding governance in today's world. It is based upon the model put forth in Chapter 5 of my earlier book, Measuring Global Values (Sullivan, 1991), which analyzed five "world order" values (peace, economic well-being, ecological balance, social justice, and political participation) in 162 states. Since that time, although the number of countries in the world has expanded to more than 185, the focus of my comparative political analysis has been purposely narrowed to the arbitrarily round number of 100. This figure was consciously chosen to exclude from consideration some 48 "ministates," each with fewer than 2 million people, and 39 other states from among the 68 countries with populations between 2.0 and 10.3 million people (Population Reference Bureau, 1995).

The purpose of this compression of scope in numbers of states studied is to identify, among the myriad nationalities and polities competing for attention in today's world, those countries worthy of greater investigation. This introductory chapter will explain why these 100 states have been selected; the rest of the book will provide a comparative political analysis of their governing structures. It will also highlight 50 of these states as being particularly prone to ethnic-based problems, and 33 of them as beset by violent domestic conflict. As such, this work should be of interest not only to the general reader trying to understand governing regimes in the post-Cold War world, but also to students of comparative politics interested in a broader, more global conceptual focus than that found in traditional textbooks.

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