CHANGING NATURE OF THE STATE.
State as a historical phenomenon has interconnections with various societies. These interconnections can be at inter or infra-level. State has internal as well as external relations too. It also witnessed change on the basis of internal and external factors. It can be said that a state is a necessary evil. It is the creation of the society With which it is closely related.
Westphalian treaty of 1648 had described state as its kingpin and flourished till World War II. David Held has summarized the Westphalian model in some basic features. They are as follows:
- The whole world is consisted of and divided by the sovereign states. State has the supreme authority.
- It is the state which is responsible for formulation and implementation of laws. Disputes are also settled by the states.
- The power of force settle the differences among the various states.
- For any wrongful act, the responsibility is owned by the state. There is no international law which supports any collective interest or responsibility regarding this.
- Principle of equality is there; all states are regarded as equal before the law, irrespective of their powers.
Westphalian system is based on two major operating principles:
- •Liberal state that supports people’s welfare, and
- Balance of power that unites the states together through fear of punishment for disturbing the status quo.
The operation of the liberal state complimented the balance of power. The former believed in the promotion of justice by granting civil and political rights and providing a self-regulating market while the latter assumed that the competition of the economic system did not disturb the prevailing asymmetries and considerations of justice did not extend to non-European states.
After that, state was substituted with the element of religion and hence made the state an object of worship. Then welfare capitalism (initiated by Lord Keynes) appeared that focused on the economic rights of labor. It emphasized that labor should accept the capital’s right to ownership and overall economic direction in exchange for social benefits that ensures a welfare state and employment security.
A counter to the Westphalian view was that this contract was not applied to the masses of the third world states and they didn’t gain any welfare benefits. Due to globalization, third world countries have come together as it opened up their economies and hence affected the economic trade between these countries. Approximately one-quarter of global trade comes under GATT (General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade) i.e. regulated free trade. Some states are benefiting from high quality and high technology productions with the use of Information and Communication technologies (ICT) but most of the states have less mass production along with part-time, low wage employment.
Regulation of free trade and use of ICT affects the economies in different ways. With the help of ICT. Internet has become a handy tool and it has benefited development in several fields like public health, farmer’s markets redressal of grievances etc. It has also affected the state’s day-to-day functioning along with more accountability, transparency and openness. There is no doubt that third world countries have benefited but there is not much improvement in the lives of their poor population. State has to change its thinking and mindset and learn to evolve according to new and changing methods and actions.
There is a need to change the attitude of governance. People who have power should change their way of working and involve other individuals and agencies for better decisions and all round development. NGOs are working in a positive way and helping the government in reducing their problems. Devolution and decentralization of powers at local level has increased people’s participation in the decision-making process. Various NGOs in different countries are working to help their governments in various fields. These non-governmental initiatives have made an important presence in the global society. They are helping the state to achieve the target of multi-dimensional social development of the people.