A Look at World Politics
World Politics, otherwise known as world political science, refers to both the field which studies the historical political and economic trends of the world as a whole and the wider field which studies the interactions of these forces within the global context. At the heart of this field are the numerous processes of global political globalization regarding issues of global social power. Issues such as: climate change, nuclear proliferation, energy security, and religious fundamentalism, just to name but a few; have all become significant spheres of attention for researchers over the past decade or so. As global political instability continues to increase, political globalization becomes ever more pressing.
Studying world politics and its intersections with domestic social-political-economic activity can be overwhelming at first, but the field can be made easier by breaking down the world politics into its various components. These components include: national government, international political action, international business, and diplomacy. National governments, particularly those of developed countries, generally endeavor to build a strong domestic base through an extensive foreign policy that encompasses domestic policies as well. International political action, on the other hand, is designed to bolster the political leadership of sovereign states and promote multilateral political cooperation. International business, meanwhile, is a subset of world politics which includes interaction between businesses in different nations, the spread of information technology, and the rise of globalization.
The major areas of research into world politics include political science, history, sociology, development theory, and political psychology. Most international organizations fall under one or more of these categories; for instance, United Nations (UN), World Trade Organization (WTO), and World Bank. Within these categories, there exists a wide range of perspectives. For instance, on the political theory side of things, there is the classic liberal approach which argues that international organizations can effectively serve the public good only if they are based on universal values and practices. On the sociology side, there is realism, which emphasizes the need for political systems that are feasible, fair, and open to all. On development theory, meanwhile, there is concern about the effects of trade on development, which includes examining the impact of globalization on poverty and inequality.
As mentioned earlier, development and politics are closely related. There is a tension between the two, and this is exemplified by the debate over free trade. On the one hand, proponents of free trade argue that economic exchange enhances social welfare and overall quality of life. Opponents argue that such exchange leads to increased poverty and suffering, and that freer trade will cause the loss of national identity and disunity. There also exists the thematic sciatic approach, which borrows from both developmental and political science. The thematic sciatic approach focuses on the interdependence of cultural and political arenas, and it attempts to explain how culture can affect politics.
A major field of study in the study of world politics is diplomacy. Diplomats are charged with representing their governments abroad and trying to forge world agreements, as well as trying to overcome regional differences to promote peaceful cooperation. Another major area of study is that of international organizations, such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and other economic and political institutions. In the area of international relations, there are numerous sub-fields including diplomacy and international law, comparative international politics, diplomacy and international communication, and political science and international relations.
Comparative politics is an important branch of the study of world politics. It compares and contrasts countries, their histories and present-day situations, along with aspects such as economy, infrastructure, defense, diplomacy, and freedom. Comparative political economy seeks to provide a rather comprehensive picture of a nation’s economic standing relative to other nations. This branch also compares and contrasting features of various polities, such as autocratic and democratic, capitalist and communist, right and left, secular and religious, and international context. Many think that comparative politics is closely tied to political economy, but there is considerable difference between the two.