3 Important Characteristics of “Political Development”

It also involves the concept of equal and objective application of laws to all citizens i.e. rule of law involving application of all laws to all the citizens rich and poor, and strong and weak. It also includes the concept of political recruitment based on merit and performance, and not on ascriptive consideration.

(2) Capacity:

Capacity of a political system is again a theme held by most of the above approaches and it refers to the capacity of a political system to affect the social and economic life of the society through its outputs.

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This aspect of development includes the idea of political development analysed in terms of governmental capacity and the conditions that affect such performance. It also means political development in terms of effectiveness and efficiency in the execution of public policy, rationality in administration and a secular orientation towards policy.

(3) Differentiation and Specialisation:

This theme conceptualises political development in terms of structural differentiation and specialisation. “This aspect of development involves first of all the differentiation and specialisation of structures. Offices and agencies tend to have their distinct and limited functions and there is an equivalent of a division of labour within the realm of government.”

Along with differentiation, there is increased functional specialisation of various roles within the system and it also involves the integration of complex structures and processes. The last aspect is very important because it clarifies that differentiation is not fragmentation, on the other hand, it means specialisation based on an ultimate ense of integration.

Among these three dimensions, there can be present several acute tensions between the demands for equality, the requirements of capacity and the process of greater differentiation and accordingly there are different patterns to political development. However, these three constitute the agreed variables for analysing the nature and level of political development. It also means that “Development is dearly not unilinear nor it is governed by sharp and distinct stages, but rather by a range of problems that they may arise separately or concurrently.”

Study of political development requires, besides these three dimensions of equality, capacity and differentiation, three other related factors. As Pye observes, “the problems of equality are generally related to the political culture and sentiments about legitimacy and commitment to the system; the problems of capacity are generally related to the performance of the authoritative structures of government; and the question of differentiation touches mainly on the performance of non-authoritative structures and the general process in the society at large.”

“All this suggests that in the last analysis, the problems of development revolve around the relationships between the political culture, the authoritative structures of government, and the general political process.”

Leonard Binder suggests the following 5-point list of changes for analysing the nature of process of political development of a political system:

(1) Change of identity from religious to ethnic and from parochial to societal,

(2) Change of legitimacy from transcendental to immanent sources,

(3) Change in political participation from elite to mass and from family to group,

(4) Change of distribution from status and privilege to achievement, and

(5) Change in the degree of administrative and legal penetration into social structure and to the remote regions of the country.