3.3.9 Economic Pressures on Governments and Politicians

(This is a current page, from the Patterns of Power Edition 3 book contents.  An archived copy of this page is held at http://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/339.htm)

The incentive to make an economy appear to run well forms part of the Economic Dimension of power; both the pressure exerted and its effects are economic even though it is applied through the agency of politicians.  Economic pressure in the form of payments to politicians is exerted mainly to obtain political results such as ideological objectives and legislative action, though, and is therefore described later (6.4.5).

Politicians have a greater chance of remaining in power, in any political system, if they are popular.  They therefore have an incentive to ensure that the country’s economy appears to be doing well; people and organisations can exploit this political need as a form of leverage, as described in the next sub-section (3.3.9.1).

The incentive is somewhat weakened, though, because it is very difficult to attribute economic performance to a single cause (3.3.9.2); politicians’ claims of success can therefore always be challenged, although equally their failures can be laid at the door of some other problem.

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