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Suggest Reasons Why This Data Has Been Used to Produce the Superpower Index

Updated on May 26, 2016
A possible superpower index.
A possible superpower index. | Source

A superpower is a country that is able to exert a significant global influence. This influence should be a combination of cultural, political, military, and, primarily, economic.

All of the data considered in this superpower index is linked to economic power. For example, a high population allows a country to have a larger workforce, increasing the tax income received by the government, and creating a more buoyant economy. A large workforce allows more raw materials to be extracted, and more goods to be manufactured (primary and secondary industries). This increases the potential exporting power, and can improve a country’s balance of payments, allowing it to invest more in infrastructure, such as healthcare services and education, and possibly loan money to other countries to further increase its future wealth. The chosen data also includes oil reserves, but this is given relatively little importance, as evidenced by the inclusion of the EU and India on the list of possible superpowers, despite their “negligible” reserves. To become a superpower, a country must possess both a high population and a significant quantity of natural resources, as the absence of one negates the presence of the other: resources cannot be extracted without population, and a population is likely to have a lower quality of life without the natural resources to fund infrastructure. A high population also increases the number of emigrants from a country, who will exert cultural influence, such as British migrants in southern Spain.

Gross national product is included as it is a good indicator of economic power, with which a country can afford a larger military (which also requires a large population), and greater funding for technology, which can be used to improve the military’s power with new weapons. A high GNP indicates a high international cultural influence, as industries such as film can export products – Hollywood in the USA, the only current superpower, is a good example of this, with the majority of films shown in many countries, the UK included, originating in Hollywood. Economic power can lead to imperialistic movements, for example China in Africa – many Chinese people have emigrated to Africa to start businesses, many of which participate in ‘resource nationalism’, a term used to describe the contest between MEDCs to control the exploitation of LEDCs’ natural resources. This imperialistic strategy is verified by the change in the proportion of Africa’s exports going to China – it has risen from 1% to 15% in the past 10 years. This therefore justifies the inclusion of the GNP data in determining superpowers.

The number of technological patent filings is a very relevant factor, partly because it is indicative of quaternary sector employment, which generally equates to higher income. A large number of patents also means that a country is able to monopolise a product; being the sole exporter increases the country’s cultural influence, as well as generating large profit. This again justifies the necessity for the population factor, as a small population will have a low number of researchers, and so a low number of innovations.

The data used in the superpower index is largely based on economic wealth, as this can inflate other modes of world influence, such as ability to use natural resources as a political weapon, as in the 1973 oil embargo; this is one reason for the inclusion of oil reserves data.


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