Ronald L. Tammen, Jacek Kugler (Editor), Douglas Lemke (Editor), Carole Alsharabati, Brian Efird, Power Transitions: Strategies for the 21st Century. Seven Bridges Press, 2000 AD. ISBN: 1889119431.

Created by ćA.F.K. Organski and originally published in his textbook, World Politics (1958), power transition theory today describes international politics as a hierarchy with (1) a "dominant" state, the one with the largest proportion of power resources (population, productivity, and political capacity meaning coherence and stability); (2) "great powers," a collection of potential rivals to the dominant state and who share in the tasks of maintaining the system and controlling the allocation of power resources; (3) "middle powers" of regional significance similar to the dominant state, but unable to challenge the dominant state or the system structure, and (4) "small powers," the rest. The principle predictive power of the theory is in the likelihood of war and the stability of alliances. War is most likely, of longest duration, and greatest magnitude, when a challenger to the dominant power enters into approximate parity with the dominant state and is dissatisfied with the existing system. Similarly, alliances are most stable when the parties to the alliance are satisfied with the system structure. There are further nuances to the theory: for instance, the sources of power transition vary in their volitility, population change being the least volatile and political capacity (defined as the ability of the government to control resources internal to the country) the most volatile.

Best single text (and the source of the above description): Power Transitions: Strategies for the 21st Century, by Ronald L. Tammen et al., published by Seven Bridges Press, 2000 AD. Links for: Tammen's bio, a larger context, and Russett and Stam

I created this page April 5, 2002 and last edited it February 14, 2006.
© 2006 Richard W. Chadwick
Email me at chadwick@hawaii.edu.