What Are the Elements of State Power?

The elements of state power are economic power, military power, geographical power, the power of alliance and internal political power. Economic state power can be derived from a state’s ability to mobilize industrially, or the natural resources that the state has at its disposal.

For example, those members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have an enormous amount of economic power that stems from their control over vast amounts of oil.

State military power can be divided into hard and soft power elements. Hard power refers to the weaponry that a state has at its disposal during war. Tanks, jets, guns and ammunition all fall under the category of hard power elements. Soft power refers to the aspects of state military power that do not require military action. An example of soft military power is the international influence that a state garners from its hard power capacity.

A state’s geographical power is based upon the geographical mass of a state. Russia and China are states with a large amount of geographical power because of their size; however, geographical power is also heavily tied with the state’s power of alliance as well. Although China has a large amount of geographical power, its historical isolationist political policy limited its ability to use that geographical power.

A state’s political internal power is based on its ability to focus its actions and resources through an organized political system.