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Power in numbers


Registered Member
Do you think there's a direct link between the number of inhabitants a country has and its political power on the world stage?
The more people the more powerful the nation?

I was thinking about this yesterday and even though I agreed populace is very important I reckoned there was more to it. Like the ability to feed those people or give them a proper education.
Furthermore some historical examples contradict this idea, for example Holland or Portugal who both ruled the waves for nearly a century without the asset of a large population. But I do wonder if these countries would still be able to achieve that today.

Which brings me to the next question: what does it take to be a world power in the present time? Population, economic resources, technology, religion(?), a particular spirit?


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A large population provides a certain edge in terms of technology, resources, cultural output, and military power; so it matters, but it's not the be all and end all of things. What it takes for a nation to become a world power seems complicated, and I have to imagine there are different routes to be taken. It also seems that what constitutes a world power is a bit unclear.


New Member
Many factors come to play, but I think the biggest thing today is technology, and what resources a country has at it's disposal. The US burst through WW2 with superior production capacity. Much of that being resources, but also a large population was needed to power the production. Ultimately everything comes into play, but it's how any given country utilizes what they have determines their power.


Registered Member
As was said above, it's one factor among several. It's hard to become a world power when you have a small population only, but in some cases, it can be compensated by other factors, like economic strength or technology.

For example, the USA are still a larger economic power (and military power anyway) than China, although China has roughly 5 times the population as the US. Some European countries are still economically on par with China, although their population is only the 15th part of China's.

But good economy and technology only help so much -- a country like Luxemburg, with 300,000 people only, could hardly dominate Europe or even become a world power, although their economy is advanced compared even to America.

But this also works the other way. A large population is a great resource that can compensate for deficits regarding economy and military power. China is only among the top 5 world economies because of its population, their per capita GDP is way behind the US or Europe. During WW2 or the Cold War, the USSR made up their deficits regarding technology by simply outnumbering their enemy soldiers.