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simulation status quo

The Concept of the Status Quo

Any simulation centers on the concept of a status quo. Status quo is “the existing state of affairs” (Merriam-Webster (Links to an external site.)).

Status quos range from legal and political to social and economic. Legal and political status quos include the international laws and conventions, alliances and conflicts, the national constitutions, federal and state laws and regulations, judicial rulings, and the configuration of control of an international, national, or subnational government.

These legal and political status quos differ from social and economic status quos. Social status quos are what is perceived to be moral, ethical, and just. While economic status quos are country-to-country trade and investment agreements, private business models, business-to-business agreements, and business-to-consumer relationships.

At any given time, a status quo exists. There are entities who support keeping the status quo, while there are other entities who want to change the status quo. Assuming a two-dimension policy space, there are those who want to move the status quo to the “left”, others who want to move the status quo to the “right”, still others who want to move the status quo “up”, and yet others who want to move the status quo “down”. A policy space is an abstraction used by political scientists to describe a more complex reality.

Stay mindful of the concept of status quo as you proceed through the simulation days.

Status Quo.PNG

Dimensions of the Status Quo

Remember that the status quo is defined as the “current state of affairs”. The status quo can be abstractly placed on 1-dimension, 2-dimensions, or 3-dimension space, as depicted in the following three images. Note, in the explanation above, I referenced the idea of a 2-dimension space.

1 Dimension

2 Dimensions

3 Dimensions

There are three benefits of using dimensions to explain the status quo.

  1. First, dimensions can be used to put the status quo in a space. By itself, status quo is an idea that exists as a definition and in our minds. However, by having this idea exists in space, we can contain the status quo. And by containing the idea, we can better explain it, especially when we introduce political actors, as you’ll find out later.
  2. Second, political scientists use dimensions to study, analyze, and explain the status quo, as well as political behavior and political institutions. In the discipline, spatial theory (Links to an external site.) and spatial modeling are used to explain voter behavior, candidate behavior, and elected official behavior, among others. This form of theorizing and modeling allow us to generalize our empirical observations of politics.
  3. Third, abstraction is a skill that each of us can discover, develop, and refine over time. Abstraction is a noted skill of individuals who study mathematics (Wikipedia (Links to an external site.)). While we are not study mathematics in this course, knowledge that we have the ability to develop our abstraction skill is a first step towards thinking about politics in a general, as opposed to specific, way.

Assignment: Select and Explain a Dimension

In 5-sentences or more, select and explain a dimension. You can use the following questions to help explain your choice:

  • Which dimension space most interests you (1, 2, or 3) and why?
  • What is at least one trade-off in using one dimension space versus another dimension space?
  • What is at least one benefit of using a dimension space versus another dimension space?
  • How do you think about status quo and dimension space, given the descriptions above?


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