by Abdel Abuisneineh
PhD Student, Concordia University, Chicago

        One of the famous statements of Mao Zedong, the former Chinese leader who helped in moving the country from feudalistic society to socialism, is “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” This statement is so true when it comes to understanding international policy making where we can see the overwhelming evidence everywhere. Countries that have more gun power are the ones that dictate the success of their policies on the grounds, to a great extent. When army generals make their policy, a complete understanding of the data related to the geography of the battlefield is necessary to win the war. Even with this complete understanding of geography, army generals will not win the war without committing sufficient economic resources to procure sufficient gun power to overcome.

         Mao was referring to the military might, a function of the economic might of nations and groups. Guns are there to uphold principles of justice and to protect the economic interests of nations and groups. When there is a conflict of interests between nations or between groups, the duties of policy makers lie in making policies to protect the interests of their own folks, your friends, not those of the antagonistic countries or groups. In so doing, policy makers are not erring from the principles of justice, to some point.  Actually in their debates of the definition of Justice, Socrates and Polemarchus' definition of the word was based on the domain of “helping friends and harming enemies.” Socrates was more elaborative on the definition of friend, however.

        On a smaller scale when it comes to policy formulation in organizations, the underlining principles and philosophy remain similar. Basically, policy makers set “just policies”, ones made to protect the interests of own organization (friends), and to undermine the interests of opponents (competition.) And just like war generals need to understand the geography details of the battlefield, organization leaders and policy makers need to understand the demographic data of their organization operation place to win the encounters and succeed.  Similarly, even with complete understanding of demographics, policy makers and leaders will not win the theatre of business operations without committing sufficient economic resources to procure sufficient marketing and publicity power to overcome and succeed.

        Astute understanding of the demographics of the markets is important to the success of the organization policies. However these policies are ineffective without sufficient economic power supporting them.  Glaeser (2011) argues that demographic “trends do not dictate any particular public policies or suggest any particular course of action.”  Astute understanding of demographic data and trends of the marketplace goes beyond having raw numbers or percentages regarding ages, income brackets, gender, ethnicity, marital status, education or other demographic factors. Successful policy makers must utilize this data along with internal and external forces that influence the organization. Internal forces may include labor force composition, product or service mix, and marketing strategies. External forces include the legal system, technology, economy, and competition.  “Astute understanding” requires incorporating all of these factors in a dynamic model that produces preferably both numeric and subjective indicators needed to set new policies or amend existing ones.



Fowler, F. C. (2013). Policy studies for educational leaders: An introduction, (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Glaeser, E. L. (2011). Which Places Are Growing? Rappaport Institute | Taubman Center. Retrieved on 3/16/2014 from

Puente, T. (2013).  Chicago has 5th largest Hispanic community in U.S. Chicago Now. Retrieved on 3/16/2014 from

Spiro, J. (2009). Why Demographics Are Crucial to Your Business. Inc. Retrieved on 3/16/2014 from

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