The book The Prince is an expanded evaluation of the keys to acquiring and maintaining political, social and economic power throughout very turbulent times in Tuscany. The book has an opening dedication to Lorenzo de Medici family in Renaissance Florence. The inscription reveals the determination of Machiavelli to examine in an understandable language the behaviour of great men and the doctrines of a sovereign government. He is strong-minded at pleasing and educating the Medici family.
The book has got 26 chapters that can be categorised into four significant contexts. Chapters 1-11 explores the various types or principalities or states, chapters 12-14 focus on the multiple types of the army and the appropriate conduct of a prince as the controller of the military, Chapters 15-23 studies the character and behaviour of the prince, and chapters 24-26 explore Italy`s despairing political state of affairs. The last chapter presents a plea to the Medici family to produce a suitable prince that will deliver Italy out of humiliation. Machiavelli`s list of four types of principalities includes mixed principalities, hereditary principalities, new principalities and ecclesiastical principalities. According to Machiavelli, a good prince should give a listening year to the military if he wants to maintain his position, and in the book the four types of an army; mercenaries or hired soldiers which according to him are unreliable and dangerous. In the list is the auxiliaries that are troops provided with other rules which he argues are as well very unpredictable and dangerous. There is also native troops that are made up of one`s citizens or subjects, and he deems this troop as the most reliable type. The last type of army is the mixed troop which is made up of mercenaries, native troops or auxiliaries. According to him, this group is still less reliable.
Machiavelli also asserted that the right characters and behaviours of a good prince and they include being stingy than general, being cruel than merciful, breaking promises rather than keeping them if they would diverge away from one`s interests. He also believes that a prince should not be hated or despised by his subjects since goodwill of people is the best defence. Princes should embrace and achieve great targets to enhance their reputation. Lastly, an upright prince should opt for good advisers rather than flatterers.
Machiavelli also covers the loopholes in Italy`s politics. According to him, Italy ruler has lost their states by ignoring political and military principles. He places values on freedom of princes to act while highlighting that some princes can adapt to their actions to the times. The final chapter of the book is an appeal to the Medici family to put into practice Machiavelli`s doctrines and thus deliver Italy from humiliation as well as foreign domination.
Current Policy Debates And How It Relates To The Book
The main question regarding the relevancy of Niccolo Machiavelli's book The Prince (Machiavelli, 1988) is whether 16th-century political principles are still relevant in today`s competitive political environment. Scholars are of course divided into this matter. Some argue that the book is no longer relevant to business management and leadership. On the other end, other scholars contend that indeed Machiavelli`s work is appropriate. Generally, it is widely accepted that leaders and managers are better off if they influence their subjects. Even though Machiavelli's work has been wrongly linked with vile tactics of manipulation, it is contended that the book brings forward the significance of a leader`s and manager`s acquisition and maintenance of influence. The book also teaches the leaders and managers to struggle to manage the expectations of the subjects to manage organizations as a whole community rather at times where there is a crisis only. Therefore, some policies can be derived from Machiavellian work and be successfully applied in today`s high-tech arenas.
Machiavelli, N. (2016). The Prince. Tustin: Xist Publishing.
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