The diagram also highlights a few important relationships between the ten key dimensions. There are essentially two types of connections:
Immaterial relations, such as ideas, plans, decisions, norms or flows of information and knowledge (black lines), or material relations, such as flows of people, physical objects and money (red lines).
Examples of material flows
would be the natural resources that are consumed by the economy, and the flow of waste and pollution that economic activities release into the natural
environment. However, people can also be "material flows", such as the labor migrants that move into a particular economy.
Other relationships are purely immaterial, such as the information and knowledge transfer, which is essential for a modern society. One of the most important immaterial flows is the transfer of knowledge between scientific and technological
research and the economy. However, there are also immaterial flows of ideas and norms between the cultural system and the economic system.
Most material relationships in the diagram begin or end in the economic system, which should emphasize that a prosperous economy is a core condition
of global influence. Without a prosperous economy no country or region can achieve global dominance (as the Russian Federation had to learn in recent
decades). Economic growth fuels a country's tax income and provides the financial resources to build and maintain a strong military
and functioning infrastructure or funds scientific research and technological development, which are all important dimensions for global dominance.
The political system (in particular, the government) is the source of many immaterial flows. It decides what infrastructure should be built
and how many resources should be allocated for defense. The political systems also sets the norms and standards in which the economic
system has to operate. And it allocates resources for education and science, which are essential for the development of human
resources and technological innovation. Such political decisions may be good or
bad, guided by foresight or corruption, made democratically or authoritarian. But whatever decision is made, a country's
development is greatly affected by political actions.
The political system can make or break a country's chances for global
relevance. Failed governments and corrupt or incompetent leaders are the "number one" cause of poverty, social disruption and
conflict. Competent, fair and visionary leaders, on the other hand, can lead an impoverished nation to economic success and political
relevance, as was, for instance, demonstrated in Singapore or Finland.
The quality of infrastructure, for instance, is not a God-given condition.
The situation that hundreds of millions of people around the world do not have any kind of toilet is the direct fault of (local) leaders
and governments. The failure to build latrines is not an economic or technical problem, but a problem of leadership and insight into basic
principles of hygiene. The fact that half the countries of the world do not provide even basic education to their population is
a colossal policy failure - it is not caused by insufficient financial resources or lack of development aid.