The following are the key features of Easton’s Input-Output model of Political System:
(1) A Constructivist Model:
Easton’s input-output Model is a constructivist model. He conceives of the political system as a system of interactions and not as a membership system.
Any set of interactions which seems interesting for research can be the focus of study. To quote S.P. Verma. “Easton depends more on the analytic systems approach rather than on the membership systems approach”
(2) Easton’s View of the Political System:
Easton conceptualises Political System as a set of interactions in any society through which binding or authoritative allocations are made and implemented.
(3) Each Political System is a both Open and Adaptive System:
Easton concentrates on the study of the nature of exchanges and transactions that occur between a political system and its environment.
For him, the political system constantly receives from other systems a stream of events and influences that shape the conditions under which it acts in its environment.
It is open to the influences coming from the environment. Easton also stresses the adaptive character of the political system. Each political system has to respond to the disturbances in its environment as well as to adapt itself to the conditions under which it has to function.
Easton believes that political systems accumulate large repertories of mechanisms, by which they try to cope with their environments and thereby regulate their own behaviour, transform their internal structures and even re-model their basic goals.
(4) Easton’s View of Systemic Persistence as the Basic Quality of Political System:
Easton regards the concept of Systemic Persistence as the chief quality of the Political System. It means the ability of the political system to meet and come out of disturbances.
According to Easton, “A political system may or may not come back to its original position after suffering disturbances and oscillations, but it persists so long as it is in a position to make and implement authoritative values in its environment.”
(5) Continuous Interactions between the Environment and the Political System:
According to Easton, a political scientist must concentrate on the processing and converting of a variety of influences which flow from the environment into the political system and on the ways in which systems respond to these influences – what Easton calls the life processes of the political system, those fundamental functions without which no system could endure – together with the typical notes of response through which systems manage to sustain themselves.” According to Easton, “The analysis of these processes and of the nature and conditions of the responses are a central problem of political theory.”
Analysing the salient features of Easton’s Approach Dr. Verma writes, “Easton is primarily concerned with the sources of stress and modes or processes of regulating stress – essential variables without which a political system cannot exist and the critical ranges within which the variables can fluctuate. If the essential variables are pushed beyond, what Easton designates as their critical range, it can be said that the system is under stress.”