David Easton System Analysis Criticism:
David Easton’s systems analysis has been put to severe criticism. To quote Eugene Meehan, “Like Parsons, Easton does not think of a theory in terms of explanation but in terms of the creation of conceptual framework. The result is a highly abstract structure that is logically suspect, conceptually fuzzy and empirically almost useless. Easton’s political system turns out to be an abstraction whose relation to empirical politics is virtually impossible to establish. The promise of a conceptual framework with high empirical relevance has not been fulfilled. According to Wasby, “the difficulty with Easton’s diagrammatic presentation (figure II), although not with his textual explication, is that one cannot tell what occurs with the “Black Box”. He further writes, “The problem may be resolved by portraying the original model with an internal modification, which makes clear that activity does occur within the system, that the system itself generates demands ‘consumed’ within the system without having an immediate impact on the environment”.
Another weakness in Easton’s analysis is that he was not much interested in the individual. It was an empty vision of politics. To quote Paul F. Kress. “The theory’s lack of substance, the artificial nature of the system and its members, the replacement of actor by container and the disappearance of boundaries as limits of possibility….were some of the shortcomings of Easton’s systems analysis”.
Even at the micro-level, this theory is not applicable to the study of third world countries. Wasby says, “When we go outside the context of North America and the western world, it becomes apparent that relatively few countries exist wherein there is not more than the remote danger of revolution, civil war or coup”. Thus, Easton’s model for fast-changing unstable societies is not applicable.
Easton’s system analysis is also concerned mainly with the present and has no perspective of the future. Because of its anti-historical attitude, it is not able to see social reality in terms of perspective.
Despite these shortcomings, Easton’s system analysis occupies a very significant place in modern political analysis.