What is the Status Quo?

Definition: State of affairs in a certain moment of time. It is a Latin phrase that can be literally translated like “the situation in which”. In general, it means, the current circumstances of a given situation that are not supposed to evolve naturally toward another state.

What Does Status Quo Mean?

The term is mostly used in social, political and economic contexts. The status quo might refer to a single element of a particular situation, but also to a broader range of conditions that define a complex state of things. The word often expresses implicitly the need of a change that should be encouraged in order to improve welfare. Nevertheless, some particular groups or persons are probable to preserve the status quo because they are benefited by the current situation.

In this regard, it is common to see groups that want to keep to status quo while others fight against it. Wars, social movements and radical economic policies generally change the status quo.

An example is the changes that emerged after the Second World War. New international agreements and multilateral controls to prevent abuses were enforced as a way to prevent a similar calamity.


A useful illustration can be shown in an African country where the same President has been in power during fifteen years. Although this President enjoys considerable popular support, many people dream of a change. Under this environment, some political groups promote new candidates and express their discontent concerning risky concentration of political power and alarming poverty rate growth.

These groups want to change the status quo. They propose coherent ideas through different mass media in order to solve the most relevant problems and thus to make progress in welfare terms.

Nevertheless, many individuals highly benefit from the current situation. President’s relatives and friends obtained attractive job positions and contracts that made them rich and powerful. As a result, they aggressively oppose any initiative to change the status quo.