The fine structure constant, α, is shown to be proportional to the ratio of the quanta of electric and magnetic force associated with the electron. This provides a new representation, which is global across all unit systems. Consequently, a variation in α was shown to occur due to a differential change in the fraction of the quanta of electric and magnetic force, while a variation in hc was shown to manifest due to the common mode change. The representation is discussed with respect to the running of the fine structure constant at high energies (small distances), and a putative temporal drift. It is shown that the running of the fine structure constant is due to equal components of electric screening (polarization of vacuum) and magnetic anti-screening (magnetization of vacuum), which cause the perceived quantum of electric charge to increase at small distances, while the magnetic flux quantum decreases. This introduces the concept of the 'bare magnetic flux quanta' as well as the 'bare electric charge'. With regard to temporal drift, it is confirmed that it is impossible to determine which fundamental constant is varying if α varies.