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FEBRUARY 29th.docx

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 227
Rex Brynen

FEBRUARY 29 , 2012:  EXAMPLE: Egypt in 1951: the political base of the military leftist coup was industrial workers, and its opponent were large landowners and business owners. Land reform was a way to please their base and disadvantage their opponents. If landowners need to give land up, landowners try to cheat the system by registering their land under various family members, or by bribing officials. The medium landowners emerge as the strongest group. Land reform benefits the poor peasants who get land, but it puts the middle peasants in the best position. The party machinery in Egypt got captures by the conservative middle peasants, and poor peasants didn’t capture it because they lacked resources and education, and large landowners didn’t capture it because they were locked out by the regime.  EXAMPLE: Nicaragua in 1972 has significant land reform under the Sandinistas. Over 60% of the income was going rural landowners; when most of the population were rural farmers, not land owners.  Gini coefficients are generally used to measure inequality and income. They can be used to measure land inequality as well. Regardless of what it is measuring, the system is the same- the higher the umber, the worse the level of inequality.  Western countries have less inequality because they have welfare states and progressive taxation.  Statistics are often collected by national statistical agencies, which means they aren’t necessarily reliable numbers and could be made up or twisted, particularly in non-democratic authoritarian states. The country also may be honest, but could just be wrong because it’s very hard to get the data (ex. Afghanistan, Congo rates are really just best guesses or educated guesses and could be way off). It could be very swayed when there is a significant informal economy, which is unregulated and untaxed. For example, Argentina makes up their inflation rates)  Development and changing class structure: A shift out of agriculture as an economic producer and urban migration (growth of new urban classes) often occur hand in hand. The majority of the world now lives in urban areas, often with considerable urban overcrowding which causes problems. This causes big problems with population density (ex. In Cairo, Calcutta) which puts a lot of pressure or resources and services. There could be big population growth due to this demographic transition, and there is usually a period where death rates drop but birth rates do not, creating an uneven population.  Population growth rates are still much higher in Africa than anywhere else.  Growth and age redistribution occurs as you undergo the demographic transition. This changes the dependency ratio, which is how many people are working vs. how many people are depending on them for resources and not working. ex) Kenya has the majority of their population under 20, as they have rapid growth, as opposed to Italy which is in a period of zero population growth or even a decrease.  There are countries which should be taking advantage of the fact that their age distribution has a bulge in people in the prime working age, like in the Middle East, because they have relatively low dependency, but they also have high youth unemployment which causes problems. Gender, Politics, and Development:  Gender is available that may be of interest for economic development issues in the developing world as well as political development issues.
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