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MARCH 5th.docx

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 227
Rex Brynen

MARCH 5th, 2012:  Jeffrey Sachs bid for President of the World Bank: The appointment of the head of the world bank and IMF are intensely political processes because there has historically been a division in that Americans get the head of World Bank and Europeans get the head of the IMF, and because of this, US administrations like to appoint people who pay political dividends or will be on point with their political views. For the Obama administration, it could be an advantage to appoint Jeffrey Sachs. He may be much more critical of US policy, but it would allow the administration to appoint hope and change (but mostly in places that don’t vote for the US president in an election year).  Russia’s Putin Victory: There are two way to rig polls: the bad way is to do it during the actual election when you lose ballot boxes, stuff ballots- but this shows up and it’s obvious that it was rigged. The better way is to fix it before people vote- design an electoral system that works to your advantage, control the flow of information, intimidate critics, etc. and this way leaves you with less of a chance of getting good. It clear that Putin rigged the election, but only would have needed to stuff ballot boxes if he did not use the easier rigging method well. (Pakistan Intelligence almost always intervenes in elections- but successfully use methods other than ballot stuffing). In Russia, they haven’t been able to completely suppress opposition, especially with the growth of the Internet. 5 or 10 years ago everyone knew it was pointless to oppose the regime, but after Tunisia people have realized that you can challenge regimes. There is a sense of empowerment and of not being isolated. Regimes rely on the feeling of political hopelessness.  Will Israeli launch a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities? Chances are less than 50- 50 but quite large. Iran uses threatening rhetoric about Israel and they have poor relations. Netanyahu believes that Iran cannot have a nuclear weapon. But we may not know if they have decided to build a nuclear weapon yet, but bombing them may cause them to build a nuclear weapon to protect Iran. They have had a nuclear program on and off since 1970. The nightmare scenario is bombing Iran, you only set them back a year or two, and then they quadruple the amount of resources put into their nuclear program, and they get the nuclear weapons and bomb Israel back. Israel would also want the support of the US administration and it could cause tension. It could cause oil prices to increase and cause a world recession. There are many implications. They may just talk about bombing to get more leverage in Iran’s nuclear program. Gender Roles:  The natural order of things?  Sources of gender roles: There is a powerful cultural competent to gender inequality, and it is deeply rooted in how societies see roles. Gender equality is universal. This probably suggests that there may have a biological or evolutional component to it, but clearly we are no longer in hunter-gatherer times yet the roles that emerged from that com  Culture (global patriarchy: gender differentiation and oppression is a global phenomenon.) Yes, it is found everywhere, but it changes over time (in suffrage, constitutional rights, etc.) Where does that change come from?  Development could spur change- economic development has mixed effects. There is no absolute correlation between GDP per capita and gender equality (there is a loose relationship). Development and economic change tend to break down old social old and create new economic orders. As family size shrinks, women can go into the labour force. The role of women shifts with greater organization (women were traditionally dominant in subsistence agriculture, but the switch to cash crops changes it to male dominated farming.) If you’re a woman working in a factory, even if conditions in that factory are bad, you may be acquiring an independent income stream that could give you leverage in the family. The particular modes of development and how they shift the economic position of men and women can have different effects.  External influences (colonialism, globalization) Colonialism can be negative (adopting Victorian ideas- men as heads of household, woman cannot own land), but it could have positive effects- such as the expansion of primary education to both genders. Globalization (increasing economic contact across countries, regions, economic groups) can be mixed as well. It could be positive (projection of powerful female role models from television from areas where man have greater roles in the economic could signal new things to women and girls) or negative (that external cultural product that be seen as culturally
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