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POLI 212 Lecture Notes - Autocracy, Path Dependence, Social Democracy

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 212
Hudson Meadwell

of 2
JANUARY 25, 2012
Are there earlier branching points (prior to 1945) in European political
development that set East and West off on different trajectories?
The obvious earlier turning point is the Russian Revolution, which caused state
socialism, which in turn caused the Soviet led bloc on Eastern Europe after 1945.
The Russian Revolution’s ideology was closely connected to Marxism, but it is a
revolution inspired by Marx’s political though but occurs on the peripheries of what
could be called the political and economic heartland of Europe. The Revolution it
inspired occurred in Russia when it was assumed it would occur in Western Europe.
Agrarian economy, relatively late industrializers, and a small industrial proletariat
did not seem like fertile ground for this Marxist Revolution. The conjecture is that
Revolution is connected to political backwardness in the context of the Russian
Pipes Reading: Why does Revolution occur in such a distinctive site? Pipes is
treating late Tsarist empires as a patrimonial regime. The main themes of the
reading: The argument that the essential quality of Russian politics stems from the
identification of political sovereignty and economic ownership. Russia was “a giant
royal estate,” which is a way to identify its distinction. Russia belongs to its
sovereign. All of this suggests there is no distinction between public and private,
state and ruler. In the Russian context, it is impossible to distinguish in theory or
practice property belonging to the monarch, property belonging to the state, and
property belonging to private citizens. How is this household economy
administered politically? Everything in Russia is part of the “household” of the Tsar,
and the point he makes is that the administrative apparatus of the state is based in
the household administration of the Tsar (again, no distinction between ruler and
citizens). This state structure in Russian is in some sense pre-modern this is a
politically backward way to organize politics in the late 19th century. These features
of the Russian regime emerge much earlier than this, but they continue to drive
Russian politics into the late 19th century. The contrast is what he takes to be the
modal or typically occurring state structure in Western Europe the rational-legal
Bunce Reading: About how east and west are distinctive well past 1945. About the
context of late 19th century Russia→ Russian is a major player in the game of
European power politics, after the Congress of Vienna (preserved territorial
borders, expression of monarchical solidarity). At the same time, Russia is not as
effectively organized in political terms as the dynastic state of Western Europe.
Industrial capitalism is maturing in Western Europe, states are rational-legal, states
are connected to political regimes which have begun to recognize and entrench the
political rights of citizens. Russia was a player, but they contemplated ways in
which they could catch up to the modal state that characterized Western Europe.
How do they rationalize the political institutions and structures to compete in
Europe, which Bunce saw as a dilemma? Russian leaders had trouble managing
this→ too much reform of institutions would make Russia like the West, and the
Russian empire would have to be fundamentally transformed. Too little reform
meant that Russia would not catch up and would continue to lag behind.
Marxism became a way to address this dilemma. The intelligencia saw a way
forward that would create modernity without emulating the institutions of the West.
Marxism provided a distinctive solution Russia could bypass that stage of
development that had produced rational-legal state and industrial capitalism, and
move directly from autocracy to socialism. They are taking advantage of the
political backwardness of Russia and the way it is vulnerable. This is why the
patrimonial state is such an important part of the story of revolution in the Russia
context. The patrimonial state appeared to be parasitic, there is no clear sense in
which it makes contributions to social life. The argument against Russian
intelligencia was that the Russian despotic state could be removed without cost (it
hasn’t penetrated the state, no industrial capacity→ much easier to do away with
that a rational-legal state would be).
Rational legal state: autonomous bureaucracy, individuals work for a regular salary,
state offices cannot be bought and sold, promotion based on merit. “Relations of
reciprocity” between state and society. It has qualities that make social revolution a
less likely outcome.
Industrial capitalism and the social order:
1. The Consequences of the Timing of Industrialization: the timing affects the
pattern of institutional development, which breaks down into the argument
about sequence entering the process of industrialization has political and
economic consequences. Early vs. Late entering into the industrialization
(Germany, Italy, and France are late, Britain was early) makes a difference in
terms of the emerging political institutions. How you industrialize (not just
when) also influences the institutions created creates path dependency
(they are difficult to change and have a legacy). How sequence and path
dependence matter for relations between state and industry, industry and
finance, the implications for how the labour market is organized and trade
unions that emerge, and the implications for foreign economic policy are
effected by industrialization. For example, late industrializers may be more
apt to use tariffs to protect infant industries. There are certain features of
the political economy in the 1900s that were influenced by the early
2. The Political Accommodation of the working class: How radical socialism and
the national constituency in the working class are transformed into social
democracy. How is revolution removed and how do the working classes
come to be accommodated to democratic institutions and to capitalist