POLI 227 Lecture Notes - Demographic Transition, Informal Sector, Progressive Tax

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Published on 19 Jul 2012
School
McGill University
Department
Political Science
Course
POLI 227
Professor
FEBRUARY 29th, 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:
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Document Summary

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.

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