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Todd Alway (280)

POLI SCI 1G06 Notebook

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Political Science
Todd Alway

POLI SCI 1G06September 10th 201310102013 71000 AMGovernmentAccording to one textbook Dickerson and Flanagan Governmenthas to do with compulsion not voluntary decision makingGovernment is a specialized activity of those individuals that make and enforce public decisions that are binding upon the whole community p4The government seems like a hierarchy Find them in every society throughout societyIs it history or necessary Is governmental hierarchy necessary for social lifeDo we need government One possible way of answering this question is by applying Game Theory Economics particularly the Prisoners DilemmaGame theory is a way of modelling and predicting how human beings will interact given specific circumstances and assumptions 1It makes the assumption that people are rational 2It makes the further assumption that they would collectively benefit more from cooperation than noncooperation if we all agreed we wouldnt need government3It makes a final assumption that cheating on an agreement will produce greater individual benefits than cooperatingGovernment is here for contractsGame Theory is used for world relations and international scalePrisoners Dilemma asks the question of what is the most likely outcome given these assumptions in an environment where there is no authority in place to enforce agreementsThe result people behaving rationally on an individual level can generate outcomes that are irrationalOne way out of the Prisoners Dilemma is for some authority that can enforce agreements and punish those who cheatGovernment performs this function according to the theoryGovernment helps to give society fundamental goodsPoliticsPolitics is a phenomenon found in and between all groups institutions formal and informal and societies cutting across public and private lifeIt is involved in all the relations institutions and structures which are implicated in the activities of production and reproduction in the life of societiesThus politics is about power about the forces which influence and reflect its distribution and use and about the effect of this on resource use and distributionit is not about Government or government alone Held and Leftwich 1984 p144 Politics is the study of powerHow it is used by whom and towards what endsWherever values resources and opportunities are distributed there is politics even if unintentional at playThere are several types of political power 1 CoercionForce States can use thisNot really used2 InfluencePersuasionMoney controls media advertisingEducation political Expensive3 AuthorityRightWorks on the basis of obligationPOLI SCI 1G06September 12th 201310102013 71000 AM In the modern context Democracy is almost universally advocated as the best model for organizing political lifeYet this was not always the casehistorically democracy has more often been the target of criticism than praiseSo why has the term come to be looked upon so favourablyWhat is the history of Democracy and why has its practice gone from rejection to admirationWhat does democracy mean 1Democracy comes from the Greek Demos people and Kratos ruleJust what this rule of the people means and how it has been translated into actual political practice has been historically and culturally variableIn this lecture we will focus on two forms Direct democracy and Indirect Liberal Democracyexamine their justifications and explore their particular institutional structuresDirect DemocracyA participatory form of democracyA political system where there are no specialized distinctions between governors and governedCitizens are directly involved in governing themselvesdirectly involved in debating and determining public laws rules regulations rather than electing someone else to make these decisionsRule makers and rule takers are the same peopleReferendum initiative Petitions by the people given to the government Recall Mechanisms Wanting a different ruler when you dont like the one you already have Historical example Ancient Athens 450322 BCE All male adult citizens were able to participateparticipation to a far greater extent than todayComprised the Assembly 6000 men meet 40 times a year
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