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C LASS N OTES FOR : P OLI S CI 3Y03
McMaster University, Winter 2014
T UESDAY , EBRUARY 25, Y
• The first class struggle was between emerging bourgeoisie and nobility
• Working classes put forward democratic struggles that brought about so many rights
• Out of these struggles something quite remarkable happened
th th th
• Liberalism, throughout the 17 , 18 and 19 century made itself more democratic, by
allowing for the worker’s demand, the full participation
o Trade unions, social, welfare rights as a result of the democratic struggles taken by
the worker’s classes
o Processes of political negotiation
o We ended up with a hybrid called LIBERAL DEMOCRACY
Workers surrendered some of the democratic struggles?
Liberal democracy implies there are some democratic values?
• Democracy with full participation
• Our regimes are democratic liberalism
o We live in a liberal society with some democratic features
The evolution of democracy and human rights
- Human rights and democracy are constantly evolving
- Reaching the hybrid is not the apex of this evolution
- Many more things have happened since the consolidation of a liberal democracy.
- Ascending line of progress and evolution that goes back to where we’ve started
o Development held back in the dark ages (1000 years)
o Enlightenment in the 11 and 16 century where many of these civil and political
o 19 century “Liberal democracy”
6.Liberal democracy →→→ ↓
5.Liberalism ↑ ↓ 7.Fascism
4.Absolutism ↑ ↓ 8.Nazism
3.Feudal limits ↑ ↓ 9.Communism
2.Roman law ↑ ↓ 10.Totalitar-
1.Greek democracy ↑ ianism
(Ascending progress) (Crisis of
“Capitalist contradiction at the political level: while liberal democracy meant political equality, on
the one hand, it also meant little in terms of economic and social equality (the egalitarian ideal) on
the other hand.”
Angie © McMaster University 1
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- Capitalism has a tendency to go through ups and downs
- Cycle of economic growth and prosperity followed by economic stagnation
o Crisis and expansion!
- Nature of a capitalist economic logic that has created these two conditions simultaneously!
THE WELFARE STATE
- Origins: capitalism-caused economic crises (1870 and 1929 great depression)
o 1929-1930s out of something bad, arose many good things
- Origins: two world wars
- Origins: ideological crisis of liberalism
o Emergence of Nazism, populism, etc.
o To understand why these regimes emerged, need to understand the failure of
o Emergence of a different kind of state “Welfare” state
Objective: prevent a repeat of the great depression and WORLD WAR II tragedies: “The state
would ensure the welfare of all citizens, not because the rich ought to be generous to the poor but
because this was the only way that society could be protected from itself”. - RELATIVE
AUTONOMY OF THE STATE.
Factors that made the welfare state possible:
1. Feelings of solidarity among the victims of the great depression
2. Empathy towards the victims of war
a. Extreme liberalism could be challenged,
b. Empathy for the Jews, homosexuals and gypsies
c. Human rights have to have a significant degree of empathy
d. Changing the mindset, we begin to develop a sense of solidarity and a significant
degree of empathy for those are at the short end of the stick.
3. Extensive role of the state in organizing the economy and society during war times
a. Greater acceptance for state intervention especially during the war times.
b. If countries were involved in WWII were able to claim success, people would
become more involved in state orders.
4. Cultural changes: acceptance of taxes to support war efforts
a. The state needed to collect the necessary funds, which would from taxation!
b. In order to support the social assistance to those who lost their jobs during the great
5. Demographics: 50 million killed in WWII
a. Could cater to the survival
b. Control mechanism “war”
6. Increase economic productivity in post-war period (automation)
a. Actual automation of productive process that made industrialization possible with
7. Full employment/full time jobs
a. Reconstruction would lead to full employment
8. Rise in wages and salaries favored the working classes
a. Fewer workers needed for the construction episode,
b. Wages go up when workers are in demand economic reconstruction
c. “Race to the bottom” movement of wages and salaries,
9. Role of IMF in fixing rates of exchange and keeping inflation low
10. Need to curtail communist influences on lower sectors
a. Most of these efforts, reconstruction in Europe
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Outcome: equality among peoples achieved not through peoples owning more property, but
through higher wages and salaries, paying more taxes, and allowing the state to use those taxes in
providing economic, social, and cultural rights: the creation of a salaried society made it possible
to bridge the gap between those who owned too much and those who used to own very little.
- Gaps have been breached and ameliorated by giving people full time jobs and full time
- But not by giving people private property.
- John Jacques Rousseau
o Equality is impossible
o Democratic society could be one, in which no one owns too much and no one is too
o There are no extremes and there is fluidity between equality and inequality to
ensure that this gap is not too large.
T HIS OUTCOME WAS POSSIBLE WITHOUT EVEN CHANGING CAPITALIST SOCIETY AND
- Liberal democracy and social democracy became finally reconciled: the welfare state seen
as a capitalist state injected with a dose of socialism.
o The welfare state is not a socialist state! It is capitalist and continues to be capitalist
o In order to save the capitalist system for its own destruction
This political compromise is the foundation of what is now called capitalist democracy
- Outcome: 1948 UNITED NATIONS universal declaration of human rights
o The 1948 un universal declaration of human rights
IT ESTABLISHES THREE GREAT CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS :
- (1) Civil rights or first generation rights (1-20) individual freedoms: right to speech,
expression, thought and assembly
- (2) Political rights or second-generation rights (21): right to participate in public affairs,
citizenship rights: to elect and be elected.
EXAM*** these are called negative rights: they are affirmed and declared in the face of any
attempt by government or anyone to infringe them
- It is a declaration in that the state, individual or group cannot infringe on these civil and
political right in any which way
- (3) Social, economic, and cultural rights (22-29), or third generation rights. The legacy of
socialist ideas: right to work, protection from illness, aging, incapacity, involuntary
unemployment; right to income compatible with the dignity of human life; right to adequate
health care and welfare; the right to rest and leisure time; the right to access education;
right to cultural life in the community to which individuals are embedded!
They are called positive rights, or special rights. They are different from civil and political
rights in that they do not protect the individual from state interference nor do they enable
the individual to participate in politics. Rather, they are rights that the state has the
obligation or responsibility to implement by enacting legislation and providing the