Pols 241 Lecture Sept 9/2013 : Week 1 Lecture 1
Comparative politics is about the moments that move countries from one political system to
It is about competing events, political systems and countries
o 1) society is chosen
However these choices have a lot of consequences.
o 2) parameters of action
Choices do not bring about necessarily good consequences.
Ex,1964 brazil – President made choice to nationalize a fruit company’s
land which equaled bad consequences.
o 3) Heart of course is THE STATE (Pg. 7 in Alfred Stepan’s book)
Paul Ricoeur: state= most important development in human history.
The state today employs 1/5 of the entire population (teachers, nurses, police,
Stabilizer of aggregate demand.
Creates basis for the demand of our economy
Prevents companies from going bankrupt
In developing countries government jobs are the most stable
Most of our income goes to the state but half of our benefits we will in
our lifetime get form the state in return.
Its everywhere but mostly invisible
When there is no state, alternatives emerge
o Warlords, crime, etc.
Problem with the state: How do you control it?(its too powerful to
o One of the central questions
Answer: Political systems( democracy emerged because
state was too powerful therefore it emerged to control
o Problem is similar to science fiction stories.
Civil society: Used to control the state
o It is associations, groups, individuals, companies, unions, ect.
o Political society (subset of civil society)