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Lecture #8 – The Role of the State

Course Code
SOC 103
Kelly Train

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Lecture #8 The Role of the State
July 23, 2012
1. What is the State?
- Social, economic activities that are paid for by the people, by the taxpayers
- Businesses don’t pay for them because they don’t want to, but they rely on these services
for the business to survive
- We benefit from these services, but businesses benefit from them more
- When you hear the world “State”, what do you think about?
o Government
Admin staff, bureaucrats
o Social workers
Public health
o Post office
o 911 firefighters (and police, but not paramedics)
o Post office
o Judges
o Crown (only kind of lawyers that are under)
o Welfare (social systems)
o MTO (roads, highways) - TTC (not GO)
o School system (most universities)
o Garbage collection
o Public libraries
o Public parks/recreation centres
o Immigration/customs
o All regulatory bodies ministry of environment/labour
o Colleges of physicians/nurses/engineers
- All of the above are called public sector, because the public pays for it
- The only one that actually makes money is the LCBO/OLG
- Petro Canada was a Crown body, a regulatory body till about 15 years ago when it became
- The movement towards Neo-Liberalism means the privatization of these services
2. Separation of Private and Public sectors
- Pretty clear distinction once you take a look at the list above
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3. Theories of the State
a. Pluralism
- Argues that the role of the State is to act like a neutral and mediating body
- They argue that no particular group, business, or interest group has power over another of
the same
- Special interest groups/lobby groups the role is to lobby the state to get their particular
interest heard and addressed
- The role of the state is to mediate and negotiate between these lobby groups, what is the
good of society as a whole
- Lobby groups:
o Most powerful lobby group Pharmaceutical/Chemical (conflict with Health)
o Second - Energy and mining oil and gas (Conflict with Environmentalists)
o Third - Tobacco
o Banks (Conflict with Labour/Union)
o Forestry (Conflict with Environmentalist)
o Farmers of Ontario (Goodland Ontario)
o Communications
o Insurance
o Car (conflict with Labour/Unions, Environmentalists)
o Labour/unions (Occupy)
o Environmentalists
o Racial/ethnic/religious group
o LGBT/Feminist (Slutwalk/Pride)
o Human rights
o Health
- The two groups conflict each other, so obviously one will have more power over the other
b. Marxism
- Ralph Miliband
- Leo Panitca
- Keg Whitiaker
- The State’s role is to do 3 things on behalf of business:
o Accumulation
Is to create social conditions for the maximum accumulation of wealth
o Legitimation
Is to sell capitalism to everyone in the society. How do you do that? You sell
them liberal ideology
This is where the media and the education system comes in
What you’re taught is the ideology of the ruling/elite class
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