Final Lecture – Is there “truth” in Political Science?
How do we know what we know?
Theory in Political Science
– To describe and explain (International Relations and Realism)
– To predict (e.g. Power transition theory and the rise of China)
– Use Theory To MakeArguments
– Markets – Efficiency – Productivity – Equity (capitalist, trickle-down theory)
– Democracy – Mobilization – Equity
– End of history (compelled by the two previous theories)
Healthy Democracies (2004)
– Confront theoretical conventional wisdom
– Conventional WisdomAbout Globalization: it would continue to expand capitalism and
embedded liberalism would decline, and economic development was solely about plugging
into the world market, and constituted a race to the bottom; growing levels of inequality, and
welfare state would be repealed
– Yet social spending in 1990s in Taiwan and South Korea increased, even socialized healthcare and
continued to grow at 8% a year
The Politics of Democratic deepening
– Electoral incentives: providing social programs wins votes
– Social movement mobilization: people began demanding the social programs
– Cross-class consensus: rich people agreed to the programs
– Universal health care: healthcare for everyone (redistributive: rich people pay bulk of costs)
How did Wong Find Out?
– Interviews with policy makers
– Observation of Labour Protests
– Surveys of bureaucrats
– Democracy is key – Wong was wrong: democracy doesn't mean increased social spending (Chile
is too poor to afford these programs)
– Fiscal Capacity is also necessary – Wong was wrong again: China had political will and money
for social programs but no social welfare state
– Growth with equity – probably still wrong
Political Science is about evolving arguments – truth is elusive
The End of History?