Introduction and Orientation .pdf

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Christian Campbell

- development and democracy as major major tests/markers of government within the study of [comparative] politics - development -> move from less sophisticated, subsistence economies (wherein citizens produce only to consume, themselves, these goods) to specialised economies (wherein production has grown more efficient, most citizens are consuming goods that others have produced, some even oversee the exchange of goods like lawyers) -> most popular way to measure development is by gnp - one critique: but as a goal, does it not presume wealth-creation to be the end game, normalising wealth as the only measure of success -> critics argue that wealth should not be a goal in and of itself, as an intrinsically valuable outcome -> rather the side benefits (such as health, education, infrastructure in general) should be the end game - what of the promotion and projection of the western-style process/model of development excluding all else -> what of those losing cultural products in this pursuit of sophisticated systems of production - these concerns have actually led to a shift in our approach -> rather than just throw away development as a means of assessing the hierarchy of countries, we redefine it -> now development refers not only to the gnp, but also to the infant mortality rate, to life expectancy, etc. -> some countries, then, have very high gnps while also having very poor records of social welfare provision, promotion of human rights (ex. united states) -> where wealth fails to correlate with higher levels of human wellbeing, where the two can be disaggregated, we might want to call the countries with similarly high gnps that also manage to bolster human rights (and freedoms), should be termed better developed by comparison - this whole thing is meant to complicate how we think of certain countries as failures and others as successes by rethinking this definition of development -> remember: terms like “first world” vs “third world” have fallen out of the popular rhetoric because of these implications of failure and success - we are positing that development is not only something that happens in the “global south” (i.e. the so-called developing world) - questions: are certain countries more successful because their members are more culturally disposed to work hard? because they have more resources? because there’s less corruption? -> these theories fall under two camps, first, it’s the countries’fault, second, it’s the fault of the global system -> one theory (often called ‘dependency theory’) posits that development involves exploitation so that the wealth of some is built on the failure of others - definitions of democracy are also loaded with normative implications -> there are tons of indices that measure countries’based on their successful employment of democracy -> the thin definition of democracy (just as gnp was the thin definition of development) would be elections -> slightly denser, often used today (by non-governmental monitors, watchdogs): free and fair elections (in which most people can vote for whom they choose, knowing that the representatives with most votes will actually lead the country) -
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