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Lecture 2

Political Science 1020E Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Environmental Policy, Blockade Of Africa, Aristocracy

Political Science
Course Code
Political Science 1020E
Glenville Jones

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Politics, Power, Authority
The Decline of Violence
Steven Pinker’s Theory
Our era is less cruel than any other period in the history of humanity
The Evidence
War is declining - Cold War (1969)
Annual war deaths have decreased from 50,000 per year to 30,000 per year
15% chance of dying by violence in early eras
The creation of states - who gets to force people to do what (much better off
with states than we would be without them)
Commerce - idea that free trade will lead to states
Questioning of certain activities as cruel (slavery; torture; violence against
women, children, homosexuals) - idea of treating animals and humans diff.
“Democracy is the worst from of government except for all those other forms that have
been tried from time to time” -Winston Churchill
What is Politics?
Some Examples:
Elections - municipal, provincial, federal; citizens choose representatives; power
changes hands
Demonstrations - protests in Washington D.C., Ottawa; demonstrating against the
gov’t; making your voice heard
Policy Decisions - environmental policy; should we dependent on a certain form of
energy; how should universities be funded
Law-Making - governments pass laws on tax rates; RESP; income tax rates for
different incomes; how much is spent on health, education; municipal, prov., fed.
Politics Matters
Decisions That Affect You
Laws Assign Rights and Duties - laws are passed and must be obeyed
Decisions are Enforced - taxes, fines, imprisoned for violating particular laws
Hispaniola - first place Christopher Columbus hit land; now split into 2 islands - Haiti,
Dominican Republic
1/3 of D.R. covered in trees; 7x richer than Haiti; 74 natural reserves/land parks
1% of Haiti covered in trees; poorest country in the world; 4 land parks
Different environmental conditions
Consequences of political decisions
Politics Matters...But, What is it?
Both were ruled by dictatorships
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