Political Science 1020E Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Environmental Policy, Blockade Of Africa, Aristocracy
Course CodePolitical Science 1020E
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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
•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?
•Elections - municipal, provincial, federal; citizens choose representatives; power
•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.
•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,
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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