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Introduction to Political Science

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Political Science
Political Science 1020E
Charles Jones

Introduction to Politics- Lecture Notes What is politics based on Morgan’s Thesis?  Politics could be a means of war or avoiding war  Our freedom to choose our own future  War is declining, number of deaths because of war is dropping too  Democracies tend not to fight each other, more people living in democracies  Morgans thesis is that war is a harmful mean, a cultural tradition we’d be better off without  Other side, some people might say war is in our human animal genetic make up  Morgan would say ppl used to say that about slavery, male dominance ect but these things are no longer what they once were  Humans have capacity for both war and peace What is politics? Examples:  Elections- people with formal decision making power are put into place- formal politics  Demonstrations- informal politics- tea party protests- 1% protest- people expressing their voice to seek social change  Policy Decisions- environmental (windmills/windfarms near housing)- health policies (central or private)- education policies (separate schools funded by the state, free post- secondary education)- Law making (legislation, taxes, spending on health education infustructure, constitutions, relations between provincial and federal governments) Politics Matters  Decisions are made that affect you (policies, taxes)  Law assigns your rights and duties- what youre entitled to ect  Those decisions are enforced. Even if you’re not interested in what the law says you still have to follow it- it will always have an impact on you Politics seems to be about controlling other people. Laws of property (what is yours and what is theirs). Those rules are enforced; violators are penalized (fines, prison, even death in some areas). Politics has power over life and death of you and others Particular Case: Hispaniola- Politics Matters  This island contains Haiti and Dominican republic  On Dominican Republic it is relatively healthy whereas Haiti is very poor. Haiti is brown, DR is green  Different environmental conditions. Haiti has lower rainfall from easterly wind and mountains so lower soil quality but Haiti has a history of slavery, so higher population density.  Haiti is poorest country out of Africa. DR 7 times richer than Haiti.  DR export oriented, Haiti sustainable living oriented  Consequences of Political Decisions  DR better off than Haiti due to history of development of institutions and recent leaders of government  Both had slavery and dictatorships but DR dictator decided to have more park land and be more environmental  Political institutions and decisions and the history of those create the political differences Some Meanings of Politics  Formal Government Activity  Dishonestly seeking personal gain (self-interest, becoming a politician in some places is a useful means of getting rich)  Noble Pursuit of the public good (Jack Layton inspired people, tried to help people)  “Who Gets What, When, and How?” Primates  A biological order that includes humans, apes, and monkeys  Who is the cruelest primate?  Apes are political too Chimpanzee Politics  Competition, power, conflict  Small societies  Dominance strategies and alliances (males getting together to corner a female or keep other male out)  Winners and Losers  Characteristic male politics, inter group warfare, aggressive, territorial, hierarchical Bonobo Politics  As genetically close to humans as chimps  Peaceful, gentle, loving  Erotic and egalitarian  A study done in 2008 that when they’re in danger they hunt and eat other monkeys but sexual is more common Politics involves conflict and power over others but also involves negotiation (chimps vs bonobos) What is politics? Elements of Politics  Social  Process  Conflict  Binding Decisions (apply whether you like it or not)  Enforced Between
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