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Lecture 2

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Political Science
Political Science 1020E
Charles Jones

Poli Sci Week 2 State Forms of the Global North Part 1 Liberal Democracies - most stable, predictable, and most durable of all political systems - strongest record in political freedom, political choice, human rights, and the provision of political goods - wealthiest and most economically productive societies in the world - The number of liberal democracies has grown particularly in recent years due to the expansion of the memberships of Northern Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union - Liberal Democracies have 6 major defining qualities: 1. Liberalism 2. Democracy 3. Durable State Structures 4. Postindustrial Economies 5. High Quality of Life 6. Global Influences 1. Liberalism - A political ideology that supports limited government, individual freedom, socal toleration, and the redistribution of resources - Classical liberalism: an arrangement designed to ensure limited government, usually through a social contract in other words, it is an agreement between government nd citizens regarding their obligation to one another - Economic liberalism (capitalism): an economic system driven by profit, private ownership, and supply and demand. 2. Democracy - A political system in which government is based on a mandate from the people - Since most societies are too big to ask each individual their opinion on every decision, they opt instead for a representative democracy, a system in which citizens elect others to represent their views and interests - Elite theory: argues that most democracies are controlled by a ruling class - Group theory (pluralism): argues that democracy should be seen not so much in individual terms but in group terms; polyarchy: ruled by the many - Anthony Birch makes a distinction between three different strands of democracy; the populist (rule of the people), the pluralist, and the institutional (a focus on institutions and processes) -Democracy always has the following three features: (1) government by elected officials, (2) regular elections at which all eligible voters can make their choices, (3) few (if any) regulations on the rights of all adults to vote, (4) competing political parties offering a variety of ideological platforms, (5) multiple channels through which citizens can express their views (such as interest groups and a free press), (6) freedom of speech, (7) an independent court system, and (8) a constitution - Democracies believe in the rule of law, meaning that all citizens are equally subject to the same body of laws, which limit the powers of elected officials and protect the rights of citizens 3. Durable State Structures - Strong and generally well-respected political institutions and legal systems, the consistency of their political processes, their relatively efficient and professional bureaucracies, and the rarity of serious challenges to their territorial integrity. 4. Postindustrial Economies - Liberal democracies are usually best know as advanced industrialized societies when they should be described as advanced service societies - Most wealth in social democracies is generated by services such as retailing, entertainment, tourism, banking, and insurance - Agriculture and industry tend to dominate in poorer countries, which usually have a smaller service sector - Liberal democracies are highly urbanized (due to industrialization) with anything from 75 to 95 percent of their people living in towns and cities so power tends to be focused in cities and urban interest 5. High Quality of Life - Most people in liberal democracies have a relatively high standard of licing when measured by the availability of jobs, education, health care, consumer choice and basic services - Although liberal democracies still wrestle with illiteracy, poverty, discrimination, crime, pollution, and homelessness, these are normally much worse in poorer countires 6. Global Influence - Liberal democracies are the worlds most politically and economically influential states. - More accustom to leading and acting than following and reacting Understanding Liberal Democracy - A product of changes that came to European society between the 13 and 19 th th centuries - 13 -14 Centuries: The end of feudalism (a hierarchical system in which most people own little and are subservient to an aristocracy that controls most of the land and political power) - King John of England Magna Carta, the first agreement that placed limits of the power of the monarch. This gave way to the first British parliament (not elected, on aristocrats) th th - 16 -18 Centuries: The reformation and enlightenment; German monk Martin Luther criticized papal corruption and luxury and argued that individuals should be able to worship God directly , rather than through intermediary of the church. In effect, he was argue in favor of individual rights and against the powers of the church and state - The American Declaration of Independence (1776) followed by the publication of the U.S Constitution (1787). This was the first written constitution in the world and the kind of social contract suggested by Locke and Rousseau. It ensured that on one arm of government could accumulate too much power - 17 -18 Centuries: The rise of the nation-state; formalizing and institutionalizing began to form after the monarch began to impose taxes to pay for the war - the 19 century saw the growth of nationalism: the belief that people with a common national identity have the right to form an independent state and to govern themselves free of external intervention. This caused boarders to become more rigidly protected - 18 -19 Centuries: The industrial revolution. Until the middle ages, European economies were based on agriculture. During the industrial revolution, human energy was replaced with mechanical energy. - Adam Smith criticized the traditional belief that a states power was based on its wealth and that state should keep as much wealth within its boarders encouraging exports and limiting imports. He argued instead that supply and demand was most efficient (free market) st - 17th-21 Centuries: The spread of liberal democracy; Imperialism: the extension of power through territorial conquest, or through the imposition of ideas and values, or through the imposition of ideas and values. - European imperialism was brought to an end after the two world wars - Two (recent) key developments in the expansion of liberal democracy: - 1. Japan and South Korea had began ideas of democracy and free markets after encouragement from a combination of American postwar political and economic leadership and of unique home-grown ideas about the nature of the government - 2. Democracy and capitalism have expanded into Eastern Europe due to pressure from the EU Liberal Democracy Today The following problems cause doubt as to whether Liberal Democracy is a true victory - In the US, many questions and criticisms have arisen concerning the nature of the electoral system, capital punishment for minors, Guantonomo Bay, and the use of torture with terrorist suspects - The rights of women in politics, wage rates of women - Racism and religious intolerances in the US and Western European countries where equal rights are not given in terms of jobs, loans, etc - Economic freedom Part 2 Communist and Post communist States Communism - Def: a social, economic, and political system in which power and property are held in common - In theory it is based on a governing structure in which everyone supposedly plays a part and has an equal role th - One of the defining global ideologies of he 20 century - Demise followed the collapse of the Soviet Union (1989-1990) - Communist Five: The only 5 countries that still claim adherence communism (China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam) - Technically, North Korea is the only country that practices true old style communism Five Major Defining Qualities of CPC - Centralized Political Control - Transitional State Structures - Centralized Economic Control - Difficulties with Social Adjustment - An External Identity Crisis 1. Centralized Political Control - In practice, the principles of communism have been so abused by leaders then communist states have been the antithesis of individual and social freedoms - Communism has included the construction of a police state - Police State: a state in which power in distributed and stability is maintained by force and intimidation - Communism in practice has meant the centralization of government, with power focused in the hands of a small elite - Communism has created the following four kinds of political institutions: 1. A single political party: attempts to make and implement policy and to control and direct government, the bureaucracy, and the private lives of citizens 2. A hierarchical government structure: supposedly separates from the party but is actually heavily controlled by the party 3. A large and usually inefficient bureaucracy: a subordinate to the party and used to implement the partys political, economic, and social goals 4. A complex network of social organizations; many of these look like liberal democratic interest groups but are actually used by the party (1) to gather information and impose additional social control 2. Transitional State Structures - a sign of a healthy democr
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