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Political Science
POLI 212
Hudson Meadwell

POLI 212 FINAL REVIEW Essay section I Consociational democracy – Lijphart - Background: definition of a regime o Rules of the political game o Allocation of power and authority among political offices & agencies o Formal rules imply some kind of codification (e.g. a constitution) o Informal rules or conventions are also possible (e.g. Britain) - Lijphart is interested in variations among liberal democracies; he argues that Siaroff’s classifications of democracies are not specific enough o He is writing in 1989, before the third wave of democratization in the 1990s - His main question is how to distinguish different types of democratic regimes o Basic distinction between: majoritarian & consensus democracies o Each are organized around a basic political principle:  Majoritarian – concentrate as much power as possible in the hands of the majority  Consensus – share and disperse power as much as possible - He highlights two independent dimensions which can be used to define democratic regimes and then to classify individual cases: o First Dimension – institutional profile  Is executive power concentrated?  If yes, majoritarian; if no, consensus  Is the party system two party or multi-party?  Two party = majoritarian; multi-party = consensus  Is the party system one-dimensional or multi-dimensional?  One-dimensional = majoritarian; multi = consensus  Is the electoral system a plurality system or is it proportional representation?  Plurality FPTP = majoritarian; PR = consensus o Second Dimension – territorial profile  Is power concentrated territorially or is it divided?  Basically: unitary vs. federal state - “Homogenous societies in which a high degree of consensus naturally exists can afford majoritarian and competitive government… in societies that are not naturally and spontaneously consensual, the political regime has to be arranged so as to introduce as much consensus as possible” o A consensual regime is designed to accommodate the differences embedded in a plural society  Does not pit winners against losers  Not a question of being either in power or out of power, and, when out of power, being at the mercy of someone you fundamentally disagree with - Consociational democracy is a stronger form of consensus government that emerges in plural societies with deep cultural divisions o Main characteristics:  Power sharing – “Grand Coalition” (rather than minimum- winning)  Proportionality – refers to PR, but also proportional allocation of public funds, civil offices, etc.  Commitment to segmental autonomy  Sub-cultural veto  Proportional access to political resources o Elite accommodation – elite-driven society, compromises between sub-cultural leaders  Monopoly of Representation (no serious competitors to leadership)  Monopoly of Information (elite negotiations are private) o Deep divisions between sub-cultures within society  Example: if you know someone’s religion you can tell what party they vote for, what kind of job they have, what they do for recreation, etc. (“Communities of faith”) o Lijphart says that, “consociational and consensus democracy have a large area of overlap, but neither is completely encompassed by the other”  Where they differ, consensus tends to emphasize formal- institutional devices while consociational relies more on informal practices o Consensus & consociational democracy are supposed to artificially introduce as much consensus as possible (like would be normally present in a majoritarian system)  The difference is that consociational is the stronger medicine  Consensus provides incentives for broad power-sharing, while consociational requires it (same with segmental autonomy) Coalition Government – Vanberg & Martin - Distinction to be made between single-party governments and coalition governments o Problem: how interparty differences are managed in coalition gov’ts  This doesn’t arise in single-party gov’ts as long as there is some kind of ideological cohesiveness - In a parliamentary coalition government (i.e. consensus democracy), there is considerable delegation of power to members of the cabinet/legislature o Individual cabinet ministers have considerable autonomy within their policy areas… what happens when ministers of important positions come from different political parties?  “How do coalition governments work in consensus democracies?” o “Principle-agent problem” – delegation of powers creates the risk that the agents (i.e. cabinet ministers) may not truly work in the best interests of the principle (i.e. cabinet as a whole)  Ministers enjoy an informational advantage in their policy area; makes it hard for non-educated MPs to criticize them - Question: how can coalition members deal with the possibility that individual ministers will abuse their autonomy to undermine compromise positions? o Answer: these kinds of coalition parliamentary systems have evolved a set of institutions which compensate for ministerial autonomy: standing committees  These committees correspond to ministerial policy areas and are filled by members of both parties  Function: give coalition members the opportunity to monitor their coalition partners to make sure that ministerial autonomy is not abused  These committees have broad investigative powers, and are meant to reduce the informational advantage that cabinet ministers have vis-à-vis the rest of the legislature o The problem is that proper investigation of all bills introduced by cabinet ministers requires a large amount of time  “The greater the ideological diversity between coalition partners on the issues addressed by a bill, the more likely the bill is to encounter delay in the legislative process” Crisis of Embedded Liberalism – Keohane - Post-war settlements in Europe were underpinned by a certain international economic context – domestic economic policy does not exist in a vacuum (international factors/issues play a huge role) o Post-war settlements were stabilized by a stable international economic environment  Liberalism was originally accepted in Europe for such an unprecedentedly long time because of the extended period of prosperity lasting till the 1970s (associated with liberal policy)  It was American hegemony that provided the basis for the development & expansion of the European welfare state  Europe post-WWII pursued policies of “embedded liberalism”  Did not develop on its own, it was pushed for by the US o Partly ideological o Mainly in an attempt to gain political control over finance and energy  By establishing itself as the sole economic hegemon & world financier (through the Marshall Plan & Bretton Woods), the US gained control of finance  Energy would come with allying Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern oil exporters o This US action provided significant benefits to European economies: specifically a drop in the price of oil  This prosperity brought on by American liberalism was what financed the European welfare state  American domination of the Middle East and push for economic openness allowed European countries to finance their welfare states - American Liberal Capitalism constrained the European left from going as far as it would have liked o Openness in the world economy favours capitalists vis-à-vis labour; since it leads capitalists to coalesce and labour to fragment o As this economic stability began to be questioned in the 1960s, the post-war settlements began to change as well  What were the international economic changes?  Increasing competition in the international economy (especially from the “third world”)  Raw materials/inputs begin to increase in cost  Declining American hegemony in the int’l economy - All of these changes were occurring within a relatively open international economy (rise of liberalism through the 1950s-60s) o International openness  transmits good things in the 50s and 60s (f`uelled by reindustrialization of Europe post-WWII)  When things start to go bad, however, international openness  everyone suffers  When the US was pursuing high inflationary policies during the Vietnam War and into the 1970s, international liberalism spread high inflation throughout all open economies o By the 1970s growth is slower, unemployment & inflation rise  One solution: protectionist trade policies  Result: creates new winners and losers in Europe - Keohane has four types of liberal economic systems: o Classic liberalism – laissez-faire, let the market work itself out because gov’t intervention will only disrupt the economy o Embedded liberalism – classical liberalism w/ some rough edges  E.g. certain basic human rights and living standards should be upheld by the state if the market cannot provide them o Self-help – non-interference in the domestic economy but high tariffs and trade barriers erected (not necessarily a welfare state) o Socialism/closed national capitalism – states believe in interventionist policies where they provide welfare to the citizens  Major aspects: state intervention in the economy and provision of welfare - Interaction between social democratic policy & liberalism (1950s-60s) o American hegemony + the Marshall Plan: the US helped the European economies recover, but in the process pushed liberal laissez-faire policies on Western Europe o In the 1970s liberalism was facing many problems… many start to question the value of interdependence  Rise of East Asian economies presents new competition to the West o Success of liberalism in the 1950s-60s created economic interdependence  this hurts the liberal western economies when times get rough in the 1970s - Rise of American hegemony & liberalism in the 1950s and 60s = development of the European welfare state o Erosion of American hegemony & the spread of capitalism to all areas of the world = decline of the welfare state  The success of liberal capitalism itself is what is now causing its downfall  East Asian and other newly industrialized countries have comparative advantages over Europe and the West in everything - Distinction between Type A and Type B embedded liberalism o Type A: large countries, labour-exclusion  The left only has sporadic control of government  Large economies less reliant on exports to survive  Less incentives to organize the workforce around voluntary wage restrains = labour-exclusion and a liberal-welfare regime o Type B: small countries, labour-inclusion  Left wing parties regularly in power  Need to export to survive -> has a chain of consequences  To maintain competitiveness labour wages must be controlled (voluntarily through unions)  Commitment from business and government to maintain an extensive welfare state – a “social wage” that supplements the voluntarily constrained labour wage A New Welfare State – Esping-Andersen - Today’s advanced welfare states are elaborations of the post-war “welfare capitalist” regime o Most of these historical regime shifts have one thing in common: ideological competition between rival views of “Good Society”  Liberals vs. social Catholicism vs. social democracy  A promise to resolve the “social question” and put an end to class inequalities (corporatist and social democracy) o Old kinds of welfare regimes may not be enough in a post-industrial society - The New Welfare Challenge: economic upheaval o Technological transformation and the dominance of service employment  changes in the social risk structure  new set of societal winners and losers  New losers: younger, less educated, less skilled – likely to be motivated by the extreme right o The service sector employs skilled professionals; less opportunity for low-skilled production workers  Weak human capital are likely to face either low wages or unemployment  Does class no longer matter? -> it may be less visible, but its importance now is arguably more decisive  Post-industrial economy is not organized around class labour-business relations  The cleavage between capital and labour is no longer dominant  no socialist party remains committed to the nationalization of industry  Human capital is the most important resource in a dynamic and competitive knowledge economy  Demographic shifts -> to sustain the elderly we must maximize the productivity of the young - The need for a new method: o Current policy making is short-sighted – the identification of problems is often based on a static methodology, or snapshots  Ex: how many children abandon school? How many people fall below the poverty line? o Snapshots can be useful is society remains stable… but our modern society is undergoing rapid change - The new method must meet three criteria: gives us an informed ‘peek’ into the future; links fragments to the whole; and captures the dynamics of citizens’ life chances o The core welfare issue isn’t how many people are currently low-paid, but how many people are likely to remain permanently low-paid?  “The foremost challenge we face is to avert social ills becoming permanent” o The life course framework satisfies all three of these criteria - Principles of social justice: the welfare state implies a social contract w/ the citizenry (e.g. an institutionalized contract) o Many people (i.e. the right) are opposed to welfare because they fail to see how it improves societal (i.e. their) well-being o Welfare as a social investment:  Educational expenditures yield a dividend because they make citizens more productive  Even welfare policies related to child welfare will have societal dividends later  life course framework  Good childhood upbringing leads to good results later - The three welfare pillars: markets, family, government o Markets = liberals; family = social Catholicism; gov’t = social democrat  Government – Scandinavia  “De-familialized” welfare responsibilities with the goal of: strengthening families + greater individual independence (less market-dependent)  Problems: heavy tax requirements; requires full employment and sustained economic growth  Markets – Liberal welfare model (US, UK, etc.)  Private welfare plans balance public budgets and reduce citizens’ taxes, but produce social dualisms and second-order consequences o Ex: low-wage trap continues to low old age benefits  Work-conditional benefits don’t help the unemployed  Reduces public expenditures, but questionable if citizens actually save money (if they choose to opt for private insurance)  Achilles’ heel: shrinking benefits for the middle class means they will be less willing to pay higher taxes later  Family – Continental European model  Protects well those with stable, lifelong employment o Those with a tenuous connection to the labour market have inadequate security o Gap between ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’  Dependence on male breadwinners – problematic with marital instability  Weak fiscal capability for the government because of a narrow tax base combined w/ costly pension commitments o Each of these pillars is mutually interdependent -> the family/gov’t may in theory absorb market failures for example  The problem arises when neither is capable of absorbing the failure of the two others -> welfare deficit/crisis  “Triple failure” -> private troubles become public issues o Any choice of where to concentrate welfare production faces two problems:  Diagnosis of “pillar failure” – we can identify market failures, but diagnosing a family failure is much more difficult  Potential consequences of allocating welfare responsibilities to any given pillar – e.g. emphasizing the role of the family for welfare (like in Southern Europe) often delays independence, job insertion, and family formation - Question of a common European Union welfare strategy for all members o Faces significant problems:  Do individual nations face the same set of challenges?  Would it even be advantageous to adopt similar targets for considering different social circumstances? The New Right – Pippa-Norris - Important: how far the ideological location of radical right parties works within the context of electoral rules and the distribution of public opinion o Electoral rules affect the electoral strategies that radical right parties adopt to maximize their appeal  Majoritarian: party competition is clustered around the median voter  Consensus: party competition is dispersed across the entire ideological spectrum - Electoral rules also generate strong mechanical and psychological effects o If challengers do not believe that they stand a chance of being elected in a majoritarian system, the radical right will be less likely to express themselves in the form of a political party  Instead they may mobilize through social movements or interest groups o Majoritarian systems are likely to generate rational vote-maximizing incentives for radical right parties to focus on populist strategies and a more moderate ideological approach  In a PR system you are more likely to see a niche radical right party that is more extreme and committed to its ideals - Kitschelt: support for radical right parties is fuelled by a broader unhappiness with the electoral choices that are offered by the mainstream parties (Norris argues against this) - Van der berg: the more centrist the mainstream right party is, the more spatial opportunity for radical right parties to emerge End of the Transition Paradigm – Carothers - In the last quarter of the 20 century there has been a worldwide trend away from dictatorial rule and towards more liberal and democratic governance o The “Third Wave” of democracy – started in Southern Europe, Latin America, and East Asia; spread to the former Soviet Union, sub- Saharan Africa, etc. in the 1990s - The original democratic transition paradigm has outlived its usefulness… five core assumptions of the transition paradigm: o 1. Any country moving away from dictatorial rule can be considered a country in transition towards democracy  Wrong: many of the transition countries have hardly democratized at all – feckless pluralism and dominant-power politics should not be considered on the way to liberal democracy o 2. Democratization tends to unfold in a set sequence of stages: opening, breakthrough, and consolidation  Wrong: many cases did not follow this sequence at all o 3. The determinative importance of elections – the belief that “elections” equals “democracy”  Wrong: many transition countries have regular elections, but political participation beyond this remains shallow and weak o 4. The underlying conditions of transitional countries (e.g. economic level, political history, ethnic makeup) will not be major factors in the transition process  Wrong: relative economic wealth and past experience with political pluralism increases the chances of democratic success o 5. Transition countries of the third wave are being built upon coherent, functioning states  Wrong: many transition countries have faced fundamental state-building challenges - Into the Gray Zone: the truth about most transition countries o Only ~20/100 transitioning countries still clearly en route to becoming successful, well-functioning democracies  Mostly found in Central Europe and the Baltics o Most of the “transitional countries” are neither dictatorial nor clearly headed towards democracy…  they are in the political gray zone  They have some attributes of democratic life, yet suffer some serious democratic deficits - Two common political syndromes are found in gray zone countries: o Feckless pluralism – politics is seen as stale, corrupt, and elite- dominated that delivers little good to the country  Significant amounts of political freedom, regular elections, and alternations of power  However democracy remains shallow and troubled  Common in Latin America – deep legacy of poor performance of state institutions  The gov’t is unable to make headway on any of the major problems facing the country: crime, corruption, health & education, economic performance, etc.  The whole class of political elites are cut off from the citizenry  Political life is a hollow and unproductive exercise o Dominant-power politics – limited political space, some political contestation by opposition parties, and basic institutional forms of democracy  One political party has a firm hold on power – little prospect of alternation of power in the foreseeable future  Blurring of the line between the state and the ruling party  Jobs, media, police, etc. are put under direct control of the ruling party  Judiciary is afraid to go against the dominant party  Dubious but not outright fraudulent elections  Citizenry tends to be disaffected from politics and cut off from significant participation besides voting  State tends to be weak and poorly performing – large-scale corruption and “crony capitalism”  Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Union – Russia & S. Africa almost there - It is no longer appropriate to assume that: o Most of these countries are actually in a transition to democracy o Countries moving away from authoritarianism will follow a three part process of democratization (opening, breakthrough, consolidation) o The establishment of regular elections will foster a long term deepening of democratic participation and accountability o A country’s chances for successful democratization depends primarily on the good intentions of political elites o State-building is a secondary challenge to democracy-building Why Europe needs a Constitution – Habermas - To conserve the great democratic achievements of the European nation-state o As a political collectivity, Europe cannot take hold in the consciousness of its citizens simply in the shape of a common currency  Europe currently lacks a symbolic crystallization that comes from a political foundation - Why should we pursue the project of a constitution for Europe? o “First Generation” – put an end to intra-European warfare, and contain the power of a potentially threatening Germany o In order to have any military/political power compared to the US at the international level, European nations must consolidate their voices & forces o Economic argument – a unified Europe is the surest path to growth and welfare  The current lack of motivation for a European constitution makes the straight-up economic argument insufficient…  Stronger argument: against the threats of globalization, Europe needs to band together to defend the core of the welfare state  Threats to this unique European way of life (that emphasizes social, political, and cultural inclusion) provides a better incentive for closer integration  “Europe is more than a market” - Threats of globalization & social solidarity o Economic globalization  rapid structural change  distributes social costs more unequally, increases the gap between winners and losers, generally inflicts heavier burdens in the short term o “Democratic gov’ts should have the ch
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