POL 1101 Study Guide - Final Guide: Corporatism, Oligarchy, Egalitarianism

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Part A. Essay question (30%)
Which basic perspective - Marxist, elitist, or pluralist is most useful in understanding
the character of the modern State?
-What is Elitism / Why Elitism?
All societies are inevitably ruled by a single, unified, self-conscious elite
Robert Michels, Max Weber; later: C. Wright Mills, G. Sartori
Response to Marxism
Fairly concentrated power & great state autonomy
Reject Egalitarianism (C.W. Mills) Elites are produced through institutions i.e. educa-
tion: Harvard
Social institutions transmit hegemonic ideas so theyre valued by elites (Gramsci)
-Naturally free & equal individuals must agree to be ruled by another (Pateman) >
Elite makes us think we want it with contract (Hobbes)
-State of nature: desired solution (Rawls) VS merely an idea (Kant)
Peoples voice heard, but nothing is done followed by ongoing pressure elites will
conform because it then becomes in their best interest (Tilly)
-Citizens are powerless unless majority co-operates together (Rousseau) > Need to
participate and must be active to push (Mill)
-Mistake to think that individuals are represented (Cole)
Median voter idea: parties move to appeal to the middle where most people are this is
strategic for elites as they are still getting what they want
EX: Welfare benefited the people but also the owners of capital because this meant
healthy workers (Garner)
Peoples pressure will of course change things over time but we are still dealing with
problems such as the power the meat and dairy industries have [supports Marxism idea of
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economy as source of power] This distorts health policies (i.e. eat X servings of dairy a
day for strong bones] > economic power means political power
Instrumentalism democratization based on ruling elites choices (Tilly)
Elite interests represented as your interests distorted vision (Gramsci)
Organized power always involves elites (Michaels Iron Law of Oligarchy) Like orga-
nized religion is for power and money
Best you can get is Elites competing in a system (enabled by voting in a democracy) >
Pluralism exists among competing elites (Garner)
-Voter utility maximization as a tool (Garner)
-Role of Structure (social/economic/political) and Agents is important (Leftwich)
people want maximum benefits and minimum costs
-Democracy is valid if the people had the power to replace a government
(Schwartzmantel)But elites are competing against each other so whats the point!
US example: politics + military + economy = power > its members are elite, having mon-
ey, power, and prestige (C.W. Mills)
-Influences institutions and what they teach/pass on (i.e. School, church, family)
-Different theories to explain whos elite naturally born or achievement?
-Political elite shape history and the peoples lives through their choices
In elections we choose between elites (Schumpeter)
Started to get more apparent after 1970s when professional parties rose and mass mem-
bership declined?
Elites in every aspect of life i.e. systematic inequalities: racial superiority, male supe-
riority, power over animals
Liberalism promotes freedom and equality among allYet so many groups aren't
free/equal! > Explains why Feminists and Environmentalists have not reached full success
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(i.e. huge environmental threats and no one [elites don't] care because it would harm their
interest: economy)
-Inequality in wealth/status leads to inequality in education/power/control; this is
fatal to any democrat (Cole)
Congress represents elites VS societys ethnic groups and genders (Garner)
Modern Societal/Neo Corporatism: government attempt to include economics in decision
making (Garner)
Elites say whats (ab)normal and (il)legal (Garner)
Criticism: conservative/fascist tendencies > this is extreme!
Responses: (modifications/combination of ideas always have the potential to be better; al-
ways have the room for improvement Elitism = best overall) Elite Pluralism (Dahl)
Elites compete with uneven power*, Competitive Elitism (Schumpeter, Sartori) Limited
democracy: Elites have the upper-hand (less participation said to be good because people
are too emotional > expanding participation makes it fairer as more voices are heard to
elites conform)
-What is the Modern State?
The State claims to protect you; might cost $ (Tilly)
Violence & legitimacy used by the State to get its wants
Potential power of the State is now aware of (Garner): i.e. previously many working for
secret police in Germany
Hard to define (Piesson)
Political organizations with operations that uphold claims of monopoly and legitimate use
of force (Weber)
What/why/how State does something critical supports individual rights/general
will? (Schwartzmantel)
-Why not Marxism?
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