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University of Toronto Scarborough
Political Science
R Rice

Rational Choice Explanations  a methodologically individualist theory that reveals how intentional and rational actors generate collective outcomes  patterns of behaviour in societies reflect the choices made by individuals as they try to maximize their benefits and minimize their costs. People make decisions by comparing the costs and benefits of different courses of action.  All actions can be ranked in an order of preference. Assumptions  individualism: it is individual agents, not institutions and structures who ultimately take action  self-interest individual can be expected to act to improve their own welfare.  optimality - social actors attempt to achieve the best for themselves on light of the options presented to them. a. small-scale farmer are unable to organize and make demands b. the few large-scale wealthy farmers benefit from agricultural subsidies and will fight for them c. urban workers are highly organized and benefit from cheap food d. state-agricultural projects allow government to buy political support Strengths  it produces a very testable theory with clear conditions  provides a plausible compelling story with few variables  generalizable implications Limits  insensitive to historical, political, and cultural contexts  based on western assumptions of rationality  has thus far failed to produce any significant empirical contribution  it assumes an individual has full or perfect information about exactly what will occur due to any choices made.  It assumes individual decisions are rational at all times, and that reason underlies all decision- making processes, ignores the possibilities of uncertainties. Alternative Development, alternative development emerges out of post-development theory. It is sometimes called ‘development with a human face’, and is criticized as extending the project of development and providing a friendly exterior to the oppressive practice of development. Examples of alternative development are NGO-led development and sustainable development. Post-development theory advocates for alternatives to development, rather than alternative development, because development is the problem and must be rejected Core - The core focus on higher skill, capital-intensive production, specializes in high technology, capital intensive goods. They are the industrialized capitalist countries on which periphery countries and semi- periphery countries depend on. Nonetheless, the system is dynamic, and individual states can gain or lose the core (semi-periphery, periphery) status over time. Some countries become the world hegemonic powers such as the United States , West Europe, United States, Canada. -They are regions that benefited the most from a capitalist economy; developed strong central governments, extensive bureaucracies, and large mercenary armies. The core states are in geographically advantaged areas of the world—Europe and North America. These core states promote capital accumulation internally through tax polity, government purchasing, sponsorship of research and development, financing infrastructural development and maintaining social order to minimize class struggle. -Core states also promote capital accumulation in the world-economy itself. These states have the political, economic, and military power to enforce unequal rates of exchange between the core and the periphery. -The World Systems Theory argues that a nation's future is decided by their stance in the global economy. A global capitalistic market demands the needs for wealthy (core) states and poor (periphery) states. Core states benefit from the hierarchical structure of international trade and labor. World systems theory follows the logic that international wars or multinational financial disputes can be explained as attempts to change a location wit
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