Rational Choice Explanations
a methodologically individualist theory that reveals how intentional and rational actors generate
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.
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
it produces a very testable theory with clear conditions
provides a plausible compelling story with few variables
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
It assumes individual decisions are rational at all times, and that reason underlies all decision-
making processes, ignores the possibilities of uncertainties.
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
- 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
-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
-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