Textbook Notes (280,000)
CA (170,000)
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Tim Mau (10)
Chapter 1

POLS 3470 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Civic Nationalism, Government Failure, Continentalism

Political Science
Course Code
POLS 3470
Tim Mau

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Chapter 1 Business and Government: The Politics of Mutual
- Businesses of all sizes depend on governments for more or less stable sets of
rules that are necessary for them to carry on successfully
- Protects against threats or for a hand out in competing with others
- Governments depend on business investment for economic activity and
- Politicians need financial support from businesses to win and hold public
- Governments also have their own interests perpetuate themselves and
define policy goals
o Can conflict with business interests
- Neither business or government can be considered unitary actors
- Reinforced by the realities of regionalism and federalism
Political Ideas and the Role of Government in the Economy
- Public expectations of governments’ role in the economy may be shaped by
normative factors societal concepts of the public good to be fostered or
social evils to be corrected
- Economic prosperity and its equitable distribution within society have
become major factors in voters’ evaluation of governments
- Citizens also look to governments to protect their interests from negative
externalities the direct or indirect effects of economic activities that
harm other people
o May emerge from abuses or negligence of economic/political power of
businesses etc. (ex. Health, safety standards, etc.)
- Similarly, governments or political systems that tolerate inequalities of
opportunity without providing means for improvement are likely to be
challenged by political movements to restructure social/economic
Liberal Capitalist democracy (Canada or the United States)
Two basic approaches to the distribution of social and economic opportunities:
1. Allocates opportunities through political system (elected politicians, etc)
2. Competitive market economy
- Two approaches overlap significantly
Political Objectives of Economic Regulation: A historical overview
- Spread of democracy reinforced the role of politics in legitimizing structures
and outcomes of economic activity
- Emergence during the 20th century of large professional bureaucracies to
design and administer the policies and programs of a growing public sector
has increased the capacity of government elites to play a central role in the
workings of the economy
Expanding State Power and Autonomy
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- Raison D’etat: the preoccupation of governing elites with the protection and
expansion of their power to serve the interests of the state
- Mercantilism approaches to economic policy that are based on open state
partnerships with private capitalist enterprises
o Historically, these policies have reflected their rulers’ efforts to
finance their activities to preserve and expand their political and
military power
o Another effect of mercantilism the economic dependence of colonial
economies on the imperial power for defense or internal security,
capital to finance economic development and external markets for
their products
o Has influenced scholars and writers working from a social democratic
perspective to argue that business (as a class) has enjoyed a
privileged position in its dealings with government
It might be beneficial for fostering economic development but
provoke resentment and political competition from other
social and economic interests
- In direct conflict with ideologies of the market system
- Market Liberalism stresses the importance of individual liberty, the
private ownership of property, rule of law, and the diffusion of both political
and economic power to maximize the social and economic well-being of
individuals and the collective well-being of the community
o Maximum freedom of economic activity from political control
o Recognize the role of government in providing a stable and
transparent legal framework to promote the common good
- Dominant ideas that shaped Canadian government policies
o Elements of market liberalism to public expectations of an active role
for government in enabling citizens to achieve greater economic
Building Political Alliances with Major Economic and Social Interests
- Neo-mercantilism protective tariffs and state subsidies for internal
o Central to programs of industrialization and modernization
o The effect of these ideas on Canadian public policies during the last
century can be seen in government initiatives designed to foster
Canadian control over economically strategic industries
Ex. Crown corporations as instruments to promote
development and growth
o Implied a clear distinction of roles between business and government
- Alliance Building reflect the demands of social and economic interests for
governments to reduce perceived barriers to their economic advancement
o Ex. Social groups efforts to offset economic disadvantages by political
action like Farmers’ groups
o Trade unions trade political support for favourable legislation and
improvements to social policies
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