chapter 1, sept 15.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Political Science
Peter Loewen

Logic of American Politics Chapter 1 Sept 16 17Politics process through which individualsgroups reach agreement on a course of common or collective action even as they disagree on the intended goal of that action Each party finds a solution to its conflict success needs to be bargained Successful bargaining usually means compromising in which each side concedes some preferences to secure others Government institutions tend to regard preferences as givens individuals and groups know what they want that must be reconciled if they are to agree to some common course of action Preferences may reflect the individuals economic situation religious values ethnic ideas or some other valued interest Commonly associate preferences with some sort of self interest Importance of Institutional DesignIn the absence of effective political institutions they could count on to manage potential conflicts ethnic and religious rivals became trapped in a spiral of mutual suspicion fear and hostility Without set or rules war can ensure Political Systems Logic Collective Action ProblemsCollective action the efforts of a group to reach and implement agreements challengs participants to figure out how to do it comparing preferences and having enough participants to agreeCoordination members of the group must decide individually what they want what they are prepared to contribute to the collective enterprise how to coordinate their efforts with those of othersPrisoners Dilemma individuals decide even though they support some collective undertaking they are better off pursuing an activity that rewards them individually despite the collective effort CoordinationProblems occur with larger groups those trying to reach a shared goal might emulate the symphony in designating and following a leader it explains why a countries decision aking is delegated to a small number of poltiicans who engage in a structural setting governmentExample republican nomination polls went from each candidate in search of an alternative to Obama a common focal point help individuals target their energies toward a common purpose its an prominent cue that helps individuals recognize the preferences of others with whom they want to cooperate Coordination problems arise from uncertaintyinsufficient information and may prevent collective undertakings even when a great majority agrees on a course of action
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