Unformatted text preview: What is Politics?
Wednesday, September 04, 2013
12:19 PM "Who gets what; when, where, and how." - Harold Lasswell
The politics of anything involve:
-Where there is no scarcity, there is no politics, because there is no need to persuade, manipulate, lie, scheme, etc. because everyone gets what they want, when they want.
-Politics can exist in families, classroom, between friends, businesses, high politics (U.N., Senate, etc)...
-Institutions provide a system of preset rule to try answer the who gets what, when where and how before it devolves into petty political bickering
-the final decision must be made at some point, by some one. The Politics of Tea
-Tea is a basic commodity subsidized in Egypt, but it still counts as a limited resource, and thereby induces the concept of Scarcity.
-poverty: can't afford enough tea, poor quality of tea
-variety: only have government tea, but demand is for Twinings
-Agriculture: not enough land to grow tea
-space/service: not enough teacups, teapot size
-priority: who gets tea first, how fast you get the tea
-control: he who controls the teapot controls the tea
-uneven distribution: some people get more tea than others, greed
-resources: how to create the hot water, can only make so much tea at once
-The scarcity provides a need for an authority figure to take control and deal out the tea in whichever order s/he sees fit.
-Old Aunty says: Elders get tea, then Guests, then Aunts and Uncles, then Cousins
Who is Who?
The process of assigning value and status to groups and individuals
-who made Old Aunty in charge?
-who made it traditional that Elders have tea priority?
-what makes different groups (racial, ethnic, gender, familial) more important?
Politics: A Working Definition
Patterns of human interaction that delineate distinct groups and determine the distribution of material, spiritual, intellectual, and cultural goods within and between groups.
Seeks to understand why different patterns of political interaction emerges in different locations.
-why are some places democratic and others authoritarian?
-why are some rich and some poor?
-why are there revolutions?
-why do ethnic groups fight?
-why are some states strong and some weak?
-if everybody wants peace and good governments with enduring prosperity, why does it not exist?
Building Blocks of the Modern World CompPol Page 1 STATE Growth
NATION MARKET CompPol Page 2 9/9/13 Discussion Monday, September 09, 2013
11:14 AM Interests, identities and institutions
Interests: what draws it or repels it from, for instance, conflict?
Identities: how does a nation view itself (individualistic, dependent, democratic, liberal, unified, warlike, violent, pacifistic, etc.)
Institutions: what groups have influence in this matter?
"Obama Tests Limits of Power in Syrian Conflict" by Charlie Savage, The New York Times
What can we learn about the political system of the US from this article?
○ One person in charge of government (Executive)
○ Asks for permission from democratically elected representatives (Congress)
○ Written laws which can take different meanings\precedent is important to the system
○ The President can create precedent
What are the INTERESTS/IDENTITIES/INSTITUTIONS that allow/prevent the US from going to war?
○ Interests: Regional stability (pro war) Humanitarian interests regarding chemical weapons use (pro) No allies (anti war) Violating international law (anti)
○ Institutions UN Congress NATO Constitution CompPol Page 3 Building Blocks: STATE
Monday, September 09, 2013
12:08 PM Definition: Ideal Type
"[A] Human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory." Weber 1919
Key Features of this definition
Not all political organizations need territory
The state is the most dominant form of political organization today, but it was not always that way, and likely will not always be that way
Territory tells you WHO is within it, which is why nomadic tribes cause such problems
Most important feature of the modern state: bureaucracy
Some system of organization keeps a state functioning and gives it continuity
Continuity is unique to the modern society. What we do today is what we did yesterday and what we’ll do tomorrow
Monopolizes physical force: the state holds the guns, as it were
It doesn't have to have all the guns, but it has to have the biggest, baddest, loudest guns, better than any internal competitors guns
Origins of the State
Began in 17th century Europe (early 1600s)
Replaced Feudalism as the dominant form of polorg
Feudalism: Network of reciprocal economic, military, and legal obligations
Lord owns land, vassals work the land
Personally networking was the basic equivalent of bureaucracy
No fixed borders (non-rigid)
territory determined by whatever you can hold onto with your armies
Flexibility provided opportunities for princes to survive
Multiple decentralized authorities
Lots of princes vying for authority
The Catholic Church is the largest overarching authority, and competes with the princes for revenue and land and whatnot
Lack of bureaucratic system
How/Why did the state emerge from Feudalism?
Why not the Family?
Why not extensive tribal networks?
Why not a Theocratic Federation?
For that matter, why did Feudalism not persist
Components necessary to the emergence of the State
Multiple and overlapping authority
Created significant and constant conflict
Contrast to tribal system, which is similarly disorganized, but there are fewer opportunities for man-to-man conflict
No systematic organization
War-making and military revolution
Creates a condition of being constantly at war, and then forcing citizens to pay for it. "Organized crime"
Evolution of war-making
Military revolution = intensification of violence
Armies became progressively more destructive and expensive to build
Standing armies (compared to calling up for soldiers after a war was declared)
Standing armies act as a serious deterrent to conflict
CompPol Page 4 Standing armies act as a serious deterrent to conflict
Inefficient and expensive, granted
Requires constant source of revenue (see below)
Need to know how many people you have, how much they have and how much you can get from them
Introduction of bureaucracy
Protestant reformation (1444-1544 ish)
Rejecting the claim of the Pope and Catholic church in favor of more local interpretations of the Bible
Strengthen the claim of a secular authority (the claim of the princes rather than the claim of the church
Amalgamation of territories based on language
1648: Treaty of Westphalia
The "last princes standing" get together and decide that being constantly at war was far too expensive and too much effort, so they manage to agree on definite borders
Agreement over who rules what
Catholic church has sovereign authority over a very small area (currently down to merely Vatican City)
Settles disputes between secular and religious authority (triumph of Prince over Pope)
The bureaucracy is already in place, due to the necessary taxation caused by the military revolution
What does the State do?
Ends versus Means
The states only wants compliance
"If the state is to exist, the dominated must obey the authority claimed by the powers that be." Weber
State has monopolized the ability to wage war
All policies are built, and the state merely wants you to agree and be content with it
Strong states have the compliance of their citizens, weak states do not.
Government State Public Policymaking Implementation
Reject? Congress; politicians; lobbying groups; unions Police; military; NSA; courts; education (administration, teachers); Corruption: when agent of the state start making policy
Ex. Policeman lets you go with a warning because you're the chief's kid
Ex. Military coup d'etat in Egypt made them both state and government
EXCEPTION: bureaucracy often requires agents of the state to make policies
State only requires that you comply with their rules
Mafias can replace a government institutes state
Superheroes, in an oblique way, also kind of institute their own states
Role of Violence
States control "you" through the threat of violence: threat of a parking ticket, of jail, of pain, of hunger, of social ostracism…
Without violence, there is no reason to comply, but that doesn't mean that violence is the only thing that incites compliance
In state making (Tilly)
Intensity of violence>Standing armies>Taxation>Organization
legitimacy ("legitimate use of physical force")
A successful state combines threat of force and legitimacy so well, that theoretically you no longer know why you're complying
Ex. A stop sign. Threat of force: ticket from cop. Legitimacy; sign is there in case a car comes by and hits you. Combined force and legitimacy make it such that you stop at a stop sign even at 3 in the morning, when neither really are in act.
Sources of legitimacy
Identity CompPol Page 5 Building Blocks: NATION
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
12:22 PM Definition:
"a named human population sharing a historic territory, common myths and historical memories, a mass public culture, a common economy and common legal rights and duties for all members." Anthony D. Smith
"An imagined political community--and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign"
Anderson: Imagined communities
Imagined vs real communities
"all communities larger that primordial villages of face to face contact (and perhaps even these) are imagined" p.6
Real communities: face to face contact, goods exchange, personal interaction
Imagined communities: linked to people we know nothing about (are you american? So is some guy in Wisconsin, but you don't know him)
All communities where you do not have face-to-face contact with everyone in it are considered "imagined"
Modern Nation: ability to communicate with strangers
Communication of meaning, due to the same frame of reference (ex. George W jokes are famous nationwide)
Origins in 18th century Europe
"dethronement of Latin" : removal of Latin as the only 'official' language
Elite class could communicate with each other, but even from village to village, dialects were so estranged from one another that the only people you could really communicate with were your village
Makes it such that an identified "nation" was super small
Allowed for the mass dissemination of ideas in particular vernaculars (local languages)
Increased production and availability of books via Gutenberg's printing press
"the logic of capitalism thus meant that once the elite Latin market was saturated, the potentially huge markets of the monoglot masses would beckon"
French Revolution: first massive expression of national identity
Gellner: Nations and Nationalism
Demands of the Market
Demands of industrialization/industrial revolution
Required ease of communication
Needed a least common denominator of communication to spread meaning quickly
Role of State
Because of demands of the market, state instituted standardized education to create a viable workforce
Trained to have a set of analytical skills in order to apply information from one situation to another
States and Nations
Sometimes, but do not always overlap
Nations that have no state: Kurds, Basques, Tibetans, Palestinians, Quebecois
States with several nations within them: Nigeria, India, USA, UK
Note: Must have an aspiration toward sovereignty CompPol Page 6 9/16/13 Discussion
Monday, September 16, 2013
12:24 PM The Nation: associated concepts are generally positive (flags, patriotism, USA…)
The State: not generally positive, lots of focus on authority or police (FBI/CIA, police, hierarchy…)
Primordialists: who Anderson et al are arguing against; people who believe the nation is a given aspect of human nature
Invented Imagined Gellner Anderson You are aware that it is constructed You construct it for yourself, and thus believe it as though it was real Sounds "false" Is "real" because it hold meaning for people
No face to face contact, so you imagine a comradery with people you have never met CONSTRUCTED CONSTRUCTED Emergence of "Nation" as an imagined community
Emergence of capitalism over feudalism
Emergence of middle/artisan class
One monetary system
2. Protestant Reformation
Undermines theological dominance
Rise of secularism
People question the authority of the church
Desire to interpret bible for themselves in their own language
3. Invention of printing press
Spread of vernacular
Bible put into massive production
4. Spread of vernacular/power of language
Legal documents, sermons, international relations, etc. all done in Latin
Slow spread and eventual dominance of local languages
5. Print capital
Latin market becomes saturate, so they turn to vernacular markets in order to make more money
Publishing houses consolidate local vernacularisms, spreading certain languages throughout certain regions
More people speak High Prussian than Bavarian Czech, so publishers print in High Prussian, and Bavarian Czech dies a slow death
Latin dies out in favor of the monoglottal dominance of the masses' vernaculars CompPol Page 7 Building Blocks: MARKET
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
12:23 PM The Industrial Revolution
Definition: "A period of sustained and unprecedented economic growth starting in the mid-18th century and continuing through the present time"
Sir Thomas Robert Malthus - "Essay on Population" (1798)
Population grows exponentially
2 people can have 5, 10, 20 children
Food grows arithmetically
There's only a little bit of land available upon which the grow food
Production can never outpace consumption
Once the food supply runs out, you're looking at a human crisis
This "regulates" population growth to bring down the population to a sustainable level
The Industrial Revolution has, so far, been able to avoid a Malthusian Crisis
"By sustained economic growth, I mean that output has grown at a more rapid rate that population" North, Structure and Change
Scarcity is still, of course, an issue, but our aggregate production has still outstripped out aggregate population growth
NOTE: "State" usually refers to the government in actual country cases, rather than purely theoretical concepts
Adam Smith: Spontaneous Growth
Division of Labor
Production is so much more efficient
Specialization Difference between production through artisan (cobbler, cooper…), which requires one person to make the entirety of a product, rather than dividing labor into an assembly-line-type structure
Production increases exponentially
No longer producing for your own needs
Trade labor for wages, and wages for food
Natural Inclination to Barter
Now that you have such a surplus, you trade
Example of Economic Liberalism
Minimal/no role for the state
"no regulation of commerce can increase the quantity of industry in any society..."
No economic role for the state
Has a role in the common defense, in the infrastructure, etc, but should not be making any economic decision
"Invisible hand" of the market
Belief in the power of markets to spontaneously produce economic growth
Just stand back and watch it go
Commercial regulation is NOT okay
Role of the State in creating the market
Markets do create themselves naturally
Markets versus "The Market"
Markets "The Market" Production Subsistence Commercial Purpose Based on personal exchange of goods
(barter/trade) Based on impersonal exchange and capital accumulation Scope Local and immediate Transnational and long-term Location Exists within a dense social network Exists on a broader social spectrum, involving non-face-to-
face transactions ("imagined communities") Enforcement of contracts easily enforced personally and for low cost (round Transaction costs prohibitive to enforce personally up your buddies and knock on a door)
(necessitates the involvement of state) Makes the law
Enforces the law
CompPol Page 8 Enforces the law
Example of Economic Institutionalism
The Market cannot exist without the state
State has an economic role
Role of the Sate
Enforce Contract (ex. Making sure you pay your grocery bill)
Establish Legal framework (ex. Shape property rights/patent laws)
Critique of Economic Liberalism
Criticism of Douglas North
Markets are something created by humans, for humans, and must be regulated by humans
Has no self-regulating mechanism
Has a tendency to self-destruct
State needs to adjust the market, to regulate it (tell it when to speed up, when to slow down…)
Role of the State
Regulates the rate and direction of change
Promotes market activity (similar to North)
Undermines market activity (hinders inherent destructive tendency)
Allow for "sustained...economic growth" (from the definition of industrial revolution above)
Destructive Tendencies of the Market
The commodity fiction
Land, labor and money are fictitious commodities
It is critical that these things are treated as commodities
Was not something created to be placed on the market
Only becomes a commodity once you parcel it out and put a price on it
Not a natural commodity
Life was not created for sale on the market
Take hours of our day and sell them for a wage
Commodification is necessary for the modern function of the market
The human factor
The market can't tell the difference between the "real" commodities (ex. A table) or a fictitious commodity (ex. Life)
The issue is that when there is a surplus of tables, they can be put in a warehouse until the market is better, but labor can't be withheld because people will die
Example: The United Kingdom
Stage 1: Destructive Tendencies-
The enclosure movement
Movement to make the "commons," areas where everybody used the land for pasture individually owned
Enclosures came up as fences or hedges to separate land
Idea that "this area of land is MINE"
Crown starts parceling out land to lords in high standing
Famine; the people who were using the land for subsistence are forced out and begin to starve
Reversal of enclosures (return to the commons because people were starving)
"...used the power of the crown to slow the rate of progress until it became socially bearable…"
Significance of enclosures
Makes land a commodity (i.e. property rights)
Promotes market activity
Ability to slow down
Forced people off the land and into cities
Stage 2: Destructive Tendencies
Division of labor/assembly line
As people flow into the cities, they enter the labor market
Turns labor into a commodity
People divide up their time and sell it
Competition for work
So many people flowed into the cities, there was no longer enough work
Price of labor falls
Issue with human time as a commodity; you can't put humans in a warehouse because they'll starve
Speenhamland Scale CompPol Page 9 Speenhamland Scale
Part of the "poor laws"
Made sure the price of wages did not drop below the point where you could not eat
Linked to the price of bread
1st modern welfare system
Links wages to the price of bread
Undermines market activity
Temporarily stifled market growth which PISSED OFF a lot of people
But allowed for sustained economic growth
State stepped in and Success of England came not only in idea of Speenhamland scale, but also the fact that they successfully implemented and enforced it.
Repeal of the Poor Laws
End of the Welfare System
Created a (free) labor market
Restored market activity after a period of adjustment
Time and Sequencing:
1. Enclosure Movement
a. Poor Laws
b. Repeal of Poor Laws
2. Labor Market
3. Growth CompPol Page 10 Economic Development
Monday, September 23, 2013
12:26 PM STATE Economic Growth NATION...
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