Homework 2

Homework 2 - February 26, 2008 Homework assignment 2...

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February 26, 2008 Homework assignment 2 Justice 301 Question #1: Throughout the essay by Horowitz, he writes about the many disadvantages that Malaysia had and the lesser problems that Sri Lanka had. At first it seems that it does not make sense that Sri Lanka had such dire circumstances when Malaysia seemed like it would have issues. However, he seems to do a fine job at explaining the different events that caused things to happened as they did. There were many reasons that everyone thought Malaysia would experience much worse conflict than it did and also many reasons that people thought Sri Lanka would not have many problems at all. He explains that the Tamils in Sri Lanka had a small minority and that most people thought that their needs could be easily met. In contrast, the Chinese consisted of more than one third of the population in Malaysia, so the Maylays were a small majority so they were not as secure as the Sinhalese were in Sri Lanka. Also, the Tamils came to Sri Lanka long ago, whereas the Chinese were more recent immigrants to Malaysia. Another reason was that before independence, there were issues in Malaysia, but it was relatively peaceful in Sri Lanka. Another circumstance was that in Malaysia there were mono-ethnic elite schools so leaders did not know each other, whereas in Sri Lanka, the politicians knew each other well because they had gone to school together. A final reason that people believed that
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Malaysia would have problems and Sri Lanka would not is the fact that Malay politicians were not very open and often would not deal with the Chinese. In Sri Lanka, however, there was a “bargaining” political culture. As is seen through the Horowitz paper, as well as through the other readings, it is clear that Sri Lanka did have many political problems, whereas Malaysia has been relatively peaceful. Question #2: Ethnic outbidding is the process in which competing political parties attempt to go further polarized in order to appeal to a group of people. Unfortunately when this happens, it in turn drives other groups that do not agree with that issue further away and thus further ostracized from society and the beliefs of that political party. The people who are participating in the outbidding are doing so against the minority groups and therefore the minorities lose faith in the government and often the process leads to ethnic fighting, as was seen in Sri Lanka. The first-past-the-post and the demography both significantly contributed to its ethnic outbidding. The first-past-the-post system which I have come to understand as simply a simple majority system of determining elections is clearly an advantage to the majority. The difference between using that system in a place like the United States versus a place like Sri Lanka is that in America the majority party changes and it is more focused on the individual candidate. In Sri Lanka, however, the political parties are based on ethnic groups and the
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Sinhalese groups are always going to be in the majority. Therefore, they will
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Homework 2 - February 26, 2008 Homework assignment 2...

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