Lecture Week 7

Lecture Week 7 - Politics and Power Politics is a universal...

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Politics and Power Politics is a universal aspect of all human relations. It regulates decision-making and conflict resolution that are indispensable for functioning of any society. In other words, politics is the process by which decisions are made, rules for group behavior established, competition for positions of leadership regulated, and the disruptive effects of disputes minimized. At the bottom of all political competition lies disagreement – conflicting ideas about individual interests and community life. There are different ways to solve disagreements. One of them is consensual decisions. Consensus is a solution or decision that everyone is willing to accept – there are no obvious losers. Consensual decision-making is particularly effective where group cohesion is important. However attractive consensus politics may be there are obvious limitations of their scale. It is possible to arrive at consensus judgments that, although socially acceptable, prove disastrous because participants may have unequal knowledge or expertise. This is one of the reasons why corporations, government organizations, and the military have clear rules about who makes decisions and who must be consulted. These decisions are implemented through the actions of lower-level leaders or executives. This way to solve disagreements is called centralized (chain of command) decision making . The advantage of a “chain of command” system is that it can coordinate the activities of huge number of people. Moreover, centralized decision making can enforce codes of behavior that facilitate cooperation on a very large scale. Systems of policing, laws, and innumerable codes and regulations all create environments in which individuals, willingly or
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not, work with others to some common end. However, the disadvantages of centralized decision making and a strong chain of command are equally apparent. In the worst cases they result in despotism, war, mass murder and genocide to name but few. The results of political competition may affect every member of a society. But it does not necessarily follow that everyone in the community, or society, is equally involved in the political process. All societies impose certain formal qualifications for participation in different
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Lecture Week 7 - Politics and Power Politics is a universal...

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