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Chapter One Notes 10-11-08

Chapter One Notes 10-11-08 - POLI SCI NOTES CHAPTER...

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10/11/08 – POLI SCI NOTES CHAPTER ONE—INTRODUCING COMPARATIVE POLITICS Current political era begins at collapse of Berlin Wall (1989). Wall symbolic of Cold War, a tense era of sometimes deadly struggle and potentially catastrophic nuclear conflict that pitted communist nations against the so-called free-world. New govts that emerged after these revolutions were all committed to the market rather than state control of the economy and to multiparty democracy rather than communist control of all political life. Fukuyama, author of The End of History? Argues in his text that the failure of communism signaled the end of any real alternative to the regimes of Western- style liberal democracies, systems of govt that combine democracy with a capitalist economy based on free markets. Globalization – refers to the unprecedented worldwide flow of trade, investment, production, communications, technology, culture, ideas, and other influences. Debate over whether globalization will promote opportunity and enhance human development around the world, or whether it will only make the richer countries richer, and exclude the pooper regions from its benefits, or disadvantage them even further. [Section 1: What—and How—Comparative Politics Compares ] Section One – Focus Questions : 1) What does it mean to compare things? a. To compare things is to evaluate some feature of A by comparing it to the same feature of B in order to learn more about A than isolated study would otherwise permit. 2) What are two examples of how a comparison can bring to light features that might otherwise have been overlooked? a. Comparative study can place politics into a much richer perspective and at the same time make it easier to recognize what is distinctive and most interesting about other countries. The modern study of comparative politics refines and systemizes the age-old practice of evaluating some feature of A by comparing it to the same feature of B in order to learn more about A than isolated study would permit.
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