comp politics lec 11

comp politics lec 11 - Notes for Wednesday, Oct. 24...

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Notes for Wednesday, Oct. 24 – Introduction to Political Economy I. What is political economy? Political economy, at the most basic level, refers to the management of the economic affairs of the state. Another basic definition is provided in the Reader: how governments affect economic performance, and how economic performance in turn affects a country’s political processes. This second definition underscores the relationships among political actors – citizens and elected officials. It points to the fact that decisions about economic policy are made with not only expectations about performance of the economy overall, but also expectations about how people (as voters) will behave in response. Sodaro provided an example of this when discussing the likelihood of incumbent presidents in the United States being re-elected: In the US, since WWII, “incumbent presidents usually win reelection if the economy grows by about 4 percent or more in the four quarters preceding the election” (345). The term political economy does not imply that politics and economics are completely separate, nor does it imply that they are inseparable. Indeed, the term indicates that we can approach them as analytically distinct yet related. As Sodaro put it, “the relationship between politics and economics is frequently interactive… A central purpose of political economy is to clarify these interacting relationships” (345). The concept “political economy” emerged in the 18 th century as people on Western, developing countries were experiencing a dramatic change in the system of want satisfaction. Both the nature of the goods people wanted, and the means by which goods were produced, were changing quickly in Europe with the intensification of industrialization and capitalism. The usage of this term, political economy, marked a shift from talking about economy as realm of private activity. The word “economy” is taken from a Greek word, which referred to household management. With the emergence of political economy came a debate about the role of the state in managing economic affairs. This debate continues today. At the heart of the debate are questions such as Is the state responsible for determining which wants will be satisfied, and for mobilizing resources to ensure their satisfaction? o This question has produced a number of theories about the role of the state in protecting private interests and pursuing public goals. Or, will want be better satisfied if the mobilization of resources is left in the hands of individuals acting as private agents, motivated by their private interest? o This question has produced a number of theories about whether or not state intervention into the economy enhances or impedes want satisfaction. An example of a political economy question is:
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comp politics lec 11 - Notes for Wednesday, Oct. 24...

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