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Why do we have government?

Why do we have government?


School: University of Georgia
Department: Health Promotion and Behavior
Course: Health and Wellness
Professor: Brace
Term: Fall 2015
Tags: political science
Cost: 50
Name: POLS 2000 Exam 1
Description: These are all the notes from class lectures, including notes about Van Belle's book, Baglione's book, and articles we've discussed in class
Uploaded: 02/12/2018
8 Pages 171 Views 3 Unlocks

POLS 2000 Exam 1 Study Guide

Why do we have government?

I. Lecture Notes

a. Why do we have government?

i. Security; resource to the community

b. Why do we NOT love government?

i. There are rules and regulations we have to follow

ii. Protects us but we have to sacrifice some of our freedoms c. Collective action – the essence of government

i. Coordinated group activity designed to achieve a common  goal that individuals acting on their own could not  

otherwise attain

ii. What does government do that would be hard for even the  wealthiest individual to do on his/her own? If you want to learn more check out What is the definition of decoding/interpreting?

1. Defense; infrastructure; foreign affairs/diplomacy

d. Security (basically): the ability to protect, preserve, or maintain  control of something of value. But also:  

Why do we not love government?

i. State security: protecting borders

ii. Regime security: protecting and holding on to power

iii. National security: protection of group interests within and  across borders

iv. Individual security: physical/financial safety  

e. Power – ability to get something done (directly or indirectly) i. Key variable in politics  

ii. What is political capital?

1. A reserve of power which an official can call on to  

achieve goals

2. We think an executive has the most political capital  Don't forget about the age old question of What was the great bath in mohenjo daro used for?

in the first 100 days in office

a. Try and get as much as they can get done  

during this time

What does government do that would be hard for even the wealthiest individual to do on his/her own?

b. Also a lot of power during war time

iii. Distinction between power and authority (important to  know for test!!)

1. Authority – a type of power; when specialized  

knowledge or experience provides a person with the  

opportunity to influence others; power that’s  

appropriate in a given situation

f. Anarchy – the absence or authority or hierarchy (government) i. Doesn’t necessarily mean chaos  

ii. Hierarchy – elevating someone to a position over others g. Alliances – when individuals or groups agree to combine  resources and abilities for a purpose that benefits the members  of the alliance individually Don't forget about the age old question of Which subatomic particle determines what type of element an atom is?

i. Can be formal or informal

ii. Government results from the group’s need to  

institutionalize/formalize its power  Caucuses

h. Research Questions

i. Under what conditions to people break alliances?

j. How can presidents (or executives) generate political capital? II. Baglione

a. Chapter 1

i. Thinking about research and writing

1. What comes to mind when you think of writing in  

political science?

a. A lot of tedious planning/work

b. Political theory as well as taking into account  

demographics, etc

ii. Goal of Baglione

1. To give you steps to writing a research paper  

(especially in poly sci)

2. Can be intimidating or daunting

3. Poly sci presents its own challenges

4. These skills will help you for the rest of your life

iii. What is a theory?

1. A theory puts a specific phenomenon in a broader,  

general category or causal relationships

a. Notice some similar occurrences  

2. Find a common patter among them that allows us to  take these different events and think of them as a  Don't forget about the age old question of What amendment gives you the right to a grand jury?
Don't forget about the age old question of Why is it important to study physiology?

repeated example of the same thing

a. Duverger’s example

b. Simplicity (theory) vs. complexity (reality)

iv. Duverger

1. A country will develop a two-party system:

a. If there are only two distinct political positions  

in the country

b. Or, if despite the presence of more than two  

distinct positions, the electoral law forces  

people of diverse positions to consolidate into  

two large parties so as to gain an electoral  


b. Chapter 2

i. Five qualities of a good topic

1. Interesting

a. Should be interesting to you personally and to  

others as well

2. Important  

a. Research should affect people and have an  

impact on the field If you want to learn more check out What is important about the centre of the phospholipid bilayer?

3. Short

4. Direct

a. Should usually answer questions like why, how,

to what extent, under what conditions

b. Not so much who, what, where, and when

5. Doable

a. Limit scope

b. Where? When? What type of election?

III. Van Belle

a. Chapter 1

i. What is politics?

1. Our own personal preferences versus society’s  


2. All different areas: work, school, government

3. Government in general

ii. What is political science?

1. Researching and analyzing our political behavior and  political trends

iii. First impressions of Van Belle

1. Lots of pop culture references

2. What does Van Belle aim to do?

a. To provoke, make fun of everyone, wants  

students to think below the surface of politics

b. Politics is personal and controversial

c. Focus on the how and why of politics

d. Doesn’t tell you what to think, just invites you  

to think

iv. Idealism and realism – terms that Van Belle uses  

throughout the book to explain political concepts

1. Idealists are visionary, looking on the bright side,  

looking at how things can be better

2. Realists think things are the way they are, do what  

we can with what we have

3. Uses the clash between these two to understand  

political concepts

a. Important to understand when we’re talking  

about a concept in reality vs ideally

b. Example: Congressmen in Committees by  

Richard Fenno – members of congress are  

motivated be re-election, good public policy,  

and power/prestige (idealist). In Congress by  

David Mayhew, members of congress are  

motivated only by re-election because you  

can’t make good public policy or gain power  

and prestige unless you get re-elected (realist)

v. Our conceptual framework

1. “Our backgrounds and personalities shape our  

understanding of politics, sometimes to the point of  determining what we can or cannot believe”

2. He uses fiction often to access lots of different people vi. Ideologies

1. Classic liberalism – economic freedom’ people free  from government restraints

2. Classic conservatism – existing processes and norms  have evolved into highly efficient and effective  

institutions; wary of changing these without much  


3. Communism – classless society with no need for  government; justice and fairness are enough material goods for everyone

4. Democratic socialism – like communism, but  

achieved by democratic means rather than  


5. Reform liberalism – government has a role in  

regulating economy; removing inequalities and  

helping individuals succeed

6. Fascism – supremacy of one group; strong military  dictator  

vii. Ideologies are…

1. Different from theories; organizing and directing  goal-oriented action; how-to instructions for  

assembling a utopia, meant to be implemented,  

belief systems

b. Chapter 3

i. A realist approach to governing

1. How things should play out vs. how they actually do 2. How does government actually control their  


3. Not: how should government control their population 4. Idealism vs realism  

ii. Leadership

1. What motivates people to lead?

a. Power, influence people, initiate change,  

represent your people, etc.

b. They must benefit in some way

c. Who benefits and how?

2. Let’s assume all leaders are trying to maximize  


a. Benefits: authority, delegating, networking,  

name recognition, money

3. Do leadership battles differ based on a country’s  wealth?

a. In a poor country, everything is at stake if  

you’re in a leadership position; wealthy country stakes aren’t as high

iii. The Panopticon

1. Fear of government watching you

2. Government mechanisms that make you think  government might be watching

3. Ex: prisoners in a room with one-way mirrors and  didn’t know if/when guards were watching, so they  self-policed themselves and modified their behavior 4. Examples of self-policing

a. Traffic incidents  

i. Know that police are usually on 316 so  

you slow down

b. IRS

c. Illegal downloads

d. Elf on the shelf

iv. Atomization and peer policing

1. Why would government want to keep people  separate?

a. Government most concerned with people  

revolting/messing with their power

b. Prevent people from getting together and  

forming a strong opposition

2. Can you think of examples when you have been  peer-policed or policed by someone else?

a. Relying on others to check your behavior

b. Making sure the safest option for people is to  report it

v. There are limits to forceful control

1. Over-controlling  subjects are dissatisfied and  become rebellious  

2. An alternative to force: Legitimacy  

a. Voluntary acceptance of government

b. Making people feel like government is for them c. Providing things people want

i. Popular elections, public goods, schools,  


vi. Conflict and Control

1. Leaders tasked with balancing force and control with  legitimacy  

2. Conflict may be helpful for leaders

a. Leader gets to look like the hero sometimes  

b. Leader seems more necessary  

c. People see government working for them 


3. How do leaders manage conflict?

a. Passing legislation, compromising, building  

national pride

c. Chapter 4

i. What does money have to do with politics?

1. Need money to fund campaigns

2. Government collects our money (taxes) and decides  how it’s appropriated  

3. Lobbying and bribery  

ii. Government and the economy

1. Can government control the economy?

a. Economic/monetary policy controlled by fed

b. Low-income/social intervention/assistance  


i. Social security, disability, etc.

c. Regulations on businesses

d. Possible control depends on type of  


2. Do we act/behave like government can control the  economy?

iii. Articles

1. Assuming cause and effect relationship between  who’s in power and how economy is doing

2. People look at economy as a whole compared to how  it was, and how they evaluate how they’re doing in  their economy  influences their vote

a. Called economic voting

iv. Tragedy of the Commons

1. Exploitation of shared resources creates this problem 2. When rational choices of individuals clash with needs of collective society

3. What about enlightened self-interest?

a. Where you realize it’s really in your self-interest

to do what’s best for the whole society

4. NPR about how climate change is the ultimate  

tragedy of the commons

a. Has to be some sort of regulation to individual  

behavior, but there’s no global government so  

it’s really empty promises

v. Solving the Tragedy

1. Who should control means of production?

a. Society  capitalism

b. Government  communism  

vi. Karl Marx

1. Wrote about the ills of capitalism

vii. Capitalism

1. Driving force is competition

2. Incentivizes efficiency

3. Laissez-faire – government with little involvement in  economy

4. Good things

a. Cheaper goods, better products, more variety  

5. How could this drive for increased efficiency (in the  

ideal) be detrimental?

a. Poor working conditions/wages to keep costs  


b. Monopolies  

viii. Pool of Labor as a common resource

1. Tragedy of the commons problem: capitalists are  

driven to over-exploit workers  

ix. What about revolution?

1. Workers were mad  government eventually adopted some policies that they wanted to avoid revolution  

and the fall of capitalism that Marx predicted

x. Socialism

1. Society controls means of production

2. Produce what they can

3. Provide what people need

4. Also deeply flawed and really untried on a large scale xi. Real Question: What mix of these economic systems is the  best?

xii. How does government apply control to capitalism by  protecting workers?

1. Minimum wage, child labor, overtime hours and work limits, safety regulations

IV. Articles

a. NPR: The Psychology Behind Why Some Kids Go Unvaccinated  i. Should government force parents to vaccinate their kids? 1. If they do in theory it would be safer for society as a  

whole, but force leads to more opposition and fear  

and mistrust  

2. The consequence of this is a bunch of kids getting  

terrible diseases, so it’s worth the little risks of  

mistrusting the government to force your kid to get  


ii. How are vaccinations a collective action problem?

1. Since everyone else’s kid is vaccinated, I don’t have  

to vaccinate my kid

2. These parents getting a free ride off everyone else  

doing the right thing

b. “As A Major Retraction Shows, We’re All Vulnerable To Faked  Data”

c. “Study Using Gay Canvassers Erred In Methods, Not Results,  Author Said”

i. What is retraction for a scholarly article?

1. Disclaim/debunk/take back a study as if it was never  published

2. No longer meets the requirements of peer review ii. Why was the paper retracted? What happened?

1. Author was lying about the funding resources

2. He somehow falsified the data in his favor

3. People replicated the study and got completely  

different results

iii. What are the ethical issues?

1. Professor should have been aware that the grad  student was falsifying info

2. He lied, made people believe something that wasn’t  true

iv. Why is this something you should know?

1. Need to be aware of data that could be false

v. What does it mean for the discipline?  

1. Hurts credibility of political science research

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