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UF / Political Science / POS 2001 / What are the theoretical underpinnings of communism as an ideology?

What are the theoretical underpinnings of communism as an ideology?

What are the theoretical underpinnings of communism as an ideology?


School: University of Florida
Department: Political Science
Course: Comparative Politics
Professor: Sebastian elischer
Term: Spring 2016
Cost: 50
Name: Midterm 3 Review Sheet
Description: Chapter 9- Communism and Postcommunism Chapter 10- Developing countries Chapter 11- Globalization
Uploaded: 04/28/2018
7 Pages 15 Views 8 Unlocks

Chapter 9: Communism and Postcommunism

What are the theoretical underpinnings of communism as an ideology?

i. What are the theoretical underpinnings of communism as an ideology?  Communism is a political-economic system in which all wealth and property are shared  as to eliminate exposition, oppression, and ultimately, the need for political institutions. The final stage of history once capitalism is overthrown and the dictatorship of the  proletariat destroys its remaining vestiges. Seeks to create human equality by eliminating  private property and market forces as well as promoting economic development. ii. What are the core principles of Marxism?

State and politics disappear, society and the economy based on equality and cooperation. The base is the economic system of a society, made up of technology (means of  production) and class relationship between people (the relations of production).  Resting on the base is the superstructure, which represents all non-economic, human  institutions (religion, culture, national identity). These ideas and values derive from the  base and serve to legitimize the current system of exploitation. People suffer from “false  consciousness”, failure to understand the nature of one’s exploitation from the  superstructure imposed by capitalism. Rejects liberal democracy

What are the core principles of marxism?

iii. What did communism look when it was put into practice (in contrast to the theory  of Marxism)?

1. The political/institutional perspective: Marx argued that a revolution would occur  when capitalism was most advanced and prone to collapse however Russia (Lenin)  and China (Mao) communist revolutions occurred in weakly industrialized, less  advanced countries. Lenin argued in favor of the vanguard of the proletariat; elite  communist party would carry out revolution since people lack the consciousness to  rise up. Communist parties maintained control over society through oppression and  allocating power in all aspects of society. Party used terror to eliminate opposition  and maintain control. Nomenklatura: politically sensitive jobs in the state, society or  economy staffed by people approved by communist party such as head of university  or military officer.

Why did communism fall?

Don't forget about the age old question of uta industrial organizational psychology

2. The economic perspective: individual profit, unemployment, and competition were  eliminated. Party-state (political system in which power flows directly from the  ruling political party to the state, bypassing government structures) controlled how  resources were used. Lack of worker incentives. Markets and property are wholly  absorbed by the state. Central planning replaces the market mechanism. Most of  nation’s means of productions nationalized. State provides extensive public goods  and social services. Inequality and poverty are reduced but not eliminated.

3. The societal perspective (e.g. the nation, the family): Religion: (ideal) religion will  disappear; (reality) religion was suppressed but not eliminated.

Gender roles: (ideal) men and women will be economically, socially and politically  equal; (reality) opportunities for women increased, but women were still expected to  fulfill traditional duties in the home.  

Sexuality: (ideal) repressive institutions such as marriage will be replaced by “an  openly legalized system of free love.”; (reality) many communist countries remained  very sexually conservative.  

Nationalism: (ideal); will be eliminated; (reality) people clung to old national and  ethnic identities. Don't forget about the age old question of c in cc gustavus

iv. How/why did communism fall? 2 factors:

Imperial overstretch: international relations with the rest of the world. Soviet Union  incorporated many Eastern European states after WWII. Captured assets and resources  with military conquest. Towards the end, Soviet Union had to help their assets survive  instead of vice versa.

Change in leadership: Gorbachev believed radical changes needed to be made. Began  serious of reforms that attempt to normalize relationships with the West and reorient  Soviet economy and society. Ideas of glasnost: openness to public sphere where people  could critique the leadership for problems or corruption; greater transparency would  foster change and legitimize the regime (succeeded so much that glasnost lost control of  situation). Perestroika: restructuring and include forms of democratic participation and  market-based incentives. Moderate reform, not whole transformation was the goal. **Failed coup leads Russia from withdrawing from the Soviet Union and beginning to  democratize; breaks into 15 separate states (early 90s) We also discuss several other topics like umd posc

v. How have formerly communist countries developed since communism fell? 1. What are the major developmental trajectories? End of communism gave  everyone same starting conditions but 25 years later, there is a big difference.  *In political institutions, reorganizing the state in terms of autonomy and capacity and  constructing a democratic regime by creating separation of powers, establishing  electoral laws and regulating political parties. New democracies share a history of  greater economic development, civil society, democratic institutions and experience  with rule of law. Postcommunist countries with greater contact to Western Europe  and a shorter period of communist rule have made great strides to democracy. In  former soviet states, democracy is illiberal and weakly institutionalized or absent. *In economic institutions, reestablishing separation of state and economy with  privatization (transfer of state-held property into private hands) and marketization  (the re-creation of the market forces of supply and demand). Former soviet republics  not doing well, freeing up markets led to inflation and rapid decline in standard of  living. Some countries (Russia and Azerbaijan with oil) owe their success to nature  resources however most postcommunist countries have seen increase in inequality,  poverty and unemployment.  If you want to learn more check out purdue ma 265

*In societal institutions, religion has reappeared in many Postcommunist countries. Christianity has resurfaced as important force as part of nationalism as well as Islam  in countries with large Muslim population. Ethnic and national identities have also  reemerged; with level of national pride rising. Postcommunist identities have shaped  international terrorism. Russia and China have attempted to legitimize authoritarian  rule by promoting nationalism. Gender relations are surprisingly advanced however it  does not extend into LGBT rights.

vi. Essential Readings: Ekiert, Hale

1. What is the legacy of communism on contemporary political development in  Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union?

The legacy of communism in Russia is a huge distrust in the leadership and  government of the country because of its known corruption over the years. Communist legacy is not decisive. Post-communist civil society is more vibrant than  critics acknowledge as public support for liberal principles is greater than public  support for illiberal ones. Impact of financial crisis varies within regions but even in  worst hit countries, public is patient.If you want to learn more check out behaviored

2. How successful has the transition to democracy been in postcommunist  countries, especially comparing between Eastern Europe and the countries of the  former Soviet Union?  Don't forget about the age old question of mat 315

There are different outcomes in Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union. Pre-soviet  historical legacy of patrimonialism raises huge obstacles to liberal democracy. The  region’s authoritarian systems are often vulnerable and suddenly collapse however  disruptions are temporary. Periods of open political and electoral competition fade  once a winner emerges. Ekiert (the optimist) argues that the overall trajectory is  upward and historical legacy is not determinative. Hale (the pessimist) argues that the  overall trajectory is downward and that historical legacies still matter as they still  structure policies.

3. What factors explain the outcomes of regime transition in Postcommunist countries? Paternal politics and presidentialism.

One of the factors is a leader’s popularity which may be to some extent a product of  political closure, which prevents criticism and stifles positive courage of the  opposition. Popularity was crucial to the emerging authoritarianism in Russia. Another factor is international “linkage and leverage”, which distinguishes the post Soviet experience from that of the other world regions were patronal presidents are  common. This link has helped Latin America and Africa where economies are  vulnerable enough and have stronger ties to the West.

Chapter 10: Developing Countries

i. Which countries do we include in the categories “less developed countries” and  “newly industrializing countries”? What are the origins of these categories? The newly industrializing countries (middle income countries) are historically less developed countries that have experienced rapid development with a sharp tendency  toward democratization and political and social stability. Includes Mexico, Brazil,  Chile, South Korea, and Taiwan.  

Less developed countries (lower income countries) lack significant economic and  political development. Includes Africa. Both together are called developing countries. Developing countries formerly under the control of the British Empire are now  democracies due to the tradition of liberalism. Being part of an empire is a shared  experience for most developing countries (imperialism and colonialism).

ii. What are imperialism and colonialism? What are their main features? What  were/are their effects on the following (with a focus on less developed  countries)...

Imperialism is a system in which a state extends its power to directly control territory,  resources, and people beyond its borders. Was propagated by European powers from  16th to 21st centuries and is driven by economic, strategic and religious motives.  Imperialism often led to colonialism (imperialist system of physically occupying a  foreign territory using military force, businesses, or settlers). Colonialism is the  means for consolidating an empire (single political authority that has under its  sovereignty a large number of external territories).  

1. the state

a. borders: borders drawn by imperial states reflected the shape of their colonial  ambitions rather than the existing geographic, religious, or linguistic realities. Borders of

80% of African states are drawn with longitude and latitude instead of local geography  and populations.

b. state capacity: (states ability to fulfill basic policy tasks) developing countries  have struggled with performing basic tasks such as creating infrastructure, providing  education and healthcare and other public goods. Comes from the absence of a  professional bureaucracy; imperial powers left without transitioning to local  bureaucracies. Limited economic development has fostered clientelism and rent seeking  used by political leaders to hold on to power

c. state autonomy: (ability to act independently from public and foreign actors) Sovereignty often compromised by external actors. Result of weak capacity and  autonomy is high levels of corruption.

2. the economy

a. mercantilism and its legacies: Instead of undergoing economic  

modernization, many of these countries developed dependency on their former empire.  Neocolonialism: indirect form of imperialism in which powerful countries overly  influence the economies of less-developed countries. Efforts to break this cycle led to  import substitution and export-oriented industrialization (mercantilist strategies). 3. society

a. ethnicity & national identity: ethnic and national identities were created  where none had existed before colonization. Ethnic and religious divisions among  different groups in heterogenous societies.  

iii. What have been the economic strategies of less developed and newly  industrializing countries?

1. Import substitution: a mercantilist strategy for economic growth in which a country  restricts imports in order to spur demand for locally produced goods and protect them from  outside competition. Negative consequences: industries become less competitive and charge  higher prices, led to debt and underperforming. Ex. Latin America

2. Export oriented growth: a mercantilist strategy for economic growth in which a  country seeks out technologies and develops industries focused specifically on the export market.  Produce for the world market, has created strong growth and helps country build external  markets. Ex. Asia

3. The “Washington Consensus”: a policy of economic liberalization adopted in  exchange for financial support from liberal international organizations; includes  privatizing state-run firms, ending subsidies, reducing tariff barriers, shrinking size of the  state and welcoming foreign investment

iv. Be ready to discuss current reform policies such as...

1. Micro-credit: a system in which small loans are channeled to the poor through  borrowing groups whose members jointly take responsibility for repayment. Offered to small scale businesses that lack access to capital.  

2. Foreign aid: Focusing on larger projects such as the Millennium Villages in sub Saharan Africa. Common solution is to bypass the state in order to improve living and political  conditions in developing developed countries. Some argue that aid interventions are not  effective.

v. Essential Reading: Collier & Gunning

1. Why has sub-Saharan Africa grown so slowly, and even experienced economic  decline, since decolonization?

a. What are examples of...

i. Domestic vs External Problems? Domestic-destiny ex. Disease.

Adverse climate causes poor health, reducing life expectancy. Also leads to  leached soils and unreliable rainfall that affects agriculture. Very low population  density. High level of diversity is the most important single cause of Africa’s slow  growth. most of Africa’s population is remote from the coast and navigable  waters. Choices available in the beginning were not good.

Domestic-policy ex. State-building after independence. Results of bad  

choices that weren’t good to begin with

ii. “Destiny” vs. Policy Problems? External-destiny ex. Dependence on  

commodity exports. Gathering resources and taking them back to mother country;  difficult to change basis of economy so quickly.  

External-policy ex. Trade barriers. Relations with the rest of the world  

with more control over decision-making. Decisions made over international trade  were not good.

b. Which kinds of problems, in Collier and Gunning’s, opinion have been  decisive in explaining economic development failures in sub-Saharan Africa? Africa’s problems rooted in geography; will be dependent upon international  efforts to make environment favorable. Domestic-policy is now the main barrier  to growth. Economic policy became both statist and biased against exports.  Failure to industrialize has slowed urbanization, failure of coastal cities to grow,  causing the population to remain in the interior. Being landlocked with a mix of  bad policy decisions regarding manufacturing.

Chapter 11: Globalization

i. What is globalization?

Globalization is the intensification of contacts and interactions between countries to a  degree that such linkages are qualitatively different than they were in the past. The  process of expanding and intensifying linkages between states, societies, and  economies.  

1. What is the distinction between “thin” and “thick” interconnectedness? A “thin” connection involves a small number of individuals, usually a group of elites. Ex.  Roman Catholic Church is a transnational organization with a thin connection that is  based on the clergy. A “thick” connection involves an intensive web of relationships  between people across vast distances.  

2. What is the connection between technological change and globalization? People used to be connected by routes with traders, diplomats, and missionaries but today  they are able to participate in a complex international network through travel,  communications, business and education. Globalization is a system in which human  beings are no longer part of isolated communities that are linked through narrow channels  of diplomatic relations or trade. Entire societies are now connected to global affairs. 3. What are...

a. MNCs: firms that produce, distribute and market goods and services in more than one  country. Wield assets and profits far larger than the GDPs of most countries in the world  and are able to influence politics, economic development and social relations. Ex. Apple,  General Electric

b. NGOs: national and international groups that are independent of any state and pursue  policy objectives and foster public participation. Ex. Greenpeace, Red Cross • Boomerang effect: NGOs go straight to global international level  

institutions, instead of society and national legislatures, to make their  

appeals. These institutions can put pressure on the national government for  change.

c. IGOs: group created by states to serve certain policy ends Ex. United Nations,  European Union

d. And how do they relate to globalization?

These forms of organizations are part of a broader international regime. International  regimes function the same way as regular regimes, but they link states together through rules and  norms that shape their relationships to one another, usually regarding some special issue.  Technology-driven forms of organization play a role in globalization; earlier waves of human  interconnection were dependent on technological changes. Technology and globalization  reinforce each other.  

ii. Be ready to give examples of globalization’s impact on...

1. Political institutions, especially the state

State is defined as a monopoly with a legitimate use of violence over a specific territory.  Globalization and its institutions complicate the ability of the state to maintain  sovereignty. It is argued that globalization will cause the state to cease to exist and  change the nature of public participation and democracy. Political globalization not seen  as a pathway to peace and participation but as a source of dangerous fragmentation and  weakened democracy.

2. Economic institutions

After WWII, the US set up the Bretton Woods system (an economic regime that manages  international economic relations; IMF, World Bank, WTO) which allowed for trade to  grow and facilitated the Washington Consensus (emphasized removing the state from  international economics). Globalization deepens the connections between workers,  goods, and wealth; financial markets have become less regulated with globalization over  the years, easier to move money around the globe. Rise of offshore outsourcing globally  instead of just inside domestic or regional economies

3. Society  

Internet allows for a communication across borders that have never been done before.  Some argue that it weakens cultures, promotes Americanization; can now pressure and  destabilize national governments. Growing international connections would generate a  global cosmopolitism (“universe”) and a civic identity that stretches beyond traditional  

barriers and borders. Ex. Internet Revolution: Arab Spring 2010. Video of street vendor  setting himself on fire led people to pressure and overthrow the government iii. Why does globalization potentially challenge the comparative politics as a field  of study?

Globalization potentially challenges comparative politics because the way it is  structured now may not be focused on important global puzzles and institutions. Since everything has become globalized, is there such a thing as domestic politics  anymore?  

iv. Essential Readings: Bourguignon, Ferguson, Marx & Engels

1. What is the relationship between globalization and inequality?

Some trends include: inequality between countries is greater than inequality within  countries. Overall inequality declined since 2000 due largely to high growth rates of  China and India. Inequality between countries has increased, especially in advanced  industrial economics. Overall inequality is being reduced but still politically problematic  in advanced democracies.

Inequality largely caused by globalization: outsourcing (firms moves somewhere else  where work is cheaper) and liberalization (reducing taxes, cuts to welfare state, financial  deregulation).

2. What is the relationship between globalization and populism?

The rise of the right more about populism than fascism. Populists want the end of  globalization as they see it as the enemy. Globalization focuses on immigration, trade,  and financial sector such as banks which is all things they don’t like. Fascists want to  minimize liberties and equality.

3. What are the ingredients of a populist backlash?

Rise in immigration, rise in inequality, perception of corruption, financial crisis, and  demagogue.

4. In what ways is capitalism a revolutionary political-economic system? Capitalism is a revolutionary element because of its rapid development. The feudal  system of industry no longer sufficed for the growing wants of the new markets. The  manufacturing system then was replaced by the modern industry which established the  world market.

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