Chapter 9: Communism and Postcommunism
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
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.
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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
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.