Week 1 + 2 Notes
Week 1 + 2 Notes POLS 1101
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Konstantin Keller on Monday January 18, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLS 1101 at University of Georgia taught by Haynes in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 162 views. For similar materials see American Government in Political Science at University of Georgia.
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Date Created: 01/18/16
Chapter 1 Thursday, January 14, 2016 2:03 PM The Logic of AmericanPolitics 1/14/2016 - Choices are at the heart of American politics. - Politics comesfrom the need to choose among alternatives when differences make it impossible for all people to get what they want. - Choices breed conflict because of ○ Conflicting interests ○ Conflicting values ○ Conflicting ideas about how to allocate limited resources - Politics is how people attempt to manage such conflict. 1/19/2016 - To reduce the complexity require effectivepolitical institutions and rules and procedures for negotiations. ○ These are often found in the form of by-laws, a charter, or the constitution. - Constitutions organize nations, but there are still conflicts. ○ More people involved= more complexissues = more difficulty monitoring and enforcing agreements - A governmentconsists of those institutions and the legally prescribed process for making and enforcing collective agreements. They come in various forms: ○ Monarchy ○ RepresentativeDemocracy ○ Theocracy ○ Dictatorship ○ Etc. - Power= actual influence, not just right to make certain decisions. - Nations, and democraticnations specifically, which are generally large and complex,every instance of collective action presents participants with distinct challenges. For example: ○ Comparing preferences ○ Agreeing on a course of action that is preferable to doing nothing ○ Implementing and enforcing the collective choice - Two classes of challenges to efforts of a group to reach and implementagreements are important to discuss: ○ Coordination - Members of the group must decide individually what they want, what they are prepared to contribute to the collective enterprise, and how to coordinate their efforts with those of others. How to combine their efforts -- how to work together to get to the place they are going. Like a tandem bike. Coordination problems increase with the size of the group. □ Balanced and effective interaction of movement,actions, etc. □ Working together as a unit. ○ The Prisoner's Dilemma - Arises wheneverindividuals decide that even though they support some collective undertaking, they are personally better off pursuing an activity that rewards them individually while undermining the collective effort. All about trust. Every successful political exchange must tacitly solve the Prisoner's Dilemma. □ Each side, to get something, usually must give up something of value in return. □ Exchanges occur because each side recognizes that it will be made better off. □ Exchanges occur because each side recognizes that it will be made better off. □ But each side also worries that its partner could renege on the agreement once the partner has gotten what it wants. Unless each side can trust the other to abide by its commitments,they will not achieve a mutually profitable exchange. □ How do you solve this? By making reneging and defection very expensive. ◊ For example, breaking a contract negotiated by labor and managementusually has legal outcomesthat are harmful to the party breaking the agreement. By creating institutions that guarantee agreementsare honored. ◊ Emphasis on repeated play; honor; censure. 1/21/2016 - One of the reasons we have governmentsof any kind is due to the fact that people have a hard time working together. This is because: ○ Resources are limited. ○ Not everyonecan get what they want. ○ People's ideas of what is a good society differ. - Free riding = to benefit from a public good without contributing. ○ Public goods = non-excludable (can't keep you from accessing it) = non-rivalry (your use of it doesn't take away from others) - Example of Privatization= toll road rather than free highway - Example of Incentives = purposive, solidary, material - Example of Selective Incentives = NPR donors get special and exclusive perks - Example of Disincentives= fines - Why does so much free riding go on? ○ Because generally, everyoneis gaining (non-rivalry) and it is difficult to force people to pay for an unsolicited public good. - The Tragedy of the Commons ○ Usually involves a public resource. ○ Individuals acting based on short-termgain & convenience without thinking of long-term create disaster for all. ○ Classic example is the commonpasture with sheep. Sheep eat grass all the way to the dirt so it won't grow back everywhere. ○ Modern example is found in the fishing industry: cod, blue-fin. Overfishing and little oversight. ○ How do you solve it? Privatizationof the land -- individual owners or fee for grazing, with fines for over- grazing. Or, as Elinor Ostrom concluded: rules and institutions to manage the commonsand involve the users of the resources. Self-determination,self-monitoring, and rules enforced by communityif someonecheats.
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