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Lecture 2: Broad Political Trajectories

by: Sara Mendez

Lecture 2: Broad Political Trajectories POL-UA-530-001

Marketplace > New York University > Political Science > POL-UA-530-001 > Lecture 2 Broad Political Trajectories
Sara Mendez
GPA 3.6

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Notes from the second lecture!
Latin American Politics
Pablo Querubin Borrero
Class Notes
Latin America, Politics
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Sara Mendez on Saturday February 6, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POL-UA-530-001 at New York University taught by Pablo Querubin Borrero in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 50 views. For similar materials see Latin American Politics in Political Science at New York University.

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Date Created: 02/06/16
Lecture 2: Broad Political Trajectories We cannot blame Latin American problems on lack of independence - It has been independent for longer than North America has Latin America has been very unstable politically - Tops the list of “irregular exits of presidents” since 1900 - Ecuador tops the list, followed by Bolivia (about 20 presidents exited before they were supposed to) - This level of instability is very costly  Voters disenchanted with democracy  Foreign investors find it too risky to invest - Colombia is at the bottom of the list with the least amount of irregular exits - Irregular exits due to assassinations, impeachments, etc. Successful Coup D’état - Bolivia and Argentina top the list New constitutions - Latin America has had 200+ completely new constitutions in the region  New presidents draft new constitutions, contradicting the last one  This causes people’s attitude toward the rule of law to change completely  Laws are not taken seriously  Kills all incentives to invest or become engaged with political institutions Summary - Latin America has been the most unstable region in the world in terms of  # of coup d’états  # of new constitutions  # of irregular exits from presidency Some Important Definitions State: set of administrative, legal, and coercive systems with a monopoly over the legitimate use of force in a given territory - The rule of law and bodies that enforce it (army, police, tax collecting agencies, regulatory agencies) - State can remain in spite of changes of regime or government - Very permanent; long-lasting *Is ISIS a state? It has a monopoly over use of force…. But is it legitimate? Regime: rules and procedures by which power is allocated (democracy, dictatorship) - Political transitions = regime changes - The regime may change but this doesn’t mean the STATE changed Government: group of people in power at a given point in time. - You can have a change in government without a change in regime or state - Ex: Obama was elected  change in government but regime and state stayed the same  Most states expect changes in government but changes in regimes are not so obvious  Latin America has been very unstable in terms of regime… lots of changes!  Changes in state are rare; usually come after revolutions… drastic change Democracy 3 principles… 1) Principle of participation - No one is excluded - Open to interpretation - Ex: some consider “universal suffrage” to mean all men can vote 2) Principle of competition - Free, fair and regular elections 3) Principle of accountability - Leaders must respond to voters preferences - Presidents can’t act like dictators once in power Procedures of Democracy Helps us check whether or not a state meets democratic standards 1) Freedom to form and join organizations 2) Freedom of expression 3) The right to vote 4) Eligibility to public office 5) The right of political leaders to compete for support and votes 6) Alternative sources of information 7) Free and fair elections 8) Institutions for making government policies depend on votes and other expressions of preference Democratic: free and fair elections Semi-democratic: free but not fair elections, or when elected leaders didn’t really have power - Ex: some leaders are very constrained because they don’t want to upset the military Oligarchic: electoral competition is fair but not free - Elite rule and restrictions on the franchise and who can run Nondemocratic: not free nor fair elections Measuring Democracy: POLITY IV POLITY IV -One of the most commonly used sources to measure political regimes -“Democracy score” from 0 to 10 Components 1. Competitiveness of executive recruitment 2. Openness of executive recruitment 3. Constraints on chief executive 4. Competitiveness of political participation Broad Periods of Political Development 1. Oligarchic Democracy (1880-1920s) -Coincides with liberal economy 2. Mass Politics Popular (populist) Democracies (1940s-1960s) -The poor making new policies 3. Democratic Breakdown and Military Dictatorships (1970s) -Elites strike back against the poor 4. Democratization (1980s-now) Oligarchic Democracy -Competition between elites or strong-man rule (i.e. Colombia) -Export-boom required political stability and order: centralizing forces and end of “caudillo” -Farmers now have incentives to care about political stability -Often, political power was based on relatively modern constitutions -Mild inclusion of middle class Mass Politics: Popular (populist) Democracy -Great Depression and switch to ISI: dictatorships to prevent unrest -Rise of urban working class and industrial interests -State-led industrialization Democratic Breakdown: Military Dictatorships -1940s-1960s  relatively well functioning democracies -poses threat to elite: land reform, labor unions, redistributions -ISI running out of steam: end of workers industrialists coalition -this lead to military dictatorships Democratization (1970s-now) -Economic crisis -Civil society and human rights organizations -End of Cold War -Democracy in Central America is very new; it was completely nondemocratic for most of 20 century (except Costa Rica)


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