POS 350 Week 6 Notes 8
POS 350 Week 6 Notes 8 POS350
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Alexandria Paterson on Tuesday September 20, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POS350 at Arizona State University taught by Koehler in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 22 views. For similar materials see Comparative Politics in Humanities and Social Sciences at Arizona State University.
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Date Created: 09/20/16
POS 350 Tuesday, September 20 th [Week 6 Notes 8] **Research Idea Outline due October 13 ** th Why are Poor Countries Poor? 25% of the world’s population lives on less than $1 per day almost half the world’s population lives on less than $2 per day the ten richest billionaires in the world control $6.5 trillion in assets the 62 richest billionaires owned as much wealth as 50% of the world’s population combined The World Bank identifies poor countries based upon the percentage of a country living on less than $1 or $2 per day which allows us to determine whether poverty is increasing or decreasing in specific countries or in the world. The United Nations Development Program defines poverty of multiple dimensions with the Human Poverty Index (HPI) which includes factors such as life-span, level of education, access to public resources, access to private resources, etc. which leads to slightly different country poverty rankings compared to the World Bank definition. Rationalist Explanations: - Poor people wouldn’t choose to be poor - National poverty is the result of individuals acting rationally, in their own self-interest but these individually rational decisions generate, collectively, irrational outcomes that perpetuate poverty - Individual decisions can be constrained (material constraints, institutional/organizational constraints) - This disjuncture between what is individually good and what is socially/collectively good is very important** Example: Poor people tend to have more children which helps provide more labor in agricultural societies, etc. and greater likelihood of care and support for the parents when they age. However, it also helps keep families in poverty and perpetuates a cycle of poverty which is collectively irrational as their resources become stretched further with more children. How do societies break a “cycle of poverty”? - They need to break the individual and collective constraints that lead poor people to make individually rational, but collectively irrational decisions. - Like providing social safety nets for the elderly (so they don’t have as many children) - Protecting poor farmers in times of crop failure (so they don’t “scatter” plots) This relates to the strength of states and their ability to provide public goods and infrastructure conducive to economic development (roads/schools/water/electricity/clean air/national security/domestic security/order) Free Rider Problem: - If individuals think they can benefit from a public good without voluntarily contribution to it, then rationally, they won’t contribute. - But if most people think/act this way, then the public good will either disappear or won’t come about in the first place - Need a strong organization or institution (state/government) to compel involuntary participation Neoliberal Counter-argument: - Economic Development thrives under less state intervention/control - Let free market principles “do their thing” - However, many states throughout the world show that some degree of state-based coercion is necessary for national economic development - If a country doesn’t have strong and effective public institutions, then the necessary foundations for a free market to exist and function in the first place are absent - However, Strong States can be the problem - Authoritarian regimes and dictatorships - Even though a regime or leader may wield immense power and exert immense control over a country, they may exploit resources for their own gain, rather than their country’s economic development - In terms of rationalism, it can even be seen as irrational for such leaders to give up power individually and make economic or political reforms, for the collective good of a country Culturalist Explanations: - Begin with the assumption that culture is at least somewhat separate from social, political, and economic forces - If culture wasn’t somewhat separate, then we would just look at those forces instead of culture - Also seen as interactive with these types of forces Modernization Theorists: - Poor countries are poor because they lack the appropriate cultural values and practices that make sustained economic development possible - Cultural values are divided into modern and traditional Modern Values: rationality and science (over emotionalism and superstition); independence/individualism, personal achievement, etc. Traditional Values: Basically the opposite: religious, not individualistic, etc. - These adopted a very limited view of culture and didn’t pay enough attention to history; viewed cultures as fixed as monolithic - Some scholars noted glaring exceptions to Modernist arguments - Japan, for instance, experienced amazing economic development, even though it has a highly traditional, paternalistic and collective culture Later, New Modernization Theorists came along - Payed more attention to specific cultures and to the context of specific cases instead of over-generalizing to come up with broad explanations - Also relied more on comparative case studies - These theorists argued that factors like Confucian history and culture in East Asia, once seen as incompatible with capitalism, actually helped it develop later on in those societies Oscar Lewis argued that people in poor communities share a common set of values, beliefs, and practices that keep them poor. - Apathy, fatalism, hedonism, illiteracy, violence, lack of participation in societal institutional (even banks, etc.) and social movements etch. - He argued that these views and behaviors were adaptations and reactions of the poor, in the face of their marginal position in capitalist society and these views and behaviors are reproduced and keep them in poverty - He also argues that the culture of poverty is due to an overarching culture of capitalism which channels wealth into the hands of the few and creates sharp class distinctions and thus cultural differences Structuralist Explanations: Life & Debt - Structural explanations look at the nature of the system in which states interact - They generally argue that poor countries are poor because rich countries control the global economic system - Rich countries made and keep poor countries poor for their own advantage Exceptions are possible - Some poor countries might become better off but generally do not - Social mobility would be seen largely as a myth - Structuralists would argue that class distinctions are an inherent part of the capitalist system - Thus, economic development among poor countries (or people), must be the exception to the rule Dependency Theory: - A prominent structural explanation - First really developed to explain economic underdevelopment in Latin America - Through colonialism and unfair trade, the West developed at the expense of the Third World (these blocks of countries came to be known as the Core and the Periphery) - The periphery has trouble moving out of poverty because the Core controls the rules of the game by exploiting the periphery for cheap labor and cheap, raw resources - The core uses cheap labor and cheap raw resources to produce goods - Periphery countries could attempt to move into producing finished goods but the Core typically designs and sells the machinery needed to turn raw resources into useable items - The poorest countries are usually technologically disadvantages and Periphery countries would typically need loans from the Core countries which would keep them in their debt - In the real world, Periphery countries looking to develop economically must rely upon the core for credit and technology, as well as markets for their own goods (whether raw resources or even more finished goods). - Core/Rich countries got into the game first and got a head start and started structuring the system for their own benefit and developing institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Problems: - Viewed it as basically impossible for countries to move out of poverty yet many East Asian countries did just that - Dependency theorists tried too hard to over-generalize their claims - Ignoring history and the potential for future changes
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