COMPARATIVE GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
IGNOU BPSC 133 Solved Free Assignment
BPSC 133 Solved Free Assignment July 2023 & January 2024
Q. 1. Describe the important methods of comparison in the study of political science.
Ans. The important methods used by Scholars in the study of political science, are given as under:
Experimental Method: In this method, one variable is controlled in order to know if any change in it causes changes in the other variable. The method can be restrictively used in social sciences.
Many comparativists try to build their studies on the basis of the model of this method.
This method aims to find a causal relationship between two conditions wherein one condition influences the other in a specific manner. The factors whose influence we want to study are separated.
The factor whose influence is to be measured and which is to be manipulated by us is called the independent variable and the other factor on which the influence is studied, is called dependent variable.
Result of the study help us in bringing out a common proposition about applicability of the result.IGNOU BPSC 133 Solved Free Assignment
Case Study: A case study is an in-depth study about some persons or events. It focuses on studying a particular case and collect data.
It cannot be called comparative because its focus is on studying only one case but its observations can be used for comparing these with other cases.
To show how comparative explanations are made by a single case, Alexis de Tocqueville studied 18th century France and 19th century United States. These two areas were different.
In case of the French Revolution, he tried to explain the reasons behind the Revolution and in the study on the democracy of the U.S.A.; he focused on studying the causes/outcomes of social equality in the country.
Though, there were two studies, in a period of 20 years, yet, there was commonness. Tocqueville concentrated both these with similar issues, such as equality/inequality, dictatorship/ freedom, political stability/instability as well as his views on social structure and social change. IGNOU BPSC 133 Solved Free Assignment
He had firm belief about the Western historical process of change from aristocracy to democracy and from inequality to equality.
These two studies were called a single comparative study because in case of both, the other nation continues as an absent case.
When he analysed the American society, his view was affected by his attitude about the French society and vice versa.
Political stability was present in case of the American study because America was considered a democracy by birth in which social behaviour towards equality was at the top.
But French had a system of hierarchical inequalities, called Aristocracy, which underwent significant changes during the 18th century and joining of a desire of equality with inequality led to dictatorship which finally ended as the revolution of 1789.
So, Tocqueville’s two studies were conducted for finding the similarities and dissimilarities between two interacting powers of history to explain the different methods which were resorted to by France and the US.
Statistical Method: These methods have mathematical formulae and techniques for conducting scientific analysis of the research data.
Quantifiable variables, which can be described by a number, like inflation rate, NPAs of the Nationalised Banks, literacy rate, etc. are used in scientific methods.
After studying relationships among a number of variables, data are presented in a precise and understandable form to list its similarities and differences. Statistical methods help us to easily explain/compare data and to show its trend.
It enables us to make forecasts. As compared with other methods, Scientific Methods are very important because of the ease in dealing with data about a number of variables. IGNOU BPSC 133 Solved Free Assignment
But, these methods do not provide complete answers and should be used with qualitative analysis for having justifications of relationships.
Focused Comparisons: Focused comparison method focus on some aspects of the cases only. Generally, a small number of countries are taken for studying some specific aspects.
With the help of focused comparison method, comparative study of public policies in respect of different countries was done. Lipset has identified the difference between the implicit binary comparison and the explicit paired comparisons.
While in the former one, the own nation of the investigator can be taken as a reference and in case of the later, there are two countries between which comparisons are to be made in respect of some specific aspects or in its entirety. Like, comparison of the growth rates of India and Pakistan.
Historical Method: Historical method uses large variety of primary/secondary data and provides causal explanations sensitive to its past.
Eric Wolf says that while conducting a study on understanding societies and the causes of human action, we should not only look for the technical solutions but also to study its history to find out the reasons for the present in its past.
While conducting these studies, analysis of the communi-cations and connections among the people belonging to different countries and cultures should be done.
In historical studies, the focus has been on the social/political facts of one or more cases for finding out its causal explanations.
Theda Scokpol speaks of two categories of comparative historical studies that use more than one case (i) comparative history, and (ii) comparative historical analysis. The first compares different societies that have shared similar cultural conditions.
He favoured the comparative historical analysis in which emphasis is on developing causal hypothesis about significant events of countries.
The method examines historical events to provide explanations which can be valid beyond a particular time, by comparing these with other historical events.
John Stuart Mill says that a valid explanation can be given by two methods: the method of Agreement and the method of Difference.
The first method, he said, tries to study a large number of cases which have both, the phenomenon and the causal factors proposed in the hypothesis, as common factors.
In the second method, two sets of cases are used, positive as well as negative. Both, the phenomenon and the relationship hypothesis are present in the positive cases and in the negative cases, both are absent but the same are similar to the first set.
Skocpol has used the French, Russian and Chinese Revolutions, while conducting her comparative analysis, as positive cases of successful social revolution.
According to her, these three revolutions have similar causal designs, inspite of the presence of a number of differences.
As regards negative cases, she used failed Russian Revolution of 1905 and also some selected features of the English, Japanese and German histories in order to validate their causal relationship. IGNOU BPSC 133 Solved Free Assignment
Critics of this method argue that historical methods are unable to provide a chance of conducting a scientific study of a specific phenomenon because it does not study a large number of cases.
Q. 2. Discuss the different type of functions performed by political parties in democratic systems.
Ans. The political parties have to perform the following functions in a democratic political system:
Interest Aggregation: They bring together interests of different sections of the society, reduce geographical differences and promote unity by aggregating the concerns and opinions of different sections and placing these forward as common goals for the society.
Nominating Candidates: Political parties perform another important function of nominating their candidates to contest elections for various public offices and thereby they play a role in the formation of a democratic government in the country.
When political parties are absent in elections, it would be very difficult for the voters to select their representatives. IGNOU BPSC 133 Solved Free Assignment
So, the voters would be extremely confused to select, one out of those self nominated candidates on account of their personal friendships, reputation, etc.
Parties put up their candidates in legislative constituencies and reduce the confusion of voters. They also financially support those candidates who cannot bear the cost of contesting elections.
Structure Vote Choices: Political parties put up their candidates to contest elections and help form a democratic government.
With their candidates, the overall number of candidates gets reduced and only those candidates, who have some possibility of winning the election, remain in the fray.
Parties securing fairly large number of votes in the last elections, their candidates have better chances of securing votes in future elections and the candidates who do not belong to any party or who are not serious, get discouraged from contesting and the contest remains focused on the candidates of the parties having good track record.
All this helps the voters to take their decision about which candidate they like to vote.
Coordination Within Government: The political parties are an important connection between the executive and the legislature.
They coordinate within the society and the society and the government, by the function of interest aggregation and also establish a bridge between legislature and executive. IGNOU BPSC 133 Solved Free Assignment
In both, the presidential and parliamentary forms, this function is performed by parties. Further, the political parties also coordinate between the national, regional and local levels of government.
The President of the United States and the leaders of the two houses of the US Parliament need not cooperate with each other, but their parties perform this function of linking the separation of powers and making policies for effective functioning of the country.
Again, in the parliamentary political systems, the Cabinet is formed on the basis of support of majority in the legislature. So, parties keep their members united for supporting their government.
In this way, the political parties have taken the powers of legislatures and have become informal governments.
They also help in establishing coordination among the national, regional and local levels of governments in both, the federal forms and unitary forms of government. Political parties are regarded as organizations by effectively performing this function.
Proposing Alternative Programmes of Government Action: During elections, political parties generally release their party manifestos containing proposals for alternative programmes of actions to be taken by Government.
This helps the voters in choosing their candidates on the basis of these manifestos. These policies given in the campaigns may be differing for different candidates and in different elections. IGNOU BPSC 133 Solved Free Assignment
In USA, there are only two political parties, the Republicans and the Democrats. Even their names indicate that the two have common policies. In the manifestoes of these two parties, different policies are generally given.
Critic and Watchdog of the Government’s Policy: The aim of all parties is to contest elections and achieve victory in order to form their Governments. When one party wins the elections, others loose.
But after its defeat the opposition parties keep a close watch on the functioning of the Government of the other party.
This is a very important role played by political parties in a democratic set up. They have a significant role in the political, social and economic development of the country and strengthening its democracy.
Q. 1. Comment on the changing nature of federalism in contemporary politics.
Ans. The meaning of federalism has kept changing with the passage of time. Althus is, a German thinker in the 17th century, was the first to provide an understanding of federalism. IGNOU BPSC 133 Solved Free Assignment
According to him, every human associa-tion is formed by a pact and that pact forms the fundamental basis for living together.
All this leads to the formation of federal union. After when the American federation was formed, the idea of dual federalism came up.
In a dual sovereign arrangement, power is clearly divided between the federal and the state governments and the states use their powers without any interference by the federal government.
Here, centre and the states have sovereignty in their respective areas and have an equal status.
Subsequently, there were problems between the federal and the state governments and as per states’ views; the role of the federal government was very limited.
Dual federalism had disappeared slowly during the 1930s and 1940s. In this period, the American federal government started controlling the economy. Then came the concept of cooperative federalism.
In this system, both these governments were considered complementary to each other and these two were working peacefully as per their powers and also respecting the rights and the needs of each other.
The main emphasis of cooperative federalism was towards maintaining undivided unity of the two and also to make more efforts in the direction of encouraging the welfare of the people. IGNOU BPSC 133 Solved Free Assignment
On perusal of the working of cooperative federalism systems in countries such as the US, Canada, etc.,
it has been observed that the autonomy and the powers of the state governments were declining and centralization of powers was increasing, mainly on account of use of authority on the pretext of welfare of people.
After cooperative federalism, there is another notion, called interdependent federalism. This has been brought forward in recent times in the federal studies conducted by some scholars.
According to this view, both the federal and the state governments are neither fully independent like in dual federalism, nor these are having a lower position than the other like in case of cooperative federalism.
Elazar says that federalism is such an institutional arrangement, which is based on the principles of self-rule plus shared rule.
Only in the issues of local significance, self-rule is allowed. In case the matter relates to the common interest of both the governments, the shared rule comes into picture and decisions are taken jointly by the two governments.
According to C.J. Friedrich, with such an arrangement, federalism moves from just being a structure to taking such actions, by which these separate political groups come together to find out solutions, they practice common policies and also find out ways to solve their joint problems by formulating joint decision-making processes.
Q. 2. What ar ethe distinctive features of a parliamentary system?
Ans. The parliamentary system is that form of government where the political party (or coalition of parties) who have the largest representation in the parliament, forms the Government and the leader of such party (ies) become the Prime Minster.
In such a system, Legislative and the Executive are combined together and the later is taken from the former. Also, the Executive is accountable to the Legislature and the later can also remove it.IGNOU BPSC 133 Solved Free Assignment
According to J.W. Garner, in the parliamentary form of government, the real executive is the cabinet/Ministry and it is legally responsible to the Legislature for its actions/policies.
The Parliamentary system of Government had originated in Britain and many other nations of the world have adopted this system of government. These include India, New Zealand, Germany, Japan, Canada, Australia, etc.
The following important characteristics the parliamentary system, differentiate it from the presidential system:
- Two Executive Heads: In the parliamentary systems, there are two executive heads: Head of State and Head of Government. The former is the main public representative of the country and has a non-political and symbolic role. Head of the Government is the person who enjoys real powers to run the Government. The head of state can be elected or in some countries, it is a hereditary post.
He performs functions such as: appointment of the head of government/ ministers, etc., approving various legislations, representing the country in relation to other countries of the world, giving away various awards/honours.
He also receives ambassadors/ high commissioners/heads of states of other countries. And also performs a host of other similar functions.
The head of state is an impartial figure due to his formal powers and the head of government is a political leader and occupies the real powers of the government.
Fusion of the Executive and Legislature: The executive, the legislature and the judiciary are the three organs of the government. Powers between the executive and the legislative are not separated in a parliamentary system.
Instead of this, the powers of the two organs are merged together (fusion).
Collective Responsibility: According to this principle, all members in the Council of Ministers of the government are equally responsible for their decisions/actions and the decisions taken by the Cabinet are deemed to be taken collectively.
The entire Cabinet supports its decisions in public and in the legislature. Cabinet members should not criticize any action of the government.
This principle has more importance when there is a coalition government formed by two or more political parties. IGNOU BPSC 133 Solved Free Assignment
Since the members of the Council of Ministers are the members of the Legislature and also the members of the majority party,this principle of collective responsibility helps in reaching a decision on the nature of the legislative proposals to be placed in the legislature and also in passing these proposals.
Leadership of the Head of Government: We know that in parliamentary systems, the Prime Minister or the Chancellor is the leader of the political party which enjoys a majority in the Legislature.
He is also the leader of the Council of Ministers. So, the Prime Minister has extensive powers due to which he becomes the most powerful person in the system.
Also, other Ministers and officials of the Government are appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.
On the advice of the Prime Minister, the President also allots/changes the different portfolios of the Ministers and performs many other important functions including removal of a Minister, calling sessions of the Legislature, dissolving the Legislature, etc.
It is quite clear from the above that the Head of the Government (Prime Minister) has the actual powers in the Parliamentary system and the Head of the State (the President) functions on his advice and is a titular head (having the formal position but not the actual powers).
Q. 3. Briefly describe the thre dominant approaches to globalisation.
Ans. Globalisation process can be properly understood by studying the following three available approaches:IGNOU BPSC 133 Solved Free Assignment
The Hyperglobalists approach provides a highly excited view of globalisation. It considers globalisation to be a central and irreversible process.
The inter- national markets and MNCs are gaining strength and these are controlling the whole world. With this, power of states is coming down.
Borderless economy has reduced the Governments to be just intermediate institutions lying between the local, regional and global mechanisms of governance and they are not in a position to exercise their full control over the events happening on its borders.
According to the believers of this view, the economic globalisation has brought international civil society and supra-state government as the new forms of social/political organizations, which, in the end, will replace the nation-state.
Now, it has come to such an extent that those states which do not move ahead with the present period would be left behind.
The Hyperglobalists approach says that a new international elite class is growing all over the world to gain from the reforms brought in by globalisation and others are losing their significance.
The sceptics approach is very much opposed to the hyperglobalists view. It says that the description of globalisation as provided by the hyperglobalists is a myth and they are of the view that globalisation is neither new concept nor it is revolutionary.
It says interdependence is not higher than it was during the late 19th century in which, there was an increase in trade, flows of labour, higher economic inter-dependence and much higher integration of states in the systems.
Sceptics are of the view that globalisation characterizes more interstate trade and expanding regional markets, such as, NAFTA and the European Union, which in fact, they say, reduce global economic integration.
According to this view, the economic forces are inexperienced in properly understanding the authority of political powers.
Only politics is important in determining relations among states and the authority of the state has not reduced. IGNOU BPSC 133 Solved Free Assignment
All the MNCs also are controlled by the country. Sceptics also say that no restructuring of world economy has taken place.
Trade and investment are still in favour of the North and the differences between North and South are increasing.
Transformationists view says that globalisation is rapidly changing the world and it has become the driving force for the social, political and economic changes which are giving another form to modern societies and a world order.
According to this view, globalisation is formed to be a strong changing force that can shake societies, economies, governance and world order. But its direction is not certain.
These people put forward globalisation as such a process which has many contradictions. Still, they say that all countries in the world are functionally part of that larger global system in many respects.
They say that such things do not signify the arrival of a global society but globalisation is linked with new types of classifications in which some states, societies and communities are getting more entangled in the world order and some others are becoming insignificant.IGNOU BPSC 133 Solved Free Assignment
Q. 1. What are the major obstacles to the success of democratic regimes in the developing countries?
Ans. One of the main hindrances in the way of success of the democratic regimes in the developing nations was division of the people on the basis of languages, religions, tribal basis, etc. which also had impact on their civil societies.
During the various stages of the social, political and economic development of these countries, such ethnic groups were present and these ethnic differences were visible in political organisations as well.
All this led to the mobilisation of these ethnic groups by various political parties, of the country which had very limited resources, for fulfilling their demands.
Then, it became imperative for the ruling people to put in place the necessary systems for controlling the rising demands of the groups who were having more and more involvement in the politics of the country with lot of hopes.
Such actions/systems, which aimed at enforcing strict obedience to the authority, became the starting point for the authoritarian measures.
Due to such increasing participation, a large number of democratic regimes of Latin America were forced into authoritarian military or bureaucratic regimes.
According to dependency theorists, democratic regimes in developing States were facing another important problem of under development which necessitated taking strong measures by the regimes. IGNOU BPSC 133 Solved Free Assignment
Due to their underdevelopment, the democratic regimes of East and South East Asia, (such as South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc.) had to concentrate more on their economic goals rather than their political goals.
Q. 2. Distinguish different types of military regimes.
Ans. Military regimes are divided on the basis of their position, role and involvement in the decision-making processes of the country and their actions after acquiring these powers.
Their level of involvement in decisions taking processes in different countries can be a military-junta type where the junta holds supremacy as the highest policy decision taking body.
There is a command council in Junta having officers from the army, navy and the air force. IGNOU BPSC 133 Solved Free Assignment
The junta may appoint a civilian cabinet to work under its command. As an alternative, the junta may allow only one party to function who will work as per commands of the military executive.
In junta type of involvement, military has an active involvement in policy making of the country.
Military regime can be of a presidential type in which, military has only a supportive role to play. The cabinet comprises of mainly civilian people.
For example in Zaire, the official ruling party has insignificant role in the working and there is military which supports the President. In Syria, local political party has an important role in country’s affairs.
It has a symbiotic relationship with military officials. Here, the military does not just have a supportive part but it has more active involvement in country’s affairs.
But, here the President exercises independent authority on both, the civilian government and the military factors.
In another type of military regime, in which, the role of military is to just supervise the society, or they just keep a watch on the overall affairs of the country.
Like, in Thailand, the civilians are allowed to have a lot of independence by the primarily military cabinet, in administering the country.
But, in Ghana and Nigeria, the governments device a national programme, which they allow the civilian services to manage.
In the military regimes of Indonesia and Burma, their armed forces have supremacy in policy decisions and also have a greater role in its administration.
Q. 3. What is the communitarian perspective on the nature of the state.
Ans. Communitarianism and Multiculturalism political philosophies emerged in 1980s as a criticism of liberal philosophy. According to their views human beings are basically social beings. IGNOU BPSC 133 Solved Free Assignment
Humans live and grow in communities that constitute them. So, these scholars discard the liberal conceptions.
About the nature of state, the communitarians criticize the liberal theorists’ claim that state should not apply a specific view of good life on the people and it should remain neutral.
They also argue that the concept of state neutrality given by the liberals is primarily because of their view that rights of individuals and personal freedom come before the common good.
But according to Sandel, good based on community’s way of life comes before right and therefore, it is the duty of the state to enforce the concepts of the good life in accordance with the way of life of the community.
Communitarians also argue that state neutrality has widespread effects and it adds to the erosion of moral fabric of the society, fading away of the shared values which form our lives and it also tends to bring instability in the society.
Therefore, the communitarians believe that, in order to prevent such wrongs, role of the state should be to promote a shared vision of the good, encourage civic virtues, cultivate a sense of belongingness and it should also look after the basic values of the community.
Q. 4. Examine the strengths and weaknesses of plurality and majority based electoral systems.
Ans. Plurality System: Under this system, each voter is allowed to vote only for one candidate and the candidate who secures votes more than any other candidate gets elected. It is also known as the First-Past-The-Post System (FPTP).
It is based on plurality rule which means that the candidate who gets more votes than the votes got individually by other candidates in a constituency without considering whether he has secured an absolute majority or not.
In India, we have elections system for the Parliament/State Legislatures.
Majority System: Under this system, it is ensured that the winning candidate is the one who secures more than fifty per cent votes or wins an absolute majority. This system has two variants: (i) two-round system (2RS), and (ii) alternative vote system.
In the two-round system, there are two rounds of voting. When one of the candidates has secured an absolute majority in the first round, then, he is declared as the winner. IGNOU BPSC 133 Solved Free Assignment
When none of the candidates is able to secure more than 50% votes in the first round, then all the candidates who are below the top two, are excluded and another round of voting is held only between the top two candidates so that one of them will have an absolute majority votes. In countries such as France, Iran, Vietnam, etc., this system is used.
In alternative vote system, voting is based on preferential voting, that is, in single-member constituencies, the voters have to rank all candidates in order of their preference, as against casting their vote in favour of one single candidate.
Counting of all the votes is done on the basis of the first preferences given by the voters. In order to be declared winner, the candidate has to secure an absolute majority.
If none secures a majority of the first preferences votes, then the candidate who has secured the lowest number of votes is excluded and his votes are re-distributed to other candidates according to the second preferences.
This process continues, the lowest candidates are eliminated in this way and his votes get re-distributed to the remaining candidates till such time when one candidate gets more than 50% of the total votes polled in the election and he is declared as the winner.
Q. 5. What are the core assumptions of neo-Marxism?
Ans. Neo-Marxism is an updation of Marxism and it criticizes the classical Marxists views of economic determinism and reductionism for the autonomy of the superstructure. IGNOU BPSC 133 Solved Free Assignment
Its scholars such as Antonio Gramsci, Louis Althusser, Georg Lukacs and Nicos Poulantzas have clarified the base/superstructure formulation.
They say that state is the part of superstructure and it is not just a tool in the hands of the economically dominant class.
It has the autonomy and the capability to bring changes in the base. Poulantzas, in his structural Marxist theory of state, says that the capitalist mode of production does not only relate to economic structure but it has four different levels: economic, political, ideological and theoretical.
These levels exist together as a complex whole in which each level is relatively free.
He criticized the view of Miliband and argued that the capital class has internal divisions on the basis of economic interests and to ensure continuation of capitalist system and to protect long-term interests of the capitalist class, the state has the part to maintain cohesiveness between the levels of social formation.
Neo-Marxists also contend that the state in capitalist society is not neutral but it is there to maintain the exploitative capitalist system.