COMPARATIVE POLITICS: ISSUES AND TRENDS
MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment July 2021 & Jan 2022
Q. 1. What is the comparative method? Examine the significance and the limitations of the comparative method in the study of politics.
Ans. The Comparative Method: A wide variety of meanings is attached to the term comparative method.” For some authors, the comparative method is similar to the statistical method, except that it deals with a small number of cases.
The comparative method has taken many forms since Augustus Comte first employed the concept in 1853, in his foundational Cours de philosophie positive.
Subsequently a variety of comparative methods have emerged in the social sciences with different goals, units of comparison, and types of data that reflect a variety of theoretical assumptions and interests.
Comparison has formed the core of anthropology, sociology and other social sciences, to the extent that Emile Durkheim (1938) viewed all sociological analysis as necessarily comparative.
Comparative methods have been employed for both quantitative and qualitative studies of such diverse phenomena as language, political organisation, economic relations, religion, myth, kinship, marriage, and the family.
Three strategies are used in comparative methodologies: illustrative comparison, complete or universe comparison, and sampled-based comparisons.
Illustrative comparison is the most common form of comparative analysis and has been employed extensively by theorists. In this approach items are used as examples to explain or exemplify phenomena found in different units. MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
They are chosen for their illustrative value and not systematically selected to be statistically representative. Illustrative comparisons are used in historical reconstructions, and to support interpretations or general assertions.
Ethnographic case studies are commonly justified as the source for illustrative comparisons. The second strategy is complete or universe comparison, in which all elements of the domain within the study form the units of comparison.
Finally, sampled comparison strategically delimits part of the whole, with the goal of selecting data that are statistically representative of the variations within the whole and are intended as the basis for statistical generalisations.
There are three different comparative methods: experimental, statistical and case study. An experiment is a method of investigating causal relationships among variables.
An experiment is a cornerstone of the empirical approach to acquiring data about the world and is used in both natural sciences and social sciences.
An experiment can be used to help solve practical problems and to support or negate theoretical assumptions. But the experiments are done in controlled conditions, so, its application to the comparative politics has limited scope.
Hence, as alternative to the experimental method, in comparative politics statistical method is used. Statistical methods can be used to summarise or describe a collection of data; this is called descriptive statistics.MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
In addition, patterns in the data may be modeled in a way that accounts for randomness and uncertainty in the observations, and are then used to draw inferences about the process or population being studied; this is called inferential statistics.
Descriptive statistics and inferential statistics together comprise applied statistics.
Correlation and regression are examples of statistical methods. Straight-line (linear) relationships are particularly important because a straight line is a simple pattern that is quite common.
The correlation measures the direction and strength of the linear relationship. Quantitative methods have given new thrust to the orientation of the Comparative Politics.
Comparative Politics frequently turn to quantitative methods instead of or in combination with alternative techniques because they believe that quantitative methods are essential for addressing many substantive questions of interest.
Studies that are associated with alternative methodologies also suggest the centrality of qualitative methodology.
The case study is yet another way of the comparative method, for this, generally case study is done keeping in mind most relevant cases in mind.
Comparative Politics developed as a sub discipline after World War II. At that time need for deep knowledge about a huge number of countries made the field more relevance.
The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union raised the question of whether countries around the world would become increasingly democratic and capitalist or whether some version of communism would be more appealing.
Comparativists initially provided an answer to this question by maintaining that over time most countries would look more and more alike; they would “converge” with each other.
Especially as they became wealthier, industrialised, educated, and less bound by unquestioned tradition, states throughout the world would become more democratic.
As society changed, “political development” would occur. This approach to comparative politics was called modernisation theory.MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
Even though it yielded important insights and inspired a great deal of research throughout the world, by the late 1960s modernisation theory confronted withering criticism on a number of fronts.
First, it universalised the particular experience of the West into a model that all countries, independent of time or place, would also follow.
Political scientists doing field research in other areas of the world maintained that this was simply not happening. Especially in poorer countries, democracies often collapsed into dictatorships.
Second, and more important, political scientists working in poorer regions of the world argued that even if the history of Europe and North America (the “West”) did represent a shift from traditional to modern society, the fact of the West’s existence changed the context in which poorer countries had to develop.
Some political scientists maintained that the poorer nations of the world lived in a condition of “dependence” on the West.
Large Western corporations, so the argument of the dependency theorists” ran, supported by their governments at home and by the regimes they controlled in the poorer countries of the world, economically exploited these countries.
As long as this relationship existed, the people of these poorer countries (called the developing world”) would remain poor and would live in undemocratic conditions.
During the 1970s, however, a new wave of democratization began and dozens of countries that had been dictatorships for decades or that had never known democracy at all became democratic. MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
Rather than return to modernisation theory, with its sweeping generalisations about the intimate tie between industrial and capitalist society on the one hand and democracy on the other, comparativists have attempted to develop theories that were more sensitive to historical and geographic context.
The ascendance of qualitative methodology with the beginning of 1990s, has made the Comparative Politics more relevance by contributing value addition to the discipline.
Weaknesses: In other subfields of political science, researchers may commonly work within well-defined general research programmes that provide clear base-level assumptions for formulating testable theories.
But in comparative politics, analysts usually do not draw on such well-defined research programmes.
Instead, they find theoretical inspiration in a wide variety of general orientations-strategic choice models, state-centric approaches, patron-client models, theories of international dependency, and many more – that emphasise certain key causal
factors but that lack the all-encompassing generality that we normally associate with a Lakotosian research programme.
Comparative Polities tend to suspend normative evaluation of the world in favour of deseribing the political world and explaining why it is the way it is.
However, it is important to remember that comparativists do this not because they lack preferences or are unwilling to make normative judgements, but rather because as social scientists they are committed first to offering systematic explanations for the world as it is.
So they try to draw a realistic rather than normative model. Comparativists may disagree about whether the acquired knowledge may help make the world a better place or help us make better moral judgements about politics, but they usually agree that the job of describing and explaining is big enough, and perhaps some of the deeper philosophical meanings of our findings can be left to the political theorists.
So, for example, rather than evaluating whether democracy is good or not, comparativists spend a great deal of time trying to understand and identify the general conditions-social, economic, ideological, institutional, and international – under which democracies initially appear, become unstable, collapse into dictatorship, and sometimes reemerge as democracies.
Furthermore, some times in the Comparative Politics it has been tried to draw parallel between two or more incomparable themes leading to vague conclusions.
But the most troublesome weakness of comparative politics is the ambiguity of the area of study to be covered under. MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
Q. 2. What is political economy approach in the study of comparative politics? Explain how it is applied in political analysis.
Ans. The origin of the term “Political Economy” dates back to the period when it was used to study the way production was carried out in countries born out of the new capitalist system.
More specifically, it was the relation between the production system and law, customs and the government.
Theories of political economy were used to study the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services and their effective management in a country or a government system.
In the 18th century, the term underwent a major change when the “Labour Theory of Value” came into being, brushing aside theories of the Physiocrats who claimed “Land” to be the source of all wealth.
Thus, the theory of profits on land which was up till now only a pattern of distributing wealth accrued from land in a capitalist system framework and collecting rents on land, changed, giving way to the theory of political economy.
The word Political Economy is the coming together of two Greek words “polis”(city or state) and “oikonomos” (one who manages the household).
This explains the modern definition that political economy is the relationship between economics and politics in nation states or across different nation states.
The theory of political economy now draws heavily on the subject of economics, political science, law, history and sociology or different closely related branches of economics to explain the politico-economic behaviour of a country.
Political economy, basically studies the development process of a polity, i.e. whether the polity is undergoing a surplus or a deficit. MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
Political economy is also concerned with the study of human activity in shaping the material world and the mechanism of distributing the surplus or deficit generated from such activities.
The disciplines that are related to the political economy are history, economics, law, human geography, ecology and international relations
In pioneering this radical reorientation of social research, Wallerstein advanced a theoretical and historical account of the origins, structure, and eventual demise of the modern world-system.
Central to this account was the conceptualization of the Eurocentric world-system as a capitalist world-economy A world-system was defined as a spatio-temporal whole, whose spatial scope is coextensive with a division of labour among its constituent parts and whose temporal scope extends as long as the division of labour continually reproduces the “world” as a social whole.
A world-economy was defined as a world-system not encompassed by a single political entity. Similarly other proponent of this theory Amin’s scheme rests on three pillars: Fordism, Sovietism, and developmentalism.
Fordism is the industrial theory prevalent in the centre: high wages are used to buy labour peace and levels of consumption sufficient to absorb the products of the steady growth of capitalism.
Military expenditures have played a big part in absorbing whatever overproduction might occur.
Sovietism in Eastern Europe and the USSR also has rested on class compromise between the “bureaucratic bourgeoisie” and the working class. Catching up with the West was a major motivator in this compromise. MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
This effort is presented as defensive and justifiable. Developmentalism in the rest of the world (Asia, Africa, and Latin America) was at the heart of the Bandung project which grew out of the famous conference in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955.
This conference was the beginning of efforts by comprador elements from the peripheral societies to modernise and industrialize their economies through state intervention.
Amin says that this project has failed along with the collapse of the global system in general, beginning with the failure of the Bretton Woods system in the early 1970s, and climaxing with the collapse of Sovietism in the early 1990s.
Amin places economic development on a higher plane than political change, in that he describes a programme for development which has no explicit class roots and may thus still exist as a mode of development under capitalism.
His views on the importance of economics arise from some of the erroneous conceptions described above.
They lead to a programme which has a very pronounced Utopian character to it; it seeks a recipe or technique for economic development as a solution to the problems of the less developed countries.
Amin makes little mention of the subject of the transition to socialism; or, rather, he has replaced the concept of the transition to socialism with his views on development.
This is a reflection of the fact that the revolutions of the 20th century have been almost totally in the less developed countries, and the burdens imposed by their lack of industrial development tended to overwhelm the explicitly socialist tasks of the revolution, to the extent that the bourgeoisie could take advantage of this situation and use it to reassert and reestablish their power, both economically as well as politically.
The theorists of development, including such ‘Marxists’ as Samir Amin, are firmly located in the camp of bourgeois economic ideology and serve to divert the genuine revolutionaries from taking up the question of the transition to socialism and clearing out the muck of decades of revisionist and reformist obfuscation.
They also do not provide any answer to the question of why these revolutions failed; was it merely due to betrayals by the leadership and their revisionist concepts, or do the backward economic conditions in these countries mean that the material basis for socialism was absent to begin with?
Amin’s economic mistakes justify larger political mistakes throughout his whole career as a bureaucrat and economic theorist in the service of “Third World” bourgeois governments who strike a socialist pose. MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
Q. 3. Discuss the impact of globalization on the internal functioning of a state.
Ans. Impact of Globalization on Internal Functioning of the States Democratic Decision-making
The Anti-globalisation movement is a term used to describe the political group who oppose the neoliberal version of globalisation, while criticisms of globalisation are some of the reasons used to justify this groups stance.
“Anti globalisation” may also involve the process or actions taken by a state in order to demonstrate its sovereignty and practice democratic decision-making, Anti-globalisation may occur in order to maintain barriers to the international transfer of people, goods and beliefs, particularly free market deregulation, encouraged by organisations such as the IMF or the WTO.
Moreover, as Naomi Klein argues in her book No Logo anti-globalism can denote either a single social movement or an umbrella terin that encompasses a number of separate social movements, the implementation of deregulation and privatisation policies has had its own autonomous effect on the distribution of power inside the state.
Certain parts of the US government (such as the treasury, the Federal Reserve, the office of the trade representative) have become stronger because of globalisation.
This in turn feeds the power of the executive branch, especially insofar as the executive seeks to control the public administration. MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
Further, key actors in the supranational system, such as the IMF and the WTO, will – as noted above-deal only with the executive branch, further removing it from democratic accountability.
Many theorists and analysts of globalisation have tended to consider the state as a whole, and either argued that not much has changed for “the” state or that “the” state has become much weaker.
Even the more nuanced versions that emphasise state adaptation tend to offer only a variant of this view.
What is missed is that economic globalisation has had its own autonomous effect, separately from questions of national security, in sharpening executive power and in undermining the legislature.
Hence globalisation as having brought about transformations inside the state, which though partial and highly specialised, are foundational – and they are deeper and more consequential than is routinely understood.
To get at these changes it is necessary to enter “the” state.
There is widespread agreement that globalisation and a resurgence of identity-based movements of political assertion or self-determination will have an enormous impact on prospects for a prosperous and peaceful world in the early 21st century.
Almost certainly, the relationship between these two trends is multidimensional and highly complex. MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
It will not resolve into simple conclusions that globalisation is either more or less likely to stir up conflicts among identity groups newly enchanted with themselves or newly empowered to redress for old wrongs or the satisfy long-cherished territorial or religious objectives.
Historical events also prove that cultural resurgence has always been on rise whenever there was tendency of assimilation of culture.
Economic and political historians mention that there were significant religious movements that Church.
It was a major force in the Middle Ages superior to kings and emperors. Although it lost its supremacy in later centuries, its importance as a transnational actor continued.
Terrorism has moved from the national to transnational level and from plane hijacking to a wider range of terrorist techniques since the 1960s.
The transnational dimension of terrorism is established when there is collusion and cooperation between different terrorist groups and when some countries serve as sanctuaries and training centres for terrorists of various nationalities.
While some states orient their policies by supporting terrorist groups, some other states change their foreign policies by taking counter-terrorist measures.
One way or another, all states are influenced by terrorist activities, therefore, no country tends to ignore terrorism. MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
Today, terrorism is globalised like other non-state actors, as was witnessed during the attacks directed toward the heart of the American state and the US-led international system on September II.
Q. 6. ‘Poverty anywhere in the world is a danger to prosperity everywhere’. Comment.
Ans. Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having aceess to school and not knowing how to read.
Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water.
Poverty is powerlessness, lack of representation and freedom. Poverty has many faces, changing from place to place and across time, and has been described in many ways. Most often, poverty is a situation people want to escape.
So poverty is a call to action-for the poor and the wealthy alike-a call to change the world so that many more may have enough to eat, adequate shelter, access to education and health, protection from violence, and a voice in what happens in their communities.
Poverty: A Broader Outlook MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
Sociological and economic-there are two perspectives under which the poverty is studied. One of the key factors that led to the emergence of sociology was research into poverty.
In both Britain and France the rise of sociology was accompanied by poverty studies. Yet from 1940s, sociologists moved away from poverty studies.
One path of exit was a change of terminology in which the poor was increasingly replaced by the lower class and from the problems of the poor to the fertile terrain of deviance and crime.
Another was a shift of the sociological interest away from the lower to the middle class – an area where research funds were abundant and which was more suitable for survey research that was fast becoming the preferred method in sociology.
The sociological interest in poverty rekindled during the 1960s, when poverty was rediscovered in USA.
But after the failure of anti-poverty agenda of 1960s, in USA and fall of the modernization paradigm, sociologists gradually retreated from poverty studies as well as from development studies. The field was largely taken over by economists.
Most of the sociologists engaged in poverty studies mainly focused on policy research. In 1972, the editors of the Penguin reader on poverty found that sociology of poverty did not exist because there was very little theoretical or conceptual analysis of the phenomenon.
According to Jordan, there are two broad traditions of poverty discourse in the West that has taken shape and crystallised over a period of more than two hundred years.
The first is the Anglo-Saxon liberal tradition and the second is the continental mercantilist tradition. MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
The Anglo-Saxon-liberal tradition focuses on the ‘competitive interaction under scarcity and the nature of collective action that it gives rise to.
The continental mercantilist tradition has been preoccupied with harnessing human resources for enrichment of the state. The poor are like sheep and cattle to be farmed for the glory of the rich.
Development economics has traditionally been as much as concerned with the study of resource allocation mechanism harbouring large scale poverty, as it has been with the seeking to alter such mechanism in ways that would enable people to lift themselves out of poverty.
If public policy has loomed large in the subject, so has positive analysis of poverty. Investing in the eradication of poverty in America would increase the resources of each nonlow-income American household by an average of more than $18,000 a year, equivalent to a wage increase of more than 30%.
Eliminating the indirect costs of poverty in the simplest way-directly raising incomes to a low but decent level (60% of current median income) – would return almost four times the investment.
In other words, the annual cost of eliminating poverty would be no more than about a quarter of the annual savings for the average non-low income family thouseholds with more than $60,000 annual income)
Poverty Related ‘Other’ Concepts
Poverty is usually measured as either absolute or relative poverty (the latter being actually an index of income inequality). MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
Absolute poverty refers to a set standard which is consistent over time and between countries.
An example of an absolute measurement would be the percentage of the population eating less food than is required to sustain the human body (approximately 2000-2500 calories per day for an adult male).
Relative poverty views poverty as socially defined and dependent on social context, hence relative poverty is a measure of income inequality.
Usually, relative poverty is measured as the percentage of population with income less than some fixed proportion of median income.
There are several other different income inequality metrics, for example, the Gini coefficient or the Theil Index.
Poor is needy, indigent, necessitous, straitened, destitute, penniless, poverty-stricken person. MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
Poor, impecunious, impoverished, penniless refer to those lacking money. Poor is the simple term for the condition of lacking means to obtain the comforts of life.
Social exclusion refers to lack of participation in society and emphasises the multi-dimensional, multi-layered, and dynamic nature of the problem. It includes-Lack of participation, Multi-dimensional, Dynamic Multi-layered.
Chronic hunger is defined as long-term hunger caused by endemic problems of availability and access, rather than by temporary emergencies.
Famine is severe and prolonged hunger in a substantial proportion of the population of a region or country, resulting in widespread and acute malnutrition and death by starvation and disease. MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
Famines usually last for a limited time, ranging from a few months to a few years. They cannot continue indefinitely, if for no other reason than that the affected population would eventually be decimated.
GDP is a popular method used to measure income and output of a particular country. It is also known as GDI or Gross Domestic Income.
It has been defined as aggregate worth, in a market, of all finished goods and services that are produced at a particular point in time. Period of time taken for GDP calculations is a calendar year.MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
GDP is also regarded as sum of value that is added at each and every stage of production. It is also known as aggregate value of every finished good and services that are produced within a certain period of time in a particular state.
It is normally expressed in terms of money. Over years, gross domestic product has been an important indicator of economic welfare of any particular country.
GDP is different from GNP or gross national product as in gross national product includes net foreign income in its calculations, instead of net imports or exports.
GDP is more regional or geographic compared to GNP while GNP focuses on nations.
Q. 7. Define political party. What purpose do political parties serve in a democratic polity?
Ans. The prevalence of well-organised political parties leaves scarcely any scope for independent thought and action. An individual may be the best-qualified candidate, but if he is not a favourite of the party bosses’ he stands no chance at the elections.
Even the party candidates require constant ‘whipping in the legislatures. I do not mean to suggest that the modern party system does not have merits at all.
It is quite useful in educating the electorate on specific issues of national importance. But it niust be admitted that modern parties have grown too rigid and crystallised.
In the words of AR Lord, the party system seems to be too mechanical a method of dividing opinion to represent the popular will with any approach to exaetness.
Our present electoral methods writes HG Wells, Fislamere caricature of representative government”. “It has produced upon both sides of the Atlantic, big, stupid, and corrupt party machines. MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
The process of discussions in the legislatures has become wholly unreal, the result of every important debate being almost a foregone conclusion dictated by the ruling party.
The so-called representative parliaments are, therefore, fast falling into public contempt as mere ‘talking shops.
A political party is a political organisation that seeks to attain political power within a government, usually by participating in electoral campaigns.
Parties often espouse a certain ideology and vision, but may also represent a coalition among disparate interests. MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
This is more common after elections using proportional representation rather than a “first past the post” system.
In 1891, Engels commented: “Look at the Paris Commune. That was the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.”
Marx, in The Civil War in France, described it as follows: “The Commune was formed of municipal councillors, chosen by universal suffrage in the various wards of the town, responsible and revocable at short terms.
The majority of its members were naturally working men, or acknowledged representatives of the working class.” MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
Far from being the instrument of a single revolutionary party, the Commune’s elected representatives were from several different parties.
A more descriptive term for the regime favoured by Marx and Engels would be workers’ democracy.
The problem of parties as an enemy of democracy was raised by German sociologist Robert Michels. MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
Michels argued that an institutionalised political party or labour union gets captured by its bureaucracy- the local and regional full-time officials, who choose each other and are motivated to maintain the perquisites of office, power, and high status, and therefore develop ways of thinking and policy positions which are different from those of the party’s rank-and-file.
This was Michels’ “Iron Law of Oligarchy,” and it especially affected labour parties. In the U.S., the Progressive Movement included systematic efforts to break the party’s internal system and give more power to the voters.
Thus candidates were selected by primary elections open to all voters rather than small groups meeting in party caucuses. California in particular drastically weakened the internal structure of parties, 1910-1970.
Joseph Schumpeter, an American economist, argued in Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy that democracy in complex polities can exist, but only as a system in which the populace, the electorate, can choose between alternative candidates for office, i.e., among parties competing for office. MPS 04 Free Solved Assignment
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