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Social Policy. Within states Between states. Pettigrew’s analysis of social dilemmas. Social dilemmas are one basis for the need for social policy Individuals are motivated to act in ways with disastrous consequences socially. E.g. to use violence in a way that destroys the rule of law

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Social policy l.jpg

Social Policy

Within states

Between states


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Pettigrew’s analysis of social dilemmas

  • Social dilemmas are one basis for the need for social policy

  • Individuals are motivated to act in ways with disastrous consequences socially.

    • E.g. to use violence in a way that destroys the rule of law

    • Or to use resources in a way that destroys the environment



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Invisible Fists

  • When the unintended consequences for others are negative, invisible fists operate.

  • Each person’s pursuit of a goal frustrates everyone else, so that everyone is worse off.

  • The paradox of gun-buying is that everyone buys guns in order to be more secure,

    • but the result is that everyone is less secure.

  • Or everyone tries to live in a comfortably integrated neighborhood,

    • leading to complete segregation.


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The tragedy of the commons

  • The classic case is ecological disaster.

  • In the medieval village, each person had their own plots for gardens, but the cows were pastured on the commons.

  • When there was plenty of land in the public commons, and few cows, cow feed cost no one anything, and the cows improved the commons.

  • With more people, the commons becomes smaller and there are more cows. Each person is tempted to overgraze the commons, to enclose more land from it, and to get more cows.

  • Leading to exhaustion of the common land.


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Individual solutions fail in the absence of public policy

  • Even if each individual see exactly what is going on, and even if s/he wishes to act in the public good, s/he cannot.

  • If everyone else is encroaching on the public land, for an individual to avoid doing so will just mean that his cows, and then his family starves quicker.

  • In a drought, if everyone else is using water, failing to water your garden will not change that. It is really true that : “What I do will make little difference.”


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Conditions of Invisible Fists

  • When the unintended consequences for others of independent individual choices are negative, then the invisible fist operates

  • Under those circumstances, one does want to interfere with individual choices.

  • Each person’s pursuit of self-interest prevents anyone from achieving their goals.

  • Invisible fists will operate when:

    • There are “externalities”

    • There are positive feedbacks.


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Invisible fists from earlier in the course

  • The sacred cow: M. Harris, if each peasant in India acted according to individual rationality, the outcome would be the exhaustion of the soil and famine.

  • Tipping points: Individual housing choices may lead to a segregated outcome desired by no-one or almost no one.

  • Limited differences: Everyone in an organizational system may be acting in a race-neutral or gender-neutral motives, but the system may eliminate all blacks or women


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Regulation

Change the payoffs of the behaviors to individuals

Change the results of the behaviors to the society

Change the long term outcomes

Strengthen communities.

Decentralize the structure

Pettigrew’s remedies for social dilemmas


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Questions of policy

  • To what degree is it possible to change conditions such as those in 187, the Code of the Streets, The Saints and the Roughnecks, race or gender inequality?

  • What policies are relevant?

  • How effective are public policies?

  • What are their costs?

  • What are the costs of no public policy?


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Systems and unintended consequences

  • In a system any action (or fail to act) has proliferating consequences.

  • Only a tiny fraction of those consequences can be intended.

  • The investigation of unintended consequences is always one of the central motivations of social science.


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Forbid more cows

Increased fees for increased cows

Expand the Commons

Fertilize the commons

Increase village autonomy

Divide the commons into common fields for sets of villagers.

Examples in the case of the commons.


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Example of SARs and Health care

  • While we have been occupied with the World Trade Center and Iraq, a new pathogen has appeared that may kill tens of millions of people in a pandemic.

  • Deaths have increased exponentially and the airborne disease is now firmly established in 37 states of the USA.

  • The USA has a relatively undeveloped public health system.


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Restrict right of doctors and hospitals to not treat.

Make it worth while to deliver health care to the poor.

Provide public payment.

Create and fund a public health care system.

Create an orientation to public health.

Form health maintainance organizations.

Possible Responses


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Social dilemmas in the sphere of international relations

  • The pattern of war and world war in the capitalist world system is troubling

  • In the past, these period of world conflagration have been generated by power vacuums.

  • Most countries in the world doubt:

    • The doctrine of pre-emptive strike

    • Any Iraq – Al-Quaeda connection

    • The weapons of mass destruction rationale


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World systems Theories

  • radicalized the dependency perspective,

  • arguing that when the core societies (Holland, France, England, Spain) first came in contact with the peripheral societies (Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia) their standard of living and level of development was roughly equal to those they conquered.

  • A single exploitative process produced development of the core and underdevelopment of the periphery.


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The Capitalist World System

Domination Exploitation


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Movement within the world system

  • World systems theorists note that some societies (US, Japan ) have moved up into the core.

    • They suggest that the societies were those that could prevent domination by core powers and that could exert domination over peripheral ones.

  • And other societies (e.g. Spain ) have slipped down into the semiperiphery or periphery

    • Specifically societies that could not hold onto their colonies and booty militarily were de-developed.

    • It is an exploitative system

    • Every society can’t develop any more than everyone can go to medical school and become a doctor


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The World-systems Critique

  • Wallerstein says that to understand change in the world today you have to see that the main process is not modernization,

  • but a capitalist core exploiting a periphery,

  • That this process is one of struggle, inequality and domination between core and periphery,

  • which, periodically, bursts into world wars between the core powers.


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4 War peaks every 100 yrs.

  • 1610-40; 1705-09; 1800-15; 1914-45

  • Were mostly driven by power vacuums.


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The “Quiz”

1. The anti-war movement supports our troops by urging that they be brought home immediately so they neither kill nor get killed in a unjust war. How has the Bush administration shown its support for our troops?

2. The anti-war movement believes that patriotism means urging our country to do what is right. How do Bush administration officials define patriotism?

3. The Bush administration has accused Saddam Hussein of lying regarding his weapons of mass destruction. Which of the following might be considered less than truthful?

4. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleisher stormed out of a press conference when the assembled reporters broke into laughter after he declared that the U.S. would never try to bribe members of the UN. What should Fleisher have said to defend himself?

5. George Bush has declared that "we have no fight with the Iraqi people." What could he have cited as supporting evidence?


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The “Quiz” cont.

6. The Bush administration has touted the many nations that are part of the "coalition of the willing." Which of the following statements about this coalition is true?

7. The war on Iraq is said to be part of the "war on terrorism." Which of the following is true?

8. The Bush administration says it is waging war to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Which of the following is true?

9. The Bush administration says it wants to bring democracy to Iraq and the Middle East. Which of the following is true?

10. Colin Powell cited as evidence of an Iraq-Al Qaeda link an audiotape from bin Laden in which he called Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party regime "infidels." Which of the following is more compelling evidence?


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