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Chapter 2. Comparative Politics: Structures and Choices 2e By Lowell Barrington. Economic Class, Development, Systems and Globalization. Learning Objectives. Define key terms such as class, economic development, and globalization.

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Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Comparative Politics: Structures and Choices 2e

By Lowell Barrington

Economic Class, Development, Systems

and Globalization

Learning objectives

Learning Objectives

  • Define key terms such as class, economic development, and globalization.

  • Describe the social and cultural changes that accompany economic development.

  • Discuss globalization, its role in economic development, and whether it helps or hurts the poor around the world.

Learning objectives cont d

Learning Objectives (cont’d)

  • Describe the class structures, level of economic development, role of the government in the economy, and degree of globalization in the Topic in Countries cases.

  • Explain the arguments that globalization (1) strengthens states, (2) weakens states, or (3) has mixed effects.

Chapter 2

Class and Class Structure

Class – many definitions

an individual’s wealth and/or income

occupation, status, property ownership, and the resulting relationships people have

a large group of individuals with comparable social and economic attributes and, as a result, broadly similar lifestyles and future life chances

Mode and Means of Production

Chapter 2

Class and Class Structure


Working class

Middle class (old and new)



Measuring Class and Poverty

Class Structure

Think and discuss

If class structure is related to inequality, how can some countries, including the United States, have such a large middle class and yet such high levels of wealth concentration?

Think and Discuss

Class and class structure

Class and Class Structure

  • Class Consciousness and Its Decline

    • Individuals become aware of their location in a particular class,

    • Develop a sense of solidarity, and

    • Deem important the relationship between their class and other classes.

Think and discuss1

In the United States, to what extent is a person’s class determined at birth by the class of the family? To what extent is class the result of effort? How representative is the United States on this point compared with other countries around the world?

Think and Discuss

Economic development

Economic Development

  • Economic Growth and Prosperity

    • GDP, GDP per capita, and GDP per capita-PPP

    • Human Development Index (HDI)

  • Types of Countries Based on Economic Development

    • Economically developed countries (EDCs)

    • Lesser developed countries (LDCs)

    • Least developed of the lesser developed countries (LLDCs)

    • Newly industrialized countries (NICs)

Cits and emerging markets

CITS and Emerging Markets

  • Countries in transition (CITs)

    • The post-Communist states

    • Some see them as justifying their own development category

  • Emerging markets

    • The LDCs and CITs most desirable to foreign investors

    • Include the “Topic in Country” cases of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS)

Economic development1

Economic Development

  • The “Resource Curse”

    • The tendency for developing countries to focus on extracting only certain valuable resources while ignoring broader economic development

    • Seen in many oil producing countries, including Nigeria

The economic system government involvement in the economy

The Economic System: Government Involvement in the Economy

  • Free Market Capitalism

    • Capitalism - based on private ownership of property with business and economic activity taking place within the market

    • Free-market capitalism - minimal government regulation of the economy and little social welfare spending

  • Socialism

    • Opposite of ideal free-market capitalism

The economic system government involvement in the economy1

The Economic System: Government Involvement in the Economy

  • Mixed Systems

    • Labor-led capitalism

      • Welfare state

    • State-led capitalism

      • Private ownership and individual decision making

      • Mercantilism

  • Economic Globalization

    • Foreign direct investment (FDI)

Topic in countries

The United Kingdom

Visible class differences, more identify as working class than in the United States

Highly developed economically, most prosperous TIC case

Largely capitalist with significant social welfare protections

Less economically globalized (esp. less global trade) than one would think

Topic in Countries

Topic in countries1


Large middle class, different class structures between its east and west

Comparatively late and rapid industrialization; impressive post-WWII growth

Social market economy (SME) – capitalist with a conservative corporatist welfare state

Like UK, trade is limited and concentrated with other European Union states

Topic in Countries

Topic in countries2


Large lower class underclass; significant inequality; middle class small compared to those of EDCs but continuing to grow

Variable growth since independent, but recent growth rates are impressive

Privatization is controversial, special economic zones spawn debate

Low levels of economic globalization, but command of English among many in the population makes increased globalization likely but there are political constraints

Topic in Countries

Topic in countries3


Visible middle class; sharp divisions between wealthiest and poorest

Emerging market; success tied to oil prices; north more prosperous than south

Economy has a moderate level of government involvement. Drug violence in country limits growth.

Levels of globalization have improved since NAFTA

Topic in Countries

Globalization weak state versus strong state theories and the case of mexico s adoption of nafta

The “Race to the Bottom”

Weak state theories contend that globalization limits states’ abilities to tax, spend, and regulate

Result is a “race to the bottom” to attract multinational corporations

Mixed results in the case of Mexico and its adoption of NAFTA in 1994

Globalization, Weak State versus Strong State Theories, and the Case of Mexico’s Adoption of NAFTA

Topic in countries4


Emerging middle class, but severe economic inequality

Rapid economic growth post-WWII, then downturn; debt crisis in the 1980s

Massive public debt ties Brazil to the IMF and its policies, widespread corruption exists

Significant trade barriers limit economic globalization

Topic in Countries

Topic in countries5


Vast majority of population lives in extreme poverty, very small middle class

Per capita, one of the poorest countries in the world; vulnerable to oil price fluctuations

Economy is free-market, but far from ideal

Economically globalized because of oil-related FDI, but political instability impacts its economy

Topic in Countries

In theory and practice nigeria and dependency theory

Nigeria and Dependency Theory

Dependency theory is a challenge to modernization theory

It contends that LDCs are kept poor by EDCs through LDCs’ dependence on EDCs

Predicts continuation of poverty, corruption, and fragile democracy (at best) in LDCs

Appears to work well in explaining the case of Nigeria

In Theory and PracticeNigeria and Dependency Theory

Topic in countries6


Small middle class; small but visible upper class (“new Russians”) since 1990s

Economic collapse in late Soviet and early post-Soviet periods, dependent on high price of oil for GDP growth

Economy is fragile and dependant on oil profits

Capitalism operates along with state power, political shakedowns are common

Limited globalization; inefficient industry hindered by corruption and weak “rule of law”

Topic in Countries

Topic in countries7


Noticeable economic inequality; urban areas much wealthier than rural; small but growing middle class

Significant growth since 1970s; per capita statistics well behind those of EDCs

Retains state intervention in the economy

Relatively high levels of economic globalization; has yet to encourage “political globalization”

Topic in Countries

In theory and practice modernization theory and its application to china

Modernization Theory

Modernization theory contends that economic development follows stages, LDCs can use EDCs as a model, and economic development has social and political consequences.

Theory is supported by development in the NICs in recent decades

Theory predicts future consequences, including democratization, for China

In Theory and PracticeModernization Theory and Its Application to China

Modernization theory

Modernization Theory

  • Emerges from two idea sources

    • Weber’s idea of “traditional versus modern”

    • Spencer’s idea of “Social evolution” in which societies evolve in stages of increasing complexity

  • Combined into a theory of the stages of growth

    • All societies alike in the traditional stage and would come through the same set of changes that had led the west to the modern stage.

    • Rostow articulates the theory of economic takeoff – in which self sustained growth involved 5 stages of development from traditional to modern:

      • Traditional – agricultural, non technological

      • Pre-conditions for take-off – external demand for raw materials initiates economic change; commercial agriculture develops; technology emerges; social structures begin to change; individual social mobility begins to occur; national identity developed (idea of shared economic interest)

      • Take-off – leading manufacturing sectors increase rationalization and scale of operations for domestic and export markets; secondary producers expand (textiles are usually first).

      • Drive to maturity – industrial base diversification, transportation infrastructure expansion, social structure investment.

      • Modern – urban industrialized – age of mass consumption. The industrial base dominates the primary sector (ag), consumers able to afford high value goods (cars), consumers have additional income beyond what is necessary for needs.

Topic in countries8


Middle class, particularly in urban areas; large and class-conscious working class and underclass

High birthrate not matched by economic development; struggles due to Iran-Iraq War in 1980s

Government is reducing its role in regulation, but economic reform is slow, investment in the energy sector is needed

Scored lowest in globalization of the 72 countries ranked by A.T. Kearney

Topic in Countries

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