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Governments in Transition

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  1. Governments in Transition Moving toward democracy from the right and the left

  2. Authoritarianism • Authoritarian implies: of, relating to, or favoring a concentration of power in a leader or an elite not constitutionally responsible to the people(Franco’s Spain may be one example).

  3. And Totalitarianism • As a political system, authoritarianism is antidemocratic in that political power is concentrated in a leader or small elite not constitutionally responsible to those governed. It differs from totalitarianism in that authoritarian governments usually lack a guiding ideology, tolerate some pluralism in social organization, lack the power to mobilize the whole population in pursuit of national goals, and exercise their power within relatively predictable limits. (The USSR)

  4. We will concentrate on Authoritarian Left Wing Systems • Especially the former USSR and “Soviet-type” Eastern and Central European Countries and the Balkans.

  5. What is Communism? • A system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy, and a single, often authoritarian, government holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people. The State owns and controls the means of production and distribution. It is a state-driven form of social engineering through economics.

  6. Cadres So, the public administration is overtly politicized, and is rewarded for loyalty. As the system tolerates no opposition, they are also part of the “Control Structure” • The “administration” of such a system is generally referred to as the “Cadre” system. • A cadre is a tightly knit group of zealots who are active in advancing the interests of a revolutionary party (which, under Marxism-Leninism, Communism is)

  7. Transition • Former Communist states are receiving a lot of “help” from us in making their transition to democracy. • We concentrate on the political and economic systems, and tend to forget about the public administration. • But this is what the public sees and deals with on a daily basis. It delivers democracy.

  8. Interesting Fact • In turning to the democracies for help in the transition, almost none of the former Communist states turned to the US for assistance on draftting a Constitution. • This is one more piece of evidence that the “One true American way” is not everyone’s way any more.

  9. Provenance Can I help you? • You cannot reform something you do not fully understand. • The bureaucracy of the Communist system is too easily seen as just a machine carrying out orders. But, the system gives it several characteristics that must be recognized and dealt with.

  10. Remember this • In a transition, you inherit the bureaucracy intact, and you had better understand how it works, how it was chosen, and what it thinks its role is. • First, let’s summarize the system that created the bureaucracy.

  11. Communism • It is based on a monopoly of political power, and monopolistic control of economic assets. • It takes over the functions of supply, demand, market and price. • Since it owns and controls the means of production and distribution, it needs to make all the decisions otherwise made by the market. • This requires everything to be planned, and centrally-planned at that.

  12. The fight against corruption is one of the biggest challenges facing former Communist states. (Georgia) Accountability • The only accountability is to the Party, not the people • Therefore, loyalty is greatly prized, and loyal (rather than necessarily capable) people are promoted. • Loyalty is also part of the control function. • Monopoly brings power and power provides the basis for corruption.

  13. Other Market Factors • There is, within these non-Market economy systems, no unemployment because jobs are created for reasons other than the need of the market. • Prices are totally controlled and, again, bear no relation to supply and demand except through the functioning of the “Black Market.”

  14. But, remember this • That same system, so disliked by many intellectuals, brought a remarkable degree of security to the citizen. • No unemployment, stable currency, stable prices, reliable pensions, good education (if ideologically slanted), cheap and available housing and food supplies. • It simply did not provide for dissent or consumerism.

  15. Incentives? • There is no monetary incentive system, so the “rewards” have to come through some sort of social recognition. • The “Black Market” brought more tangible rewards, and reflected the “real” value of things that were in short supply because the market did not function.

  16. Perspective • Hobbesian World View preventing exploitation of labor by capital, and the welfare of the individual is through the welfare of the state. The state is supreme in all things. • It is “perfect” thus no need for opposition (reactionary elements). Change is evil. Under threat from Capitalism, so ever vigilant (totalitarian control).

  17. Why Did Communism Fail? • Not accountable, so impersonal • Monopolistic, so potential for corruption, and miserable quality • Loyalty replaces ability—becomes cynical • Obsession with dogma and procedures • Almost totally centralized, remote. • Rightness of system leads to cynical posturing—alienation of people • Stresses conformity and procedures

  18. Problems for Transition 1 • The inherited bureaucracy has been selected and advanced for all the things we just mentioned, most of which were overtly undemocratic • Putting the fox in charge of the henhouse • Democracy stresses local government, the cadre system was totally centralized

  19. Problems for Transition 2 • Obstructionism was important because it created the barriers that provided the opportunity for corruption. Nobody expects the bureaucracy to facilitate anything. • The system was totally politicized, and now has to be depoliticized, even though it was selected for its loyalty to the former system. • The issue of psychosis.

  20. Compounding the Problem So, there may be an expectation that bureaucracy is, by its very nature, bad. That will be hard to overcome. • The “curse of bureaucracy” often extended back much further than the last regime to practice it. • Soviet bureaucracy was simply a co-opting of the previous Tsarist system. • People come to believe that the bureaucracy is, by definition, always bad.

  21. Technical Assistance • Transition countries have looked for “models” to follow. Poland took France. • Technical Assistance always totally ignores the political dimension, stressing “technical-type” skills which make a bad system more efficiently bad. • People obstructive because their sources for milking the system are being dried up.

  22. Reform 1 • New basis of training and education for the “next generation” of bureaucrats. • Natural tendency to focus on neutral technology, which it is not. Remember: from “bad” to “efficiently bad.” • Problem: salaries in the private sector are much lower. • The Transition countries should share experiences with each other as well as with the “West.”

  23. Reform 2 • You could not indict the entire civil service as being corrupted, mainly because there was no other civil service to replace it. • You could declare the former system bad, and acknowledge that there are good people in it. • Set professional standards and give everyone a set time to match these standards.