Hearts and Minds Political Culture, Ideology, and Good Government
I. Social Capital: Putnam’s Theory of Civic Culture • Defining Social Capital: • Coleman (1988): “Social capital is defined by its function. It is not a single entity but a variety of different entities, with two elements in common: they all consist of some aspect of social structures, and they facilitate certain actions of actors-whether persons or corporate actors-within the structure. Like other forms of capital, social capital is productive, making possible the achievement of certain ends that in its absence would not be possible.” • Putnam (2000): “…social capital refers to connections among individuals – social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that come from them.”
B. Origins of Social Capital • Putnam’s experiment: Italy: 15 identical regional governments situated in different economic and cultural contexts. Did they perform differently? If so, why?
a. Political-Economic Performance in Italy • Performance has been quite varied. Government in the North = good; government in the South = not so good. • Institutions are the same but performance varies. WHY?
b. Competing hypotheses regarding the difference between North and South • Hypothesis 1: Economic development. The North is rich, the South is poor. • Hypothesis 2: Culture. Civic culture is high in the North, low in the South.
c. Explanations for the difference between the North and the South? • Putnam: Hypothesis 2 (Culture) better explains Italian history • Why? Because the cultural differences observed in Northern Italy emerged first, before the economic differences, and long before the political ones.
2. The historical sources of civic culture in Italy • Medieval Italy: a time of great violence and anarchy. Insecurity was a constant fact of life. • In the South: the solution was to strengthen the power of the king, who could then secure the area. • In the North: the solution was self-governance and mutual aid and defense.
The historical origins . . . • These different solutions had a long-lasting impact on the cultural traditions of the areas. A rich “associational life” flourished in the North, atrophied in the South. • Furthermore, these cultural traditions emerged well before economic differences became entrenched. • Thus, culture preceded politics and economics.
3. What about America? Theory: Slavery and segregation intended to destroy social capital long-term effects (path dependence, just like Italy)
C. Putnam’s Theory of Associational Effects on Politics and the Economy 1. Rich associational life (“social capital”) Solves collective action problems. • Rich associational life means people interact repeatedly with one another, which helps them identify and punish free-riders. • Rich associational life also promotes “norms of reciprocity.”
D. Putnam’s Fear: The Decline of American Social Capital • Associational life is decreasing: people no longer form cross-cutting associations
D. Putnam’s Fear: The Decline of American Social Capital • Associational life is decreasing: people no longer form cross-cutting associations • Interest in politics has also decreased • Social trust has decreased
D. Putnam’s Fear: The Decline of American Social Capital • Associational life is decreasing: people no longer form cross-cutting associations • Interest in politics has also decreased • Social trust has decreased • Generational change Continued loss of civic life
E. Putnam’s Villains1. TV (In Other Societies: War, Policies, Poverty, etc)
2. Diversity and Immigration • Thesis of assigned reading • Note the difference between “anomie” and conflict lack of trust is not the same as hostility or violence • Unresolved question: Can the problem be “fixed,” i.e. is pluralism possible? Putnam’s research stops here.
E. Objections and Limitations • Cooperation might be good or bad for democracy. (Associational groupings contributed to Hitler’s rise). Liberalism: good government is founded on distrust! • Group politics can be inefficient: Mancur Olson fears “distributional” groups in place of “encompassing” groups • Measurement issues make “social capital” difficult to incorporate in predictions (can be circular) • Institutions can produce/reduce trust – difficult to apply theory to different systems
II. Communitarianism: Is Individualism “Western?” • “Confucianism” and “Asian Values” • General argument: Eastern societies see people as part of an organic whole (society)
US Cold Warriors on Asia “By tradition and preference Asiatic people turn to authoritarian government. In contrast with us, they lack historical experience of liberty and and personal experience of individualism…They are particularly susceptible to the seizure of political power by force or assassination and to the concealed aggression of communism.” NSC 48, 31 August draft
II. Communitarianism: Is Individualism “Western?” • “Confucianism” and “Asian Values” • General argument: Eastern societies see people as part of an organic whole (society) • Specific arguments: Rejection of self-expression and individual profit in favor of social stability and teamwork. Economic rights favored over political rights – positive vs. negative freedoms.
3. Example: Lee Kuan Yew • Authoritarian leader of Singapore
Lee Kuan Yew on Social Discipline “I have enumerated in several of my talks what I consider to be the three basic essentials for successful transformation of any society. First, a determined leadership, an effective determined leadership; two, an administration which is efficient; and three, social discipline…If you don’t get social discipline, everybody does what he likes to do, or will not bustle about what he is told to do.” (cited in Barr, 2000, p. 316)
Lee on social order and democracy “We would be foolish to try and beguile ourselves with unsophisticated phrases of democracy and liberty and human rights and freedom, while we go down the drain.” (cited in Barr, 2000, p. 323)
Lee on development and democracy “…A country must first have economic development, then democracy may follow. With a few exceptions, democracy has not brought good government to new developing countries. Democracy has not led to development because the governments did not establish stability and discipline necessary for development.” (cited in Barr, 2000, p. 324)
B. Evidence: Economic Values • Do Eastern societies emphasize teamwork and corporate effort over individualism and profit?
2. Personal Economic Values? • Dentsu survey (1997-1998): Japan, China, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Bombay (Asians), United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, and the United States (New York City). • Respondents asked to evaluate the relative importance of nine attributes • "financial wealth“ – NO SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE • "acquiring high-quality goods“– NO SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE • "family relationships“ – Asians value more • "success in work“– NO SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE • "mental relaxation“– NO SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE • "leisure activity“ – Westerners value more • "living for the present“– NO SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE • "striving to achieve personal goals“– NO SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE • "having good relationships with others." – NO SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE
C. Evidence: Politics • 1994 Survey of 100 Asians, comparison to larger US group: • Asians more likely to list orderly society as very important goal for society • Americans more likely to list protecting personal freedom
C. Evidence: Politics • 1994 Survey of 100 Asians, comparison to larger US group: • Asians more likely to list orderly society as very important goal for government • Americans more likely to list protecting personal freedom • But….