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Agenda & Lecture Notes
revised 24 Aug. 2010 by Jeremy
How can we compare countries?
how do we establish evidence about world political
Challenges of comparative Government
(Lecture given impromptu in class
24 Aug. 2010, varies from the previous one below.)
There are significant challenges in making comparisons:
What countries should we include in our sample?
all countries in UN?
all countries that are functioning nation states?
(Excluding failed states?)
all countries that are liberal democracies?
All authoritarian dictatorships?
all rich countries (pick level of income)?
all countries that have president instead of prime
all countries with multi-party systems?
all countries that are oil producing?
Should we pick countries to illuminate contrasts
-- or comparisons?
Can we usefully compare US with Russia? UK with Saudi
Arabia? Saudi with Iran?
Should we pick countries similar in most respects
in order to isolate one contrasting factor?
By what objective, neutral standard should we judge
Why can't foreigners be more like us?
World Series or World Cup?
UN, World Bank, other international institutions?
PISA test of 17 year olds' education?
what subjects are universal languages?
Should comparison really be among nation states?
regions of the world?
the clash of cultures?
nations or peoples -- not the governments they suffer?
political concepts and terms?
Approaches to comparison
I. Choose units.
II. Turn from Statics to Dynamics?
Cultures (using surveys): stable over long term
Informal institutions (groups, parties, corporations)
Institutions of nation states (formal rules, demographics,
International Organizations: UN, IMF, World Bank,
International Court, NAFTA.
Non-Governmental Organizations: Corporations, FDI,
non-profits. (Shell v Greenpeace.)
Supranational organizations: EU?
Nation States: universalized by 1648 Treaty of Westphalia,
a response to terrible 30 years' war -- but now declining?
III. How to measure?
Look at change over time
Look at pressures within and between political systems
power versus influence
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OECD, Economist, UN, academic sources -- more available
LatinoBarometro, Eurobarometer opinion polls
by income, values, government programs, economic,
social and human indicators
Requires consistent definitions, data gathering, translation
The State and Economic Interest Groups
(ties to Crepaz and Steiner book)
Concept of State:
apparatus, bureaucrats, norms, values
Civil servants highly educated and prestigious
Interests of the Realm -- expect to be
consulted, if responsible in behavior
Pluralism of interest groups found in Europe
-- e.g. lobbying Commission.
Corporatism: formal cooperation of State with
business and trade unions.
Codetermination: German unions on Boards,
Swedish unions share profits, democratic workplace.
Trade Unions founded SDP and Labour parties,
national organizations in UK and Germany -- and leaders may sit in assembly
Professional unions -- including civil
Employers' confederations, e.g. CBI
Mediaeval Guilds were wealthy, prestigious,
Wanderjahr system among old German
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[see also nationalism]
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Policy process and outcomes
Culture and institutions as filters for policy
which government -- and strong or weak
Fiscal bureaucracy (Treasury)
Inequality - Gini index
Welfare state services:
health, assistance, pensions, unemployment
Is national system or federal/state system more
efficient in service delivery?
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profile of Italy: History, political structures, political forces
World Factbook: Italy
Lewis travel album, 2007
Apennines a barrier up length of country, communications
Alps cut off Italy from European plate, aided defense
Coastal trade is historic advantage. Marco Polo
and silk route; spice route; fabric dyeing in northern ports
Region and religion more important than party differences.
Presence of Vatican city within Rome
Northern League now represents urban, developed section
against backward, rural southerners.
Italy created somewhat like Germany, in C19th: Garibaldi's
Myths of glorious Empire in past
Constitutional monarchy evolved under Victor Emmanuel,
until discredited post WW2
Like Germany, founded democracy amid destruction
Mussolini's Fascisti found power
1924, unlike Nazis -- but never as racist and never in full control.
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minor empire recreated in Abysinia
levelled poor quarter to make ceremonial route for
did Il Duce really make the trains run on time?
partisans controlled Sicily and south, plus Po valley
Vatican made concordat with Nazis but sheltered
US cut deal with mafia to help liberate south from
Germans, Lucky Luciano returned from Vegas
Liberation northwards was difficult, because of defensible
terrain (Anzio, Monte Cassino)
final push in north was helped by partisans
Mussolini and Clara riddled with bullets, hanged upside
Postwar US intervention: Amb. Claire Booth Luce supported
Christian Democrats with covert funding.
CDs ruled 1947-1990s.
musical chairs cabinets, reshuffles every 3 months
patron and faction system
corruption spread, notably to universities
nonetheless, stability of ministers over 40 years
eager Europeans, benefitting from regional subsidies
Euro an improvement over Lira
development of tourism, efforts to save Venice
PCI (Left) and later Olive Tree coalition, found two
Challenges to CDs in 1980s-1990s
Control of Northern cities, youthful and relatively
efficient in services, free of corruption
Magistrate judges, motivated to tackle the mafia and
CD party nexus
PCI won elections in northern cities on grounds of
efficiency, clean government
1990s clean hands campaign in south, by young leftist
Magistrates indicted much of assembly
Constitutional reform introduces partial FPTP elections
Silvio Berlusconi's conservative party, wins PM -
and when indicted for corruption, escapes via changes in law
immigrants from Albania provoke some backlash
2000s, continued problems with Berlusconi, continued
issues with immigrants
Financial meltdown 2008 caught Italy with excess debt,
yet too big economy to let fail.
But life is still good
Italians remain most popular people in European surveys
But Switzerland remains top dream for retirement