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1 Chapter 2 Government, Systems and Regimes. 2 Why classify political systems? 1. Classification is an essential aid to the understanding of politics.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Chapter 2 Government, Systems and Regimes. 2 Why classify political systems? 1. Classification is an essential aid to the understanding of politics."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Chapter 2 Government, Systems and Regimes

2 2 Why classify political systems? 1. Classification is an essential aid to the understanding of politics and government. As in most social sciences, understanding in politics is acquired largely through a process of comparison, particularly as experimental methods are generally inapplicable. The attempt to classify systems of rule is therefore merely a device for making the process of comparison more methodical and systematic. 2. It is to facilitate evaluation rather than analysis.

3 3 All systems of classification have their drawbacks. In the first place, as with all analytical devices, there is a danger of simplification. Second, value biases tend to intrude into the classification process.

4 4 Classical typologies TyrannyOligarchyDemocracy MonarchyAristocracyPolity One PersonThe FewThe Many Who rules? Rulers All Who benefits? Aristotles six forms of government

5 5 The three worlds typology A capitalist first world (in 1983, these countries generated 63% of the worlds GDP while only having 15% of the worlds population) A communist second world (the countries produced 19% of the worlds GDP with 33% of the worlds population. A developing third world (they produced 18% of the worlds GDP with 52% of the worlds population)

6 6 Regimes of the modern world Western polyarchies New democracies East Asian regimes Islamic regimes Military regimes

7 7 Polyarchy ( ) Its central features are as follows: Government is in the hands of elected officials. Elections are free and fair. Practically all adults have the right to vote. The right to run for office is unrestricted. There is free expression and a right to criticised and protest. Citizens have access to alternative sources of information. Groups and associations enjoy at least relative independence from government.

8 8 Western polyarchies ( ) Western polyarchies are broadly equivalent to regimes categorised as liberal democracies or even simply democracies. Their heartlands are therefore North America, western Europe and Australasia. Polyarchical regimes are distinguished by the combination of two general features. First, there is a relatively high tolerance of opposition that is sufficient at least to check the arbitrary inclinations of government. This is guaranteed in practice by a competitive party system, by institutionally guaranteed and protected civil liberties, and by a vigorous and healthy civil society.

9 9 Second, the opportunities for participating in politics should be sufficiently widespread to guarantee a reliable level of popular responsiveness. The crucial factor here is the existence of regular and competitive elections operating as a device through which the people can control and, if necessary, displace their rulers.

10 10 New democracies A third wave of democracies began, according to Huntington(1991), in it witnessed the overthrow of right-wing dictatorships in Greece, Portugal and Spain, the retreat of the generals in Latin America, and most significantly, the collapse of communism. The collapse of communism in the eastern European revolutions of unleashed a process of democratisation that drew heavily on the western liberal model.

11 11 The central features of this process were the adoption of multiparty elections and the introduction of market-based economic reforms. In that sense, it can be argued that most former communist regimes are undergoing a transition that will eventually make them indistinguishable from western polyarchies.

12 12 East Asian regimes The rise of East Asia in the late twentieth century may ultimately prove to be a more important world-historical event than the collapse of communism. Certainly, the balance of the worlds economy shifted markedly from the West to the East in this period. In the final two decades of the twentieth century, economic growth rates on the western rim of the Pacific Basin were between two or four times higher than those in the developed economies for Europe and North America.

13 13 Asian values Values that supposedly reflect the history, culture and religious backgrounds of Asian societies; examples include social harmony, respect for authority and a belief in the family. Confucianism: twin themes– human relations and the cultivation of the self.

14 14 East Asian regimes tend to have similar characteristics. First, they are orientated more around economic goals than around political ones. Their overriding priority is to boost growth and deliver prosperity, rather than to enlarge individual freedom in the western sense of civil liberty. This essentially practical concern is evident in the tiger economies of East and South East Asia, but it has also been demonstrated in the construction of a thriving market economy in China since the late 1970s, despite the survival there of monopolistic communist rule.

15 15 Cont. Second, there is broad support for strong government. Powerful ruling parties tend to be tolerated, and there is general respect for the state. Although, with low taxes and relatively low public spending, there is little room for the western model of the welfare state, there is nevertheless general acceptance that the state as a father figure should guide the decisions of private as well as public bodies, and draw up strategies for national development.

16 16 Cont. Third, this characteristic is accompanied by a general disposition to respect leaders because of the Confucian stress on loyalty, discipline and duty. From a western viewpoint, this invests East Asian regimes with an implicit, and sometimes explicit, authoritarianism. Finally, great emphasis is placed on community and social cohesion, embodied in the central role accorded to the family. group think tends to restrict the scope for the assimilation of ideas such as individualism and human rights, at least as these are understood in the West.

17 17 Theocracy ( ): literally rule by God is the principle that religious authority should prevail over political authority. A theocracy is therefore a regime in which government posts are filled on the basis of the persons position in the religious hierarchy. This contrasts with a secular state, in which political and religious positions are kept strictly separate.

18 18 Islamic regimes The rise of Islam as a political force has had a profound effect on politics in North Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia. Islam is not and never has been simply a religion. Rather, it is a complete way of life, defining correct moral, political and economic behaviour for individuals and nations alike. The way of Islam is based on the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as revealed in the Koran, regarded by all Moslems as the revealed word of God.

19 19 Military regimes Whereas most regimes are shaped by a combination of political, economic, cultural and ideological factors, some survive through the exercise, above all, of military power and systematic repression. In this sense, military regimes belong to a broader category of authoritarianism. Military authoritarianism has been most common in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia, but it also emerged in the post-1945 period in Spain, Portugal and Greece.

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