Without Labor Clout, Democracy is Constantly Drowned

Left: Professor                               Center: Student                              Right: Gadfly

  1. Let’s continue the structural inquiry,
  2.     With Capitalist Development and Democracy.[i]
  3. Comparative case studies across Latin America,
  4.    Europe, the Caribbean, and Central America;
  5.       Provide an approach to infer causal runs,
  6.       Associating democracy with economic development.
  7. Yes. The central finding,
  8. Determined that industrial capitalism does push,
  9. Democracy by cultivating the structural conditions,
  10. That strengthen the working class’s livelihood.
  11. The king eventually gave the power to the landowners;
  12.    The capitalists.
  13. The capitalists gave power to the working denizens;
  14.    But in each case, was this simply a gratuity,
  15.        Or a gift?
  16. Chuckles from the students.
  17. Sounds like the trickle down effect!
  18. The working and middle classes advance; because there was:
  19.    An unprecedented ability to organize,
  20.    Continuous urbanization that coincides,
  21.       With factory production and new forms of,
  22.           Communication and transportation.
  23. The professor felt compelled to digress:
  24. Everyone visualize twenty years from now…
  25.    How many more social networks will be formed,
  26.       From twenty years of global college graduates?
  27.           For in the 80 classes I’ll have taught—I’ll be reborn!
  28. Think about 20 years, then. When members reside,
  29.    In every country in this world—envision,
  30.      One thousand new professional, and online, associations.
  31.          How rapidly will the spread of information transcend?
  32. How many cultural transformations will societies have undertaken?!
  33. Perhaps I will see the day,
  34. When direct democracy reigns.
  35. No one took that hook,
  36. So the professor returned,
  37. To Rueschemeyer et al.’s book.
  38. There have been many divergences from Moore.
  39.    In this work, the bourgeois did contribute,
  40.      In taking power into a parliament, but,
  41.      The bourgeois society wanted to keep distinct,
  42.        From the lower class human beings,
  43.          And did not wish to further spread power; i.e.
  44.              Democracy.
  45.    Indeed, the bourgeois only accepted the lower class,
  46.      When their interests were guaranteed,
  47.           To not be smashed.
  48. Democratization, in these causal inferences, is conditional;
  49.    On the political structure and transition.
  50. For example, in Latin America the researchers uncover:
  51.    The economically dominant classes only accepted,
  52.    Democracy when the political interests,
  53.    Were effectively protected by large parties; whereas,
  54.       The parties are conservative or non-ideological,
  55.            When the bourgeois own their character!
  56. Aren’t these long-term political games,
  57. A historical record of compromise?
  58. Just new ways to divvy up the power-frames?
  59. To reorganize Legitimacy’s pie?
  60. A tired old man entered the conversation:
  61. Hypothesis: the bourgeois will readily support democracy,
  62. When it has guarantees from most other divisions of society.
  63. Well the evidence suggests that through urban social density,
  64.    Civil society grows and strongly favors democracy.
  65. Importantly, British colonialism set the Caribbean,
  66.    On a very different path than the Central Americans.
  67. In Central America, the coercive apparatus known as the state,
  68.    Was controlled by the landowners-military, or only a military day-to-day;
  69.         Whereas, the state upon civil society suppressed concessions.
  70. On the other hand, civil society was consolidated in the Caribbean,
  71.         Without repression.
  72. So as the working class, middle class—civil society,
  73. Increasingly organizes and solidifies,
  74. Under modernization times,
  75. As a consequence; it becomes increasingly
  76. Difficult for the rich, or, aristocracy,
  77. To ignore the transformation towards democracy; because,
  78. The structure of society itself demands inclusion.
  79. Right. And economic stagnation and debt,
  80.    Display and hold democracy’s epitaph.
  81. Now, rapid economic growth and development,
  82.    Facilitates compromise between capital and labor,
  83.        Considering labor is still willing to strike.
  84.    Then slow growth pillages both parties and,
  85.         There are much fewer democracy crusaders,
  86.              As tensions between capital and labor rise.
  87. Rueschemeyer, Stephens, and Stephens contend,
  88.    The conditions for democratic transitions,
  89.        And democratic consolidation,
  90.           Are important for comparative politics,
  91.               And the approaches must be distinguished.
  92. The “strategic interaction model,”[ii]
  93. Explains transitions from authoritarian rule,
  94. According to the choices played by key actors:
  95. The regime and civil society fuel.
  96. The “political-institutional approach,”[iii]
  97. Sees the transition phase [emerging democracies],
  98. Through the lens of institutions.
  99. There may be outlines and sketches of the previous regime,
  100. Designing the constitutional choices for the new democracy.
  101. The more of the past skeletal frame that remains,
  102. The less likely democracy will fully consolidate.
  103. These two dominant approaches have a new friend,
  104. A “class-structural model” for executing analysis,
  105. As proposed by Rueschemeyer, Stephens and Stephens.
  106. This model for democratization,
  107.    What they call a relative class power,
  108.    Is a class analysis of democratic transformation.
  109.        A class-analytical perspective for scholars.
  110. The dependent variable put forth by,
  111.    Capitalist Development and Democracy; ponders:
  112.        Can democracy emerge, stabilize, and maintain,
  113.           In the face of adverse conditions?
  114. Thus search for class-structural determinants!
  115. The most common research mores:
  116.    The quantitative cross-national approach, and,
  117.    The qualitative comparative historical approach, show;
  118. The correlation between capitalist development,
  119.         And democracy.
  120.    Repeatedly emphasized events in the readings, reveal,
  121.          Democracies are associated with capitalist economies!
  122. A class-structural perspective to long-term historical cases,
  123.     Will reveal causal inferences!
  124. Many began to think,
  125. That the circle was complete.
  126. Alright, will someone please recap,
  127.    How the Model’s unique?
  128. Utter silence.
  129. The columns holding up this model are:
  130. (1) The balance of class power;
  131. (2) The power and autonomy of the state apparatus,
  132.        And its relationship with civil society; and
  133. (3) The transnational structures of power.
  134. Social class is determined to be the master key.
  135. Because class structure determines coalition possibilities!
  136. Right. And there is a broad empirical study.
  137. The three columns of power are seen as combining,
  138.    And interacting according to various sequencing.
  139. A past Peace Corps volunteer:
  140. In search of common patterns, and
  141. Complex causal national and democratic experiences.
  142. 38 cases consisting of three broad regions,
  143. Advanced capitalist countries, Latin America,Central America,
  144. And the Caribbean.
  145. Yes. Do applaud the comparative methodology,
  146.    Systematically analyzing variables while remembering,
  147.        The context and history.
  148. Indeed, the simple model is worth repeating.
  149. The Peace Corps volunteer:
  150. Can so many cases over periods of time,
  151. Be justified through analytical induction, as an
  152. “understanding of individual histories,”
  153. As they find?[iv]
  154. Wouldn’t the history require the writing of,
  155. an encyclopedia?
  156. Think structurally.
  157.    The cases were chosen by region,
  158.        And relayed in a particular sequence,
  159.          From the “advanced capitalist countries,”
  160.                       Then to Latin America, Central America and the Caribbean.
  161. They are not homogenous.
  162. Why is democracy more stable in the first group,
  163.     And less stable in the others?
  164. Capitalists can’t control capitalism.
  165. The sellers need buyers in the market.
  166. Expanding economic markets indirectly calls for,
  167. Democratic governance.
  168. Indirectly?
  169. Everyone, including the working class,
  170.    Has an incentive to participate in government.
  171. Since the working class is a majority of participants,
  172.    Particularly when they bring in others previously excluded,
  173.        It may be understood—the landlord class prefers to elude,
  174.               Democratic transition.
  175. Now this is not middle-class-modernization-theory,
  176. Is it?
  177. The middle class, specifically,
  178.    Is not unambiguously pro-democratic,
  179.        Because is has allied with the military and elites,
  180.             In the past. In those sectors of society.
  181. If the landlords preferred interest,
  182. Is cheap labor.
  183. Wouldn’t the middle class then favor,
  184. More equitable behavior?
  185. The stronger the civil society, many think,
  186.      The stronger the democracy.
  187. That the state is truly the reflection of civil society.
  188. But you know the main weakness,
  189.      Of many structural analysis;
  190.  They result from big processes where,
  191.       Free will is always undecided.
  192. Isn’t their thesis:
  193. “Without labor clout,
  194. Democracy is constantly drowned”?
  195. When wouldn’t political inclusion,
  196.     Benefit a member of that population?
  197. When the regime practices,
  198. Values at odds with their constituents.
  199. The professor was surprised,
  200. At the instant response,
  201. To his rhetorical question.
  202. The professor sighs.
  203. Thus the power-centered approach focuses on,
  204.    The links between emerging political institutions,
  205.        Economic and social groups.
  206.    These illuminate the structural hegemony,
  207.        Of a society.
  208. And power depends,
  209. On the non-elite classes!
  210. Yes. Case studies showing specific mechanisms,
  211.     Enabling the accomplishment of democratic consolidation,
  212.          Would be a good peer paper for collaboration.
  213. What exactly relieves the tension,
  214.    Between the one and 99 percent?
  215. Can I explicate:
  216. How the different “democracies” in the study,
  217. Differed completely?
  218. This quandary again?
  219. The professor waits.
  220. Of course. We are looking for something brave,
  221.    But parsimonious.
  222. If it could include the micro-foundations too,
  223.     That would be much more widely used.
  224. Now take ten minutes to describe,
  225.     Which mechanisms you think enforce,
  226.         Democratic strides.

[i] Rueschemeyer, Stephens, and Stephens. 1992. Capitalist Development and Democracy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

[ii] Guillermo, O’Donnell and Schmitter (1986), Przeworski, (1991), and Bruzst and Stark (1991), and more.

[iii] Munck. 1990. “Identity and Ambiguity in Democratic Struggles” in Foweraker and Craig (eds.) Popular Movements and Political Change in Mexico. Also, Lijphart (1992).

[iv] Page 37.

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  1. Pingback: Learn Comparative Politics–Week 2 Reading « Political Pipeline

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