Next Stop: Structure’s Impasse.

  1. ‘Twas the night before class,
  2. And the professor was full of life, alas;
  3. A practice-run of the lecture material,
  4. Now at a glance.
  5. For all written herein was meant to be,
  6. Grasped by the students tomorrow,
  7. Before the department party.
  8. This is the lecture called:
  9.  Structure’s impasse.
  10. When you think of structure, you study:
  11.    Capitalism, regime, state, or society.
  12. Structure is along those lines of inquiry.[1]
  13. Recall Max Weber’s invocation:
  14.    “The modern state is a compulsorily association
  15.      Which organizes domination.”[2]
  16. Recall, in 2003, Anthony Marx argued appropriately,
  17.    That the people are served by the state, and that this service,
  18.      Is the cause of the peoples’ allegiance to their regime.
  19. Today we shall focus on structure, yet let us ponder aloud:
  20. All states govern different territories with different cultures.
  21. Some states reveal congruence, yet others utterly fail to do so.
  22. Some endured for centuries, while others are new-comers.
  23. Are cross-national studies able to discover profound answers?
  24. Can you name just one nation-state, in history, whereby:
  25.    No minority member of the population was ever used,
  26.     By the dominant ethnic, religious, propertied or racial group,
  27.       Ever coerced and/or manipulated for power—state rule,
  28.         Whether as a scapegoat or as an undesirable fool / tool,
  29.            For a dominant group to win via illegitimate rules?
  30. Doesn’t the “self-determination” line ring hollow like a lie?
  31. Do you pay your taxes? Doesn’t this prima facie cause,
  32.    Every taxpayer to have a vested interest in the laws;
  33.       The collecting government’s output montage?
  34. After colonial states formed, Migdal reminds us;
  35.    The state, based on the normative European myth,
  36.       Appeared often as “organized hypocrisy,” rather than,
  37.          The peoples’ effective apparatus.[3]
  38. Bear in mind multiple coups d’état, civil wars, criminalization
  39.    Of state functions, and economic stagnation / regression,
  40.       That occurred by the structure of said state apparatus.
  41.          There was little or no liberalization or emancipation,
  42.             In this organized compulsorily organization!
  43. Long pause.
  44. In researching the state these early 21st century days,
  45.    Use political trajectories or integrated comparative analysis.
  46.  Political trajectories require history—the unfolding process:
  47.    Account for issues of time, sequence and context;
  48.    For world conditions during the state’s formation;
  49.    For elites, social factors, institutions and conditions,
  50.       Abundant during the critical junctures; therein,
  51.    For capitalism’s development and adjustments;
  52.    For the unevenness and uncertainty in state arrangements;
  53.    For the type of governance: federalism or unitary structures;
  54.    For the classes, i.e., Marxists, and society’s impact / punctures;
  55.    For civil liberties and civil rights along structural lines;
  56.    For path dependence—when other paths were ignored and why;
  57.    For military regimes in light of traditional dictatorships;
  58.    For elite-conflict in light of the populace’s determinations;
  59.    For negotiation, collaboration, and contestation,
  60.       Between central state authorities and local social forces.
  61. Political trajectory analysis has been captured by Charrad, for instance:[4]
  62.    How did women’s rights advance in North African Islamic societies?
  63.        For the state adopted some radical personal status laws in Tunisia,
  64.          Entirely conservative laws in Morocco,
  65.            And relatively conservative laws in Algeria.
  66.    Charrad finds that what mattered was how tribes were integrated,
  67.        And aligned with the state. Thus in Tunisia, where the state,
  68.          Was quite independent of the kin groups in place,
  69.           Tunisia enacted a liberal policy for women to interface.
  70.        Yet in Morocco, where the kin groups with the state belonged,
  71.          Women’s rights were left to Islamic law.
  72.        And in Algeria, where there was a partial alliance with kin crowds,
  73.          The women’s movement could not sustain its cause.
  74. Integrated political analysis requires large-N and in-depth case studies:
  75.    Account for the divide between qualitative and quantitative methods;
  76.    For big-N studies engaging causal stories—like regression,
  77.       With individual case studies to provide depth to those conceptions.
  78.     As an example, see the World Bank studies on civil war;
  79.       Where econometric models and logit regression to predict,
  80.         The outbreak of the civil war in Africa and Central Asia.
  81.           Truly, opportunities exist for rebels to build a rebellion,
  82.              Depending on precisely the locations that rebels arise from,
  83.                For how is it financed—and what will be the final cost;
  84.                  To the rebel, to the citizen, and the population?
  85.                    The answers enter the model for future predictions.
  86.     Yet aggregate cases may do much more than reaffirm one norm:
  87.       They can be serious observations revealing rigorous differences,
  88.          Which may be used for the benefit of future development,
  89.             As appropriate from state to state, or region to region.
  90.       They may be serious limitations to big-N findings,
  91.           Which could more wisely be observed via unity,
  92.               Or disunity in dissident regions. There are implications.
  93. The former were on-the-line cases; but nesting is off-the line:
  94.    Large-N findings do paint phenomenon with broad strokes,
  95.            And the evidence may foil or disturb common notions.
  96.        For example, Haddad (2007) researches volunteering in Japan;
  97.         There is a systematic bias for embeddedU.S.type organizations,
  98.           Interacting with the state, and, individuals amongst organizations.
  99.        Meaning, observable volunteering is higher in Japan than the U.S.,
  100.           Which is a direct contradiction to previous quantitative studies.
  101.      For example, recall the prevailing wisdom about oil economies:
  102.          The determinism of oil in creating instability or longevity;
  103.               Meaning, political constraints are constant for oil exporting states.
  104.          In Indonesia, the government used oil to finance institutions,
  105.               Especially their taxes. This strengthened populace/state bonds!
  106.          Yet in Iran, through comparing the same historical political time,
  107.               The government fell; as weak state/people institutions weren’t built upon!
  108.          Thus these governments were not using the oil money,
  109.               To build a repressive apparatus—as some big-N hypothesis predicted.
  110.           Hence, prevailing wisdom may be outright overturned,
  111.               And cause a shift in political thought and political learning.
  112. Coffee break. Group hypothesis.
  113. Collaborate with creativity; address:
  114. Design a model for structural fault-lines,
  115. Using state, regime, capitalism, or societal binds.
  116. Skocpol engages comparative historical analysis.
  117. She shows a causal relationship using J. S. Mill’s
  118.    “Method of Agreement” [i.e., common a set of causal factors,
  119.         With an expected variance that might seem causally relevant] and;
  120.    “Method of Difference” [contrast of cases in which the phenomenon,
  121.          And the hypothesized causes are present to other cases in which,
  122.          The phenomenon and the causes are both absent, yet otherwise,
  123.             Just the same to the positive cases classified].[5]
  124. Skocpol states, “the key to successful structural analysis
  125.    Lies in a focus on state organizations and their relations
  126.    Both to international environments and to domestic classes
  127.    And economic conditions.”[6]
  128. She focuses on larger structures like international structures
  129.    And world-historical developments.[7]
  130. It is not simply the structure within a society; but rather,
  131.    The “internationally uneven spread of capitalist economic development”
  132.      That affects social revolutions—in these matters.[8]
  133. Social revolutions are comprised of four interrelated processes:
  134.    (1) Old regime collapses;
  135.    (2) A revolt from below;
  136.    (3) A transfer of power to revolutionary radicals;
  137.    (4) Revolutionary vanguards take strong measures
  138.           To transform state and society together.
  139. The first two processes are social revolutionary situations.
  140. The last two processes are social revolutionary outcomes.
  141. There is a relationship worth discovering,
  142.    Between the pressures on the state from the international system,
  143.      And relations between state and ruling class therein:
  144.     Focus on multiple aspects of the old regime,
  145.      And pay close attention to the social-revolutionary situations.
  146. To explain social-revolutionary outcomes,
  147.    Please explain the interactions between the multiple actors,
  148.       Exacting power and the rise of the new regime:
  149.    What were the lower-class organizational capacities?
  150.    What were post-insurrection state building strategies?
  151. Note to self: Avoid a long discussion about Marxists.
  152.     However: Ask for legitimate goals to call for revolution.
  153. When should groups fight against the nexus of state/state,
  154.    state/economy, and state/class observations?
  155. Is there a tipping point—a model—reliable diagnostics?
  156. Moore focuses on structure within a single state,
  157.    While Skocpol focuses on the larger superstructure.
  158. Moore focuses on the various classes within society,
  159.    And their relationship(s) in the game of legitimate authority.
  160. These include the land owning upper classes, the peasantry,
  161.    The monarchy, and the clergy.
  162. Today, account for observable power-holding entities.
  163. Who are the major players developing policy?
  164. Students write hypothesis.
  165. Transition to structure for people.
  166. Przeworski, Alvarez, Cheibub, and Limongi,[9]
  167.    Research the state, capitalism, and importantly—society.
  168. They reaffirm that economic development is related,
  169.    To the stability of developed democracies.
  170. However, they tackle a hypothesis put forth Huntington, et al.:
  171.   That democracy undermines economic development;
  172.     Since it unleashes great pressure for instant consumption,
  173.       At the cost of investment, hence, at the cost of growth.
  174. Thus democracy may not be a wise long-term investment.
  175. Along this train of thought: poor people desire immediate consumption,
  176.   Of the latest iPod, iPad and iPhone in production.
  177.       In a democracy, workers wisely organize and hire an entrepreneur,
  178.           To bargain for their deserved higher wages.
  179.               This reduces profits and also reduces investments, to be clear.
  180.       In a democracy, all people may vote, and so the politicians need,
  181.           The poor-middle classes constituency to support their platform speech.
  182.       Thus the government pleases the constituency through a welfare state,
  183.            Either by tax and redistribution, or, pork barrel projects.
  184.       Thus there is a limited amount of government investment,
  185.            Into the economic development scene—thus slower growth occurs,
  186.                In a democracy, than in a dictatorship.
  187. Along another train of thought [in favor of democracy],
  188.    There is allocative efficiency:
  189.        In a democracy, public officials more wisely allocate resources,
  190.             Because authoritarian officials are not responsible,
  191.                  To the electorate since they have no recourse.
  192.        In a dictatorship, officials have an incentive to maximize,
  193.             Economic development and total output; yet,
  194.                   ‘Tis only attributable to their own rents [or profits].
  195.        Therefore, democracies better protect property; importantly,
  196.              This provides investors a long-term perspective, indeed.
  197. Both trains of thought may be true:
  198.    Democracies may hinder investment compared to dictatorships.
  199.    Democracies may foster growth by promoting allocative efficiency too.
  200. Productive forces may be accelerated under dictatorships, conversely,
  201.    The uses of resources may be much more efficient under democracy.
  202. Now let’s look at the evidence provided by Przeworski and company.
  203.  First, there is no evidence that a democracy undermines investment opportunity,
  204.    Regardless of the wealth of the democracy in action. Poor countries
  205.      Invest little—no matter the type of regime as transaction.
  206.   Democracies benefit more from technical progress,
  207.      And labor is utilized more wisely and effectively—albeit
  208.          Dictatorships more efficiently employ physical labor stock.
  209. Political regimes have no impact on the rate of growth of total income,
  210.    Between poor and wealthy countries.
  211. Meaning, poor countries are too poor to afford a strong state,
  212.    And without a strong state, there is little room for great strides,
  213.        In economic development, regardless of regime type.
  214.    Investment is low in poor dictatorships and poor democracies,
  215.        Przeworski and company find.
  216. Meaning, wealthy countries have an impact on resource use;
  217.    How much people produce, and working wages as labor revenue.
  218. Yet dictatorships use factor inputs and gain little productivity benefits.
  219.    For labor is a capital stock—and the labor force has few options,
  220.       Dictatorships repress workers and exploit them. They use them
  221.          Carelessly along the train of economic development.
  222. On the other hand, democracies allow workers to fight for their interests,
  223.    Workers are much better paid and maintain better working conditions.
  224.       Workers thus prefer democracy to dictatorship,
  225.           Hence workers may demand democracy to fruition.
  226. So in researching structure; please perceive,
  227.   The factors that differentiate Bridge A and Bridge B,
  228.      Such as wealthy dictatorships from wealthy democracies,
  229.         Are the patterns—not the averages—worth studying.

[1] Lichbach and Zuckerman. 2009. Comparative Politics: Rationality, Culture and Structure. Cambridge University Press.

[2] This begins an analysis of Migdal. 2009. “Researching the State,” Chapter 7 in; Lichbach and Zuckerman. 2009. Comparative Politics: Rationality, Culture and Structure. Cambridge University Press.

[3] Migdal attributes this to Krasner 1999.

[4] Charrad. 2001. From Lichbach and Zuckerman, page 181.

[6] Skocpol.  1979. States and social revolutions: a comparative analysis of France, Russia, and China. Cambridge New York: Cambridge University Press. Page 291. Emphasis in original.

[7] Page 14.

[8] Page 19.

[9] This begins a brief analysis of Przerworski, Alvarez, Cheibub, and Limongi. 2000. Democracy and development : political institutions and well-being in the world, 1950-1990. Cambridge U.K. New York: Cambridge University Press.


2 thoughts on “Next Stop: Structure’s Impasse.

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

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