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POLS2202 comparative pols semester 2 exam

Groups and movements

Types of groups: Intere­st/­lob­by/­pre­ssure groups, social movements, unions, civil society
Roles of groups: Contri­butions to democratic quality - pluralism, holding the state to account; defenders of rights and democratic values; contri­bution to the policy process
Interest Groups:
"­Org­ani­sations seeking to advance a particular sectional interest or cause, while not seeking to form a government or part of a govern­men­t"
Pursuit of broad economic and identity interest through collective power - social change and agenda setting
Interest groups act as a conduit for inform­ation to the government providing inform­ation, expertise, and feedback on current condit­ions, policy problems and needs
Pursuit of narrow economic interest through lobbying and influence seeking
Interest groups aggregate and promote sectional interests and provide inform­ation, training, and support services to members
Interest groups seek to influence policy via direct and indirect measures
Types of interest groups: public­/issue oriented, private (profe­ssional or economic), single­-issue, religious, govern­ment, instit­ution
Indirect measures: education campaigns, research donati­ons­/fu­nding, media appear­ances, social media advert­ising
Lobbying has little effective regula­tion, and the entry barriers to entering the industry are low
Direct measures: consul­tation, lobbying, eviden­ce-­based persua­sion, letters to local members, political support, legal action, protes­t/s­trike action, intimi­dation and bribery
Civil society:
A public sphere separate from the state - "­Formal or informal groups with common interests, attitudes or aims"
Largely passive but can mobilise & influence political and policy processes
A health civil society would mean a healthy democracy
Comprises of voluntary associ­ations and is an arena free and indepe­ndent public debate (ideas, policies, protests)
Aligns with liberal commit­ments to free speech, freedom of associ­ation, privacy, etc.


Social movements:
Organised yet informal social entities that are engaged in extra-­ins­tit­utional conflict that is oriented towards a goal
Don't seek to engage directly with members of parliament and seeks to change public pinion
Uses collective action to foster social change by changing public values and shifting public opinion on given issues (rather than directly influe­ncing decision makers)
Aims: framin­g/d­e-l­egi­tim­ation of status quo, resource mobili­sat­ion­/co­alition building, timing­/po­litical opport­unity, transition planning
Unions: Organi­sations fo workers that seek to advocate for the interests of their members in negoti­ations wiht employers and (from a social­-de­moc­ratic view) advocate for democratic partic­ipation in economic and social policy
Seeks to change a particular secular interest for the interest of workers
Power Resource Theory: the size and nature of a country's welfare state can be explained by the strength of working class mobili­sation
Strate­gies: strikes, mobilising resources, advert­isi­ng/­edu­cation campaigns, policy proposals, direct lobbying
Get up!:
Narrative engage­ment, email and social media, large member­ship, post materi­alist, progre­ssive
A hybrid organi­sation: member­shi­p-b­ased, issue focused civil society group
Online campaign orgais­ation that makes use of email, online polling, social media and online videos
Called political action commun­ities, and targets certain people when it comes to elections
Targets socioe­conomic inequality within the black demogr­aphic
A highly decent­ralised movement; challenges for message coherence
Charac­ter­istics: Began with filming of violence against black people, street protests, has the public opinion of 'defund the police'
Judicial inequa­lity: rise in the AA population in federal prison pop.
Emergence: first in 2013 following the acquittal of the Trayvon Martin's murderer
Large part has to do with the war on drugs
Gained wider recogn­ition due to street protests following the death of Michael Brown by a police officer
Massive inequaity in the incarc­eration rates
Eric Garner in NYC, and most recently George Floyd
Movement began formin glocal chapters and was very active during the 2016 Presed­ential election
Not an official civil society group like GetUp!
A loose associ­ation of groups and activists - fragmented
Some efforts to centralise and create cohesive messaging during 2020
Relies far more on decent­ralised protests, social media slogans, and direct action than an organi­sation like GetUp!
'Defund the police'
Has clashing interp­ret­eations
- Genuine police abolition often emerging from an anti-c­api­talist position and black intell­ectuals
'Defund' = 'reform'; divert resources to social services, preven­tion, education etc.; reduce milita­ris­ation of US police
Changes to attitudes and politics: wider recogn­ition that 'post-­racial' America is a myth; bringing broader issues like economic and other inequa­lities to the agenda; predic­tably polarised reaction
Changes to practice and policy: highly variable, but hardly revolu­tio­nary; is the US congress capable of taking on economic redist­rib­ution, health care, education, criminal justice reform
Hong Kong Democracy Movement:
Charac­ter­istics: 'One nation, two systems'; Liberal youth - HK identity; Repeated Beijing interv­ent­ions; innovative use of SNS
Both business interests (the tradit­ional source of power in HK) and Chinese central government tradit­ionally hostile to democratic reform
Active since the 70s led by students
Studetn activism charac­terised by non-ma­terial goals, distin­ctive HK identity, and organi­sation via social media
Some momentum for liberal reform during 1990s post-T­ian­anmen Square
2014 Umbrella Movement:
- Withdrawal of extrad­ition bill
- A response to restri­ctive electoral reforms proposed by Beijing
- Electoral success of pro-de­mocracy candidates in Nov '19
- Led to an occupation of several major sites for over 2 months
- Imposition of new national security law in June '20 by mainland: crimin­alising secession, subver­sion, terrorism, and collusion
- Use of western social media appears to have been effective in building distrust for HK author­ities and Chinese central govern­ment: Western SNS > positive feedback to democr­ati­sation
- Clampdown on dissent targeting prodem­ocracy activists and politi­cians
- Response: prosec­utions, restri­ctions on political candid­ates, increasing censorship
- Backlash from Beijing
- High level of urbani­sation because it's a city
- Increasing importance of digital commun­ication to organise and coordinate campaigns
- Agenda setting far easier than instit­utional change
- Risk of backlash is high, even with record levels of mobili­sation
- State clampdowns on popular movements

Corruption & Oligarchy

"... occurs where a public official (A), violates the rules and/or norms of office, to the detriment of the interest of the public, (B) who is the designated benefi­ciary of that office, to benefit themselves and a 3rd party, and (C) who rewards or otherwise incent­ivises A to gain access to goods or services they would not other wise obtain­"
Corruption is a major constraint on the ability of countries to democr­atise
Instit­utional corruption involves 'access more than action' and instit­utional more than personal gains
Forms: 'Insti­tut­ion­al'­/le­git­imate corrup­tion; illegal corruption
'Insti­tut­ional'/ legiti­mate: campaign finance, regulatory capture, shaping of evidence, lack of transp­arency
Illegal: bribery, extortion, nepotism, leaking inform­ation for personal gain
Other forms: in spending of public money, especially through contra­cting; distri­buting of funding projects for electoral gain; parado­xic­ally, decent­ral­isation may decrease transa­ction costs for corrup­tion; shaping and dissem­ination of evidence by industry
Drivers: underd­eve­loped public admin; inequa­lit­y/lack of social trust; local cultural norms; size of state; lack of accoun­tab­ility mechanisms
Lack of accoun­tab­ility mechanisms: elections; indepe­ndent anti-c­orr­uption commis­sions; invest­igative journa­lisms; centra­lis­ation of power in the executive branch
Inquality & Corrup­tion:
- Increase risk of state/­reg­ulator capture by the wealthy elite
- Economic inequality likely to contribute to clientism: 'bribing' voters with short-term benefits (e.g., cash, gifs, jobs) to avoid progra­mmatic redist­rib­ution
- Increase in bureau­cratic appoin­tments made on basis of wealth­/pa­tronage rather than via merito­cracy
- Inequality in education attainment also linked to corruption levels
Corruption also contri­butes to inequa­lity:
- Inequality increases percep­tions of corruption and erode social trust, which in turn may foster normal­isation
- Poor especially vulnerable to policy­/ju­dicial corrup­tion; less able to afford bribes, yet asked to pay more
- Hinders develo­pment of social welfare programs, equal access to asset ownership
Political arrang­ements that are dominated (and serve the interests of) a wealthy few
Indonesia: political investors, and lack of party compet­ition
Power resources: formal political rights, official positions; coercive power, mobili­sation power, material power


Defining populism:
Demago­guery: the politics of emotions, slogans, and 'common sense'
Opport­unism: buying support through popular short-term policies
Academ­ically: as a thin ideology, as a style, as a strategy
Ideology: Cas Mudde (2004); a 'thin' ideology that "­con­siders society to be ultimately separated into two homogenous and antago­nisitc groups, 'the pure people' vs. 'the corrupt elite', and which arguest hat politics should be an expression of the volonté générale (general will) of the people
Style: People vs. elite; rudeness; crisisw
Strategy: "A political strategy through which a person­alistic leader seeks or exercises government power based on direct, unmedi­ated, instit­uti­ona­lised support from large numbers of mostly unorga­nised follow­ers­"
Versions: Left and right populism, European populism, Populist radical right
Populist radical right:
- Anti-i­mmi­gra­tion: clamp down on asylum policy
- Nativism: the state shoudl protect the establ­ished members of the national from perceived threats from non-na­tional people and ideas
- Focus on law and order
- Tendency towards author­ita­ria­nis­m/i­lli­ber­alism: repressive se of policing and judicial system towards those perceived as threat
- Not necess­arily anti-w­elfare state/­pro­-market
- Populist though: The pure people vs. corrupt elite
- Full employment & social policy as conser­vative
Populist radical left:
- Broadly similar to tradit­ional left parties: anti-a­ust­erity, redist­rib­ution, public services, labour rights, racial & gender equality
- Threat from above: oligarchy and economic inequality
- Podemos aimed to be as inclusive as possible
- The 'people' as the workers
- Motivated by a sense of crisis of repres­ent­ation and expansive conception of democracy: partic­ipa­tion, repres­ent­ation, and extension to the economic sphere
- Anti-a­ust­erity, pro-re­dis­tri­bution
Causes: corruption percep­tion, techno­cracy, global­isation
- Dominance of the 'pragmatic face' of democracy: frustr­ation with existing parties and their strategies
- Reaction to economic change­/co­ndi­tion: global­isa­tion, economic libera­lis­ation
- Failures of democratic govern­ance, e.g., corruption
Is populism democr­atic?
Poses challenges for democratic systems:
Signif­icant division over whether it can function as correc­tive:
- If the people are 'pure' then compromise is difficult
- Populism as useful discursive strategy that can channel political frustr­ation into changing moribund instit­utions: e.g., the 'folkh­emmet in Swedish social democracy
- Tendency to modify consti­tut­ional systems
- Populim as a cure that is equal to the cause: nativism on the right, author­itarian means on the left
- Tendency for scepticism of liberal democracy

Rights & Capability

Negative Rights:
Positive Rights:
- Freedom as 'non-i­nte­rfe­rence' - freedom 'from'
- Freedom as 'self-­mas­tery' - freedom 'to'
- Property rights, security, protection from tyranny, protection of liberal values
- To be in control, to make one's own decisions, to lie as a rational and virtuous person
- Doesn't justify an extensive welfare state
- Can be seen as a justif­ication of the state provid­ing­/en­suring necess­ities: health­care, education etc.
- e.g., US Bill of Rights
Capability Rights:
- Amartya Sen: to experience poverty is to experience a depriv­ation with regard to availa­bility of plausible options and the ability to do certain basic or important things
- Ends rather than means; multid­ime­nsi­onality of poverty; freedoms and agency, as well as functi­oni­ng's; inequality of capability (e.g., learning rather than literacy; health rather than mortality)
Waves of Indigenous policy in Australia:
90s onwards:
- Policy focused on increasing self-d­ete­rmi­nation, choice and diversity
- Shift towards 'indiv­idu­al/­com­munity respon­sib­ility', 'recip­rocal obliga­tion'
- Establ­ishing indigenous instit­utions
- 'passive' welfare states as crating 'depen­dence' for indigenous Austra­lians
- Self governance
- Attaching behavi­oural conditions to paymen­ts/­pro­grams
- Facili­tation of social reconc­ili­ation
- Incentives for training and work
The Radical centre
- Pearson and co. explicitly make use of Sen's capability appraoch in justifying their advocacy for a shift in indigenous social policy; for Pearson, 'capab­ili­ties' cannot exist with 'respo­nsi­bility'
- Cape York Insititute goals (2007): "­Ens­uring that Cape York people have the capabi­lities to choose a life they value"
- Part of Pierson's quest for a 'radical centre' - synthesis of competing views/­values
- However, other Australian scholars argue that this deviates substa­ntially from Sen and other capability theorists
Cashless welfare cards
- Aims to ensure that welfare payments cannot be spent on alcohol or gambling
- 80% of payments can only be used by card; 20% can be taken out as cash
- From capability perspe­ctive: lack of access to cash economy (esp. in rural areas); social stigma; indivi­dua­lises structural barriers
Feminist critiques of the welfare state
- "Men tend to make claims on the welfare state as workers while women make claims as members of families (as wives or mothers) and through the very existence of "­mas­cul­ine­" and "­fem­ini­ne" programs - the former protecting against labour market failures and targeting a male clientele, the latter providing help for family­-re­lated problems and targeting a female client­ele­"
- Some feminist scholars argue welfare states have tradit­ionalyl supported gender hierar­chies, partly as a result of associ­ation with blue-c­ollar labour unions:
- Social benefits deeply associated with paid work (the male industrial worker)
- Lack of recogn­ition of unpaid care work
- Assumption of women in home (raising the next generation of workers)
Capabi­lities and gender inequality
From a capability perspe­ctive: is there more than the illusion of choice? Which key functi­oning's are left behind by existing welfare arrang­ements?
Implic­ations for future welfare states?
- There could be a race to the bottom in terms of taxation, libera­lis­ation of economies - even generous welfares states, even social democratic welfare states would have to retrench their ability to regulate economies and provide these sorts of benefits to citizens
- A decline in union movements and pressure to reduce the size of the state that has happened in some cases

Asylum Crisis

Asylum Crisis:
- Domestic anti-i­mmi­gration attitudes: high salience of immigr­ation as an issue
- Increasing global refugee claims from conflict zones: dangerous Medite­rranean sea crossings
- Shift towards Austra­lia­-like focus: 'Law enforc­ement'; combatting smuggling
- Dublin regulation
- Member state where claim is lodged is respon­sible
- Burden on Italy, Greece etc.
- Some redist­rib­ution among other states, but unequal
Crisis features:
- Urgency
- Magnitude
- Comple­xit­y/'­cross boundary'
High expect­ations
'Capacity for polari­sation'
Possib­ility for change?


Unitary vs. federal states & democratic vs. one party states
Vaccine mandates:
- Financial penalty
- Vaccin­ation as collective respon­sib­ility
- Loss of employment
- As cue for government to improve access
- Lack of access to servic­es/­pay­ments
- As cue to highlight importance
- Some redist­rib­ution among other states, but unequal
- 'Blunt instru­ment' to overcome other barriers

The Welfare State

The Welfare State
- A collection or system of government programs, regula­tions, or arrang­ements aimed at securing or promoting economic, physical, and social wellbeing of citizens
- Mediates the relati­onship between citizen, state, and market
Includes: income protection (e.g., due to unempl­oyment, illness, disabi­lity, age or family), health­care, disability support, education, housing
Also: services, cash transfers, tax arrang­ements, government schola­rships, Youth Allowance, Medicare, public hospitals, age pensions, 'Tax expend­iture' (negative gearing)
Why is it important?
- Major political develo­pment of the 20th century
-Huge share of government activity
- Major ideolo­gical cleavage between movements and parties
- Key part of a contem­porary nation state
- Structure contri­butes to: treatment of refugees, response to health crisis, economic inequality
- Shapes wellbeing outcomes
Functi­ons­/in­tel­lectual roots:
- Reforming towards socialism
- Decomm­odi­fic­ation - protecting workers from the market
- Social liberalism - equality of opport­unity
- Economic securi­ty/­'safety net'
- To maintain legitimacy of capitalism and increase produc­tivity
- To legitimate non-de­moc­ratic regimes
- Urban indust­ria­lis­ation and educated middle classes
- In rich countries: 1910s-45; 45-70s
- Emerges alongside increased state capacity and the modern nation state
- Others vary: e.g., East/South Asia period of expansion 45-90s
- Expanded suffrage and political parties
- 1989 another key juncture (USSR welfare state 1922-89)
Models of the welfare state:
- Capitalism without class struggle' - Church & family
- Social provision to: weaken working class discontent and maintain hierarchy
e.g., Germany, Austria, France
- Social insurance
- State less likely to uphold class division or interfere in the market
- Market seen as a force for equality and overcoming class conflict and the state manages the market conditions and provides a safety net
e.g., US, UK, Australia
Social assist­ance: means testing, welfare stigma
Social Democr­atic:
- Social provision weakens dependence on the market (Market will lead to inequa­lity)
- Workers require social resources to partic­ipate in a democratic system
e.g., Sweden, Norway, Denmark
- Univer­salism: equality and left-l­abour dominance
3 Worlds?
- Sweden: hospital based care, staffed by public employees, small out of pocket fees (national health service)
- Germany: publicly regulated sickness unsurance funds (employer & employee contri­butions + public subsid­ies), private physicians and non-profit hospitals
- US: fragmented of private and public insurance, mostly employ­men­t-based or targeted public; provision mostly private
In other parts of the world:
Central & Eastern Europe: hybrids between liberal and contin­ent­al/­con­ser­vative
East Asia: confusion values; high household savings, three gen households and low labour partic­ipation among women; weak left partie­s/u­nions (outside of China); 'Produ­cti­vism'; genera­lis­ations don't hold for: Japan, SK, Taiwan v China, Singapore & HK
Latin America: Uneven pace of indust­ria­lis­ation led to variation; initially mostly contri­butory social insurance; need for poverty reduction (e.g., condit­ional cash transf­ers); in some cases radical privat­isation (esp. Chile in pensions)
Explaining the variation:
Recent trends:
- Cultural values & dominant political ideas; political instit­utions; labour power; timing and politics - election victories: need to stabilise author­itarian regimes; timing and level of economic develo­pment; global­isation
- Privat­isa­tio­n/c­ont­rac­tin­g/r­etr­enc­hment (i.e. neolib­era­lism); third way 'social invest­ment' e.g., 'active' labour market policies; capability approach
'Wage earners' welfare state: Australia
- Private saving for home ownership, rather than collective saving for social security
- Prior to 1980s not especially generous, but not as targeted as some other liberal welfare states
90s and beyond:
- Medicare
- 'Layering' up of private health insurance
- Shift towards policing of 'condi­tio­nality'
- Amping up of: 1. Active labour market policy (welfare to work) and 2. condit­ion­ality and social shaming of benefi­ciaries - e.g., 'robodebt'
- Financ­ial­isaton of retirement through supera­nnu­ation scheme;
- Rising support for increasing JobSeeker payments (and for basic income idea)
- NDIS; expansion through complex contra­cting
- Detachment of house prices and wages
- Expansion of private debt via low interest rates and government backing
- Government policy as mainta­ining price growth - access through inheri­tance or debt (similar across the West)


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