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Free Politics Essay: International Political Economy

“Do developments in international trade regime since 1995 (when WTO was formed) confirm Stephen Krasner’s theory concerning the determinant relationships between trade openness and balance of powerif not, what theory may explain these developments?

1.Introduction

This paper aims to discuss and analyse the effects of trade openness (globalization, free trade and international trade organizations) on the political power of individual states by comparing the global globalization phenomena with Stephen Krasner’s realist view of the loss of state political power following trade openness. Has the opening up of borders to international trade, in the form of free trade and globalization, really resulted in a loss of political or economic power by developing countries, and a resulting social instabilityHas it also resulted in a win-win situation for hegemonic countries such as the United States?

This paper aims to answer these questions by drawing up on the political realist views of Stephen Krasner (1976), political liberalism and comparing them to the increasing pace of globalization that has occurred following the establishment of the World Trade Organization.

2.International political economy

Trade openness and its impact on state political power is studied under the umbrella of International Political Economy (IPE). Prior to modern research on globalization, economics and politics had been treated as different topics, with a different view on international relationships and globalization (Cohen, 2008), However an increasing emphasis on global outlook and increasing interrelatedness of political and economic occurrences, such as the establishment of OPEC and the Saudi Arabia oil crisis decades ago, has prompted a merger of both studies with the aim of studying how they affect each other.

IPE is the study of the interrelatedness of international politics and global economy. It is a widely accepted view that political reforms and actions are enacted in a bid to attain state economic benefits, while economical situations within a country or region also greatly contribute to the resultant political climate (Hoekman and Kostecki, 1995). IPE is multidisciplinary and could be studied based on different contexts such as a regional or country specific focus; a global issue such as North – South relations. It could also be studied in the context of particular economic sectors, issues or social groups (Underhil, 2000). IPE therefore is very diverse. However as outlined by Underhill (2000), there are 3 basic fundamental principles that categorise any IPE study, and these are:

Political and economic factors are jointly studied and cannot be separated.
Political interaction is one of the major means through which economic structures are established and transformed in the market.
There is a genuine connection between domestic and international level political and economic analysis and the two cannot be separated.

Cohen (2008) further asserts that IPE aims to promote the ideology of connecting economics and politics beyond the confines of a single state, into a broader global view. It aims to study how a nation’s foreign policy are determined by the global environment, and how changes to international trade policies, could be enacted due to actions within a specific region (Frieden and Lake, 2000).

The discussion of the factors affecting IPE are therefore crucial in this paper, as it helps the writer and prospective readers to understand the context within which globalization studies have taken place, and the underlying principles that promote political economists’ view of an interrelatedness between trade openness and balance of power.

3.International Trade

a.WTO

The World Trade Organization, established in 1995, is the main international body promoting free trade globally. Its main objectives are to oversee international trade rules, organize trade negotiations, enforce free trade agreements, and settle trade disagreements between member countries (Gallagher, 2005).

Prior to its establishment in 1995, its predecessor was the GATT (General Agreements on Trades and Tariffs), which was established in 1948 with 23 member countries. The main aim of the GATT was to regulate trade tariffs on exported goods within member states. Following the Uruguay negotiation rounds that lasted from 1986 – 1993, the WTO was established as a supranational organization whose main aim is to liberalize global trade.

In contrast to the predominant GATT system that only included tariffs for exported goods, the WTO contains 143 member countries and promotes trade negotiations and dispute resolve in not just exported goods, but also services and intellectual property.

WTO has chaired over 400 trade disputes between member states from its commencement (WTO, 2009) and these disputes, mostly filed by an affected country, has resulted in a ruling which affects the economic policies currently in place in some countries. Therefore illustrating the strength of the global organization against individual economic policies if they go against international trade.

b. Recent developments in world trade

Since its inception in 1995, the WTO has aggressively pursued the following rules amongst its member states (Gallagher, 2005):

Binding and enforceable commitments
Safety values
Reciprocity
Non-discrimination
Transparency

Due to its global acceptance, and the membership of new states like China in 2001, world trade – as a result of these agreements and rules – has increased significantly since the WTO inception (Bagwell and Staiger, 2002).

Merchandise exports rose by 9% in 2004, while trade in commercial services grew by 18%. China has also emerged as a major import and export market, and its share of international trade has continued to rise steadily since joining the WTO in 2001. Share of Chinese exports and imports in many member countries also doubled considerably between 2000 and 2004 (WTO, 2005). The increasing proliferation of Chinese products and its emergence as a global leader in merchandise export would not have been made possible without the WTO.

China, India and Russia have also opened up their borders to international trade as a result of membership requirements in the WTO, therefore presenting an opportunity for developed countries such as the UK and US to outsource business processes into these countries, and also export business services (Kegley, 2000). The potential for world trade to continuously increase in coming years is therefore great, owing to an increasing acceptance of free trade by previously communist-laden economies.

4.Traditional Views of IPE

a.Stephen’s Krasner’s realist view

According to Stephen Krasner (1976), any state pursuing a trade openness agenda, usually does so with one of the following state interests in mind:

Political power
Aggregate national income
Economic growth
Social stability

He further asserts that empirical neoclassical evidence suggests that the greater the degree of trade openness that any state has to the international trading system, the greater the level of aggregate economic income. Economic growths are also more pronounced in smaller states. Though trade may give the smaller state more welfare benefits, they however do not enjoy the same economies of scale, as do the large developed states.

However, trade openness does lead to deleterious effects in terms of social stability and political power. Opening up of borders to international trade results may result in an increase of workload for the local working population. Developing countries that have a relatively small working population would be at a huge disadvantage, when compared to larger states that are able to alleviate any deleterious effects due to its large size and greater economic development. The difference in sizes between member states and variations in economic development also increases the potential for the emergence and dominance of hegemonic states. The large state can threaten to alter the trade system in order to secure economic or noneconomic agendas.

These assumptions therefore lead to Krasner’s conclusions that globalization, especially when both developed and developing countries are joined together in mutual agreements, is usually for the benefit of the small number of large developed countries, who are able to gain economic and political benefits by requesting favourable trade deals. He further asserts that it is the power and policies of member states that create order in times of chaos, and by leaving transitional corporations to act on their own accord, could only lead to unfair competition and uneven distribution of wealth.

Stephen Krasner therefore promotes political realism, and calls for a limitation of global trade, as governments opting for social stability and political growth should avoid entering trade agreements with developing countries that pose a significant threat to their development. The political realist’s view also supports the notion that the state should be totally responsible for dictating economic and political policies within a country, rather than having it decided by supranational entities (Robinson, 2001).

b. Liberalist view of transnational trade

Liberalism is the political view that supports the absence of state political influence, and increasing economic freedom – as it is known to correlate strongly with higher standards of living, social stability and peace (Moravcsik, 1997). Katzenstein and Koehane (1999) states that the main aim of political economic liberalism is to promote trade openness, free trade and limit government regulations in both domestic and international trade, as opposed to the realist view expressed earlier, which supports state control and protectionism. Drabek and Laird (1997) also states that liberalism aims to promote the free exchange of intellectual property, goods and services between international countries, without the disadvantages of tariff embargoes and import bans.

Liberalism therefore focuses on the preferences of each state, rather than their military or economic capabilities. Instead of just promoting international trade with no state regulation, liberals largely support the establishment of supranational bodies, such as the European Union, and also global trade organizations (WTO) and custom unions between neighbouring countries (NAFTA, ASEAN). The emergence of these unions and trade bodies aim to promote liberalism by supporting trade negotiations, reducing tariff and promoting free trade globally (Gallagher, 2005). Bagwell and Staiger (2002) states that given the right factors, these supranational establishments provide the right framework for global cooperation and interaction.

The emergence and dominance of such associations and unions in recent times largely emphasizes the role of liberalism in international political economics.

Therefore, judging by the major research question in this paper, has the emergence of liberalism through free trade organizations and economic unions, confirmed Krasner’s view on trade openness and shift in the balance of power?

5.Discussion

Based on existing literature and empirical evidence, it can be assumed that the WTO is the new proposed supranational body that governs the process of trade between its 143 member states. This significantly reduces the single power of each member state, and encourages mutual agreements and negotiations based on the objective of promoting free trade. It is indisputable that WTO has greatly promoted world trade since its inception, and that it has also given a number of developing countries such as China and India, the opportunity to join the global economy with the aim of promoting economic growth and aggregate national income.

a.Political Power

The increasing power and global acceptance of the WTO has significantly reduced the state political power of each member states, and its ability to impose tariffs and discriminate against imported goods. Thereby promoting international trade beyond levels witnessed prior to its establishment.

In the advent that any participating member intends to impose a protectionist embargo on its domestic products or services, in a bid to save that industry, a member country of the WTO could file a dispute opposing those roles (WTO, 2009). Member countries that aim to adopt a realist approach in protecting domestic industries have seen their powers greatly reduced by the liberalism that constitutes globalization and free trade. This curb in state power has predominantly been seen as a major consequence of globalization. The ability to control the economies of the state, once an autonomous activity, is now based on the consideration of foreign, as well as local political and economical factors.

b. Social Stability

Trade openness usually results in an influx of foreign competitors and businesses that need human labour. The opening up of borders to international trade in countries that do not necessarily have the technological know how or human capital education to produce globally competitive products and services could lead to a social instability whereby labour is insufficient or lacks technical understanding. Thus confirming Krasner’s (1979) theory that openness creates more social instability in developing countries, as opposed to developed countries.

China for instance, in the wake of joining WTO has seen a shortfall in agricultural output and a rise in manufacturing output (Bagwell and Staiger, 2002). Local manufactures are unable to compete effectively against foreign companies as Chinese companies lack to relevant technological know how and brand awareness in order to compete effectively in global markets, thereby putting it at a disadvantage. Foreign companies, laden with these resources, could therefore enter into the Chinese or Indonesian or Malaysian economy, with international brands and claim market share away from indigenous companies. The state, unable to exert protectionism or impose tariffs on foreign products is therefore powerless and unable to protect its industries.

This occurrence is not limited to just South Asia. The emergence of China, as the ideal location to manufacture products cheaper, and also the emergence of India as an emerging technological services economy, has seen these jobs and industries gradually disappearing from developed countries such as the UK, EU and also the US. Manufacturing output in the UK has continuously accounted for a decreasing portion of national GDP since 1960 (ONS, 2009). Though US and EU economies can impose bans and subsidies for their agricultural industry, it may not be so viable in manufacturing. They have therefore had to succumb to international trade agreements and allowed the trade of cheaper Asian products in their economies, at the detriment of the once thriving manufacturing sectors (Krasner, 2009).

However it is not all bad news for large developed countries. The fall in manufacturing output within these regions, has led to a rise in the service sector industry and also a rise in its export. UK services export has grown in recent years to 70% of Nominal GDP (ONS, 2009), and is increasingly becoming predominant especially in regions like India and China. It could therefore be argued that increasing global trade may have led to comparative advantage in these regions, whereby China with a huge number of human capital would be able to effectively attain world dominance in manufacturing output, while the UK and US with their technological supremacy, could maintain their competences in service based industries and intellectual properties.

On the other hand, it seems like these arguments of social stability and industrial dominance can only be applied to large developed and developing countries. How about those countries in South America or in Africa that have opened up their borders to international trade as a purported means to attain economic growth and aggregate national incomeHave they enjoyed the benefits of globalization as the UK, US and China have?

c.Effects of Trade Openness on Developing countries

A state’s decision to open up its borders to free international trade has its advantages and disadvantages. One the plus side, it results in an increasing amount of foreign direct investments (FDI) in particular industries within the developing country (Robinson, 2001). Governments and indigenous corporations value FDIs as they lead to an increased economic growth and aggregate national income within the country. They also positively affect infrastructure development in the forms of schools, hospital and roads. Such global investments also tend to introduce new technologies into the economy that aim to increase productivity and therefore the competitiveness of the companies within the developing country (Bagwell and Staiger, 2002)

However, a number of disadvantages also exist, such as promotion of particular industries such as financial services and manufacturing, and the lack of support for non-competitive industries such as Agriculture. This could result in a diversion of budget funds towards the growth of international profitable sectors, while leaving out sectors that are thoroughly essential for social health and standard of living.

Also the increasing competition from market entry of foreign competitors would severely impair the competitive advantage of indigenous firms, if they do not possess the key factors for success that are essential to compete against global companies. A lack of competitive advantage could result in a divergence in population preference from locally produced goods, to international products. Thereby resulting in trade deficit – increasing import relative to export (Krasner, 2009).

This occurrence seems to concur with Krasner’s assertion that trade openness furthers the rate of growth of large developed countries with advanced technologies and economies, as they do not necessarily have to protect infant industries from global competition and can also take advantage of the global world market. Though the general effects of free trade and globalization illustrate that developed and developing countries would be exposed to the threat of market entry and international competition, “it is only by maintaining technological lead and continually developing new industries can even a large state escape the undesired consequences of an entirely open economic system” (Krasner, 1976).

This analysis seems contrasting with the predominant liberalist philosophy in that free trade promotes a mutual environment for all companies to trade freely and exchange products and services. What then happens to the developing countries that would be ridden with imported goods and services, but would not necessarily possess the industrial capacity that enables their industrial advancement or technology to compete effectively against international competitionShould they therefore succumb and be left with no indigenous products or services.

6.Conclusion

Based on the review of existing literatures outlined in this paper and developments that have occurred since the establishment of the WTO, it can be confirmed that trade openness does result in a shift of power towards to few developed countries such as the EU, US, India and China that have the technological, economical or socio-cultural capabilities to compete effectively in the international market. The US may still have global hegemonic powers, due to its relative military and economic size, but its influence over globalization is increasingly being reduced by other countries and unions such as China, India and the EU, which possess valuable resources in manpower, technology and capital.

However, developing countries such as Latin America, other Asian countries and Africa are left at a disadvantage, as they may not necessarily possess the relevant resources necessary to compete in the global economy. They are therefore left at the mercy liberalist transnational companies, trading under the auspice of ‘Free Trade’, who have relieved the state of its control over its political and economic climate, and therefore invaded these developing nations with its goods and services.

Developments in world trade since 1995 therefore confirm Stephen Krasner’s theory that trade openness has resulted in a shift in power from developing countries to developed countries.

7.References

Bagwell, K. and Staiger, R. W. (2002) The Economics of the World Trading System, The MIT Press.

BBC (2009) Profile: World Trade Organization, www.news.bbc.co.uk

Cohen, B. J. (2008) International Political Economy: an intellectual history, Princeton University Press, 210pp

Drabek, Z. and Laird, S. (1997) The New Liberalism: Trade Policy Developments in Emerging Markets, WTO Research and Analysis: Working Papers, ERAD-97-07

Frieden, J. A. and Lake, D. A. (2000) International Political Economy: Perspectives on global power and wealth, Routledge, 485pp

Gallagher, P. (2005) The first ten years of the WTO: 1995-2005, Cambridge University Press, 244pp

Hoekman, B., and Kostecki, M. (1995) The Political Economy of the World Trading System, Oxford University Press

Katzenstein, P. J., Keohane, P. O., and Krasner, S. D. (1999) Exploration and contestation in the study of world politics, MIT Press, 421pp

Kegley, C. W. (2008) World Politics: Trend and Transformation, Cengage Learning, 636pp

Krasner, S. D. (1976) State Power and the Structure of International trade, World Politics, Vol. 28 (3) pp 317 – 347

Krasner, S. D. (2009) Power, the state, and sovereignty: essays on international relations, Taylor & Francis, 314pp

Moravcsik, A. (1997) Taking Preferences Seriously: A Liberal Theory of International Politics, International Organizations, Vol. 51 (4), pp. 513 – 553

Office of National Statistics (2009) Index of Production: October shows 8.4% annual fall, www.statistics.gov.uk

Robinson, W. I. (2001) Social theory and globalisation: The rise of a transitional state, Theory and Society, Vol. 30, pp157 – 200

Underhill, G. R. (2000) State, Market and Global Political Economy: Genealogy of an (inter-?) discipline, International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-) Vol. 76 (4), pp805-824

WTO (2009) What is the World Trade Organization, www.wto.org

WTO (2005) Trade Growth in 2005 to slow from record 2004 pace, WTO: 2005 Press Releases, 27/10/2005, www.wto.org

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Free Essays

Politics Essay: Margaret Thatcher’s Domestic Reforms

Which features of Margaret Thatcher’s domestic reforms (1979-1990), if any, are still prevalent in present-day Britain?

The echoes of Margaret Thatcher spirit still reverberate in the Conservative-Liberal coalition. There are key aspects of domestic policy introduced by Margaret Thatcher which retain a profound influence on the politics of today. Underpinning all of the domestic agenda in 1979 and 2010 is the spending cuts and the remarkable parallels between Geoffrey Howe’s and George Osborne’s budgets. In the coalition government’s plans for the privatisation of Royal Mail and their programme for the welfare state distinct parallels can be drawn with the Thatcher government’s domestic reforms between 1979 and 1990. On the other hand, there are also distinct areas which have seen the coalition break significantly with Thatcher, most notably in the areas of crime and trade unions. I intend to contrast the new coalition Government’s manifesto and record so far with the Thatcher era and elicit how profoundly the domestic reforms initiated by Thatcher are still prevalent today in modern politics across the political divide.

It is no coincidence that Andrew Grice, the political editor of the Independent, wrote an article in the aftermath of the 2010 budget entitled “Has Osborne just completed the Thatcherite Revolution?”[1] The parallels between 1979 and 2010 are irresistible: A dismal economic inheritance from a Labour Party perceived by the Conservatives to be running the country to ruin by attempting to spend their way out of horrendous structural problems in the economy. Although the global economic crisis precipitated by the sub-prime mortgage crisis in America can be distinguished from the sterling crisis which culminated in the loan from the International Monetary Fund in 1976[2], the task facing the coalition and how they have tackled the huge budget deficit is reminiscent of Thatcher. This strikingly similar economic approach has provided the forum for Thatcher’s domestic policies to flourish once again and find expression in many of the coalition’s policies. Referring to 1979, Nigel Lawson, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer in Thatcher’s Government and then financial secretary, aptly sums up the task which his party resolved to tackle in 1979 and to make: “a decisive start to the process of reducing the deficit, and to do so entirely by cutting government spending”[3].

The budget deficits in 1979 and 2010 saw the respective Government’s advocate a rejection of Keynesianism. Both periods saw a brutal reduction in public spending yet one of the more familiar of Keynes’ insights is that during a recession the Government deficit should be increased to create the demand that would reinvigorate the economy. Consequently the ideological parallels adopted by the coalition and by the Thatcher government in cutting the budget deficits have enabled Thatcher’s domestic reforms to once again be prevalent in British society. Without such an atmosphere of economic difficulty, it is questionable whether any government with a budget surplus would follow such domestic reforms as privatisation or drastic reform of the welfare state.

Privatisation was, in Peter Riddell’s own words, “the jewel in the crown of the Government’s legislative programme[4]”. Harold Macmillan, in his speech to the Tory Reform Group on 8th November 1985, put it slightly differently: “First of all the Georgian silver goes, and then all the nice furniture that used to be in the saloon. Then the Canalettos go.”[5] In the decade after Margaret Thatcher came to power about two-fifths of the previously state-owned industries were sold to the private sector. These striking innovations changed the boundaries between the private and the public sector fundamentally. But what is left to privatise?[6]

There is the Royal Mail, which escaped plans to part-privatise it during the Labour government[7], but which has now been targeted by the coalition as being ripe for full privatisation. That both sides of the political divide have expressed a desire to privatise the Royal Mail to some extent is testament to the enduring legacy of privatisation started under Thatcher. As Hugo Young, the Guardian’s former political commentator, remarks: “the privatizing of productive business will never be reversed”[8].

Indeed the privatisation jewel was not reversed during Tony Blair’s Government and he has been described by Anthony Seldon as not possessing “the visceral hatred of privatisation of those on the left of his party”[9]. It must be noted that although the attempt in 2009 to part-privatise the Royal Mail was met with a revolt by 120 Labour backbenchers, forcing Lord Mandelson to abandon his plans, the lack of credible bidders for the proposed stake of 30% appears to be the real nail in the coffin. Although the coalition agreement does not explicitly state that the Royal Mail will be privatised, it would appear that the reality of the budget deficit, as Geoffrey Howe realised in 1979, and the need to raise capital has forced the hand of the coalition in privatising the Royal Mail.[10]

A postal services bill is currently making its way through Parliament, having been introduced on the 13th October, received its second reading on the 27th October and having reached the Committee stage on the 9th of November[11]. The four parts of the bill reveal that up to 90% is being sold off but in reality a trade-off is being sought between the Lib-Dem manifesto commitment of 49% part privatisation and the 100% sought by the Conservative party.

The welfare state was also a centrepiece of Margaret Thatcher’s domestic reforms. It has been observed that “Mrs Thatcher’s social mission was equally clear cut: roll back excessive state activity and bureaucracy and let individuals stand on their own two feet”[12]. Much has been made of the welfare state during this time and perhaps Max Hastings, who argued that the policies during this time were designed to undo the perceived excesses of the 1960s, describes the situation most aptly: “Some of us were increasingly troubled by the absence of concern in the government’s policies and rhetoric for the underclass – this, at a time when there were well over three million unemployed.”[13]

The welfare state is the natural target for the right wing for two reasons: “First, because it allegedly generates even higher tax levels, budget deficits, disincentives to work and save, and a bloated class of unproductive workers. Second, because it encourages ‘soft’ attitudes towards crime, immigrants, the idle, the feckless, strikers, the sexually aberrant and so forth.”[14] Reitan notes that when Margaret Thatcher came to power she was a vehement critic of the welfare state for two reasons. Firstly she considered it as being too expensive and wasteful and secondly that it detracted from individual initiative and responsibility[15]. Perhaps one of Thatcher’s most enduring policies in this area is the right to buy for council house tenants. Reitan observes that this resulted in one million families or individuals becoming landowners. This success came at a price for many though as it saw them mired in the ‘negative equity’ caused by over-inflated prices from a distorted property market. The Labour party continued to support the right to buy and this can be described accurately as a domestic policy which is still very much prevalent in modern Britain. It must be noted though that the right to buy is being reviewed by the coalition government[16]. Nevertheless this is one key policy aspect which has survived into modern times intact and which bridges the political divide.

A key theme of Margaret Thatcher’s government was of targeting welfare to the most needy in society. Seldon & Collings describe the policy on welfare: “Successive reforms of the social security system progressively tightened the eligibility rules for unemployment benefit. Means-testing was extended while payouts from insurance based benefits were restricted, and the level of the popular universal benefit paid to parents (child benefit) was frequently frozen year on year.”[17] The coalition government has gone further than the Thatcher government on child benefit by scrapping it for higher rate taxpayers. This meteoric leap goes far beyond what the Thatcher government contemplated. Despite this, the ideological attack on the welfare state, which was originated by Margaret Thatcher, is gathering pace and has found expression in the coalition government’s plans and policies on welfare. The radical welfare reforms proposed by Ian Duncan Smith include simplifying the system comprehensively by replacing all benefits with one means-tested universal benefit which will subsume all by 2017 (including child benefit)[18].

Finally Helen Fawcett suggests that the single most important contribution by Thatcher was to change the way in which benefits were “uprated or increased on a regular basis”[19] by announcing that they would be increased in line with prices and not in line with increases in average earnings. This meant that the basic pension has progressively lost value whereas it had doubled from 1948 to the 80’s. The coalition agreement however, indicates that the earnings link for the basic pension will be restored in 2011 with a triple guarantee that pensions are raised by the higher of earnings, prices or 2.5%[20].

In the areas of crime and the trade unions it would appear that Thatcher’s reforms are not so prevalent in modern politics. Regarding crime Douglas Hurd, then Home Secretary, summarises the stance of the Government: “On some issues, such as the poor quality of police leadership, she let me have her strong views. In general I realised that she favoured a tough line and strong penalties”[21] The Criminal Justice Bill of 1986, a reaction to the horrific race riots in Brixton and London, Birmingham and Liverpool, demonstrated the Thatcher administration’s determination to tackle crime in a very heavy handed manner. Reitan describes the changes brought about by the Bill:

“It provided for longer sentences, compensation to victims of crime, limitation on defense challenges to jurors, and privacy for children called to testify in child abuse cases. The Public Order Act of the same year gave the police new powers and resources for riot control. It reflected the view of many Conservatives that a strong hand was necessary to deal with the volatile populations of the central cities.”[22]

The coalition government’s proposals on crime are liberal. Kenneth Clarke, the justice secretary, has argued powerfully that “too often prison has proved a costly and ineffectual approach that fails to turn criminals into law-abiding citizens”[23]. Furthermore, the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill which is currently making its way through Parliament will make police more accountable and restore the right to non-violent protest around Parliament. Budgetary cuts to the police force are also a break from the past[24] and emphasize the change in ideology from Thatcher to David Cameron in 2010. Finally programmes contracted out to private companies will be an alternative to sentencing, although this has been attacked by some on the left as a part-privatisation of the judiciary[25]. So even though the policy is liberal, it could be argued that the economics behind it are reminiscent of Thatcher.

Thatcher’s battles with the trade unions are well documented. A clear reduction in the political power of trade unions was one of her key objectives and she is widely acknowledged to have succeeded in bringing unions back within the scope of the civil law by enacting incremental legislation such as the Employment Acts of 1980, 1982 and 1988 which among other things, made unions liable for damages incurred during a strike unless a majority had been secured by secret ballot[26]. David Cameron has actively sought the support of the unions and has so far resisted powerful calls from Boris Johnson[27] and David Davis[28] to tear up strike laws and make it more difficult to strike.

In conclusion there are certainly key aspects of Margaret Thatcher’s domestic reforms which are still very prevalent in society today. Overshadowing all is the similarity in approach to cutting the budget and the rejection of Keynesianism. In terms of privatisation and the welfare state Thatcher has left an indelible mark on British Society which has found powerful expression in the coalition government and their actions so far. Areas such as crime and trade unions however are moving in a different direction and Thatcher’s reforms in these areas have been slowly eroded down the years by the successive Labour government’s and even under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.

Bibliography

Books:

Collings, Daniel & Seldon, Anthony ‘Britainunder Thatcher’ Longman 2000

Hall & Jacques (ed) ‘The politics of Thatcherism’ Lawrence and Wishart 1983

Hastings, Max ‘Editor’ Pan Books 2002

Hollowell, Jonathan (ed) ‘Britainsince 1945’ Blackwell 2003

Howe, Geoffrey ‘Conflict of Loyalty’ Pan books 1995 p.255

Hurd,Douglas‘Memoirs’ Little, Brown 2003

Lawson, Nigel “The view from No.11” Bantam Press 1992

Reitan, A.Earl ‘The Thatcher Revolution’ Rowan & Littlefield Publishers 2003

Riddell, Peter ‘The Thatcher Era and its Legacy’ Blackwell 1991

Seldon, Anthony ‘Blair’ Free Press 2004 p.102-3

Jones, Kavanagh, Moran & Norton ‘PoliticsUK’ Pearson 2004

Young, Hugo ‘Supping with the Devils’ Atlantic Books London 2003 p. 16

Websites:

(1) http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/6374543/privatization-revisited.thtml

(2) http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/jul/01/royal-mail-mandelson-part-privatisation

(3) http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/politics/echoes-of-thatcher-as-coalition-scraps-free-infant-milk-1.1046708[1]

(4) http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/andrew-grice/andrew-grice-has-osborne-just-completed-the-thatcherite-revolution-not-that-hed-ever-want-to-admit-it-2113427.html

(5) http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/6374543/privatization-revisited.thtml

(6) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/borisjohnson/8041101/Boris-Johnson-calls-for-change-in-strike-laws.html

(7) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1326826/Cameron-told-Rip-outdated-union-laws-rival-David-Davis.html

(8) http://leftsideoflife.com/

(9) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/conservative/8047588/Child-benefit-to-be-replaced-by-means-tested-universal-credit-by-2017.html

(10) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/conservative/8047588/Child-benefit-to-be-replaced-by-means-tested-universal-credit-by-2017.html

(11) http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/sep/16/right-to-buy-rethink

[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/andrew-grice/andrew-grice-has-osborne-just-completed-the-thatcherite-revolution-not-that-hed-ever-want-to-admit-it-2113427.html

[2] Lawson, Nigel “The view from No.11” Bantam Press 1992 p.27

[3] Lawson, Nigel “The view from No.11” Bantam Press 1992 p.31

[4] Lawson, Nigel “The view from No.11” Bantam Press 1992 p.197

[5] Riddell, Peter ‘The Thatcher Era And its Legacy’ Blackwell 1991 p.87

[6] http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/6374543/privatization-revisited.thtml

[7] http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/jul/01/royal-mail-mandelson-part-privatisation

[8] Young, Hugo ‘Supping with the Devils’ Atlantic Books London 2003 p. 16

[9] Seldon, Anthony ‘Blair’ Free Press 2004 p.102-3

[10] Howe, Geoffrey ‘Conflict of Loyalty’ Pan books 1995 p.255

[11]http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-11/postalservices.html

[12] Collings, Daniel & Seldon, Anthony ‘Britain under Thatcher’ Longman 2000 p.70

[13]Hastings, Max ‘Editor’ Pan Books 2002 p.163

[14] Hall, Stuart & Jacques, Martin ‘The politics of Thatcherism’ Lawrence and Wishart 1983 p.156

[15] Reitan, A.Earl ‘The Thatcher Revolution’ Rowan & Littlefield Publishers 2003 p.98

[16] http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/sep/16/right-to-buy-rethink

[17] Collings, Daniel & Seldon, Anthony ‘Britain under Thatcher’ Longman 2000 p.71

[18] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/conservative/8047588/Child-benefit-to-be-replaced-by-means-tested-universal-credit-by-2017.html

[19] Hollowell, Jonathan (ed) ‘Britain since 1945’ Blackwell 2003 p.452

[20] http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/may/20/coalition-government-agreement-cameron-clegg

[21] Hurd,Douglas ‘Memoirs’ Little, Brown 2003 p. 341

[22] Reitan, A.Earl ‘The Thatcher Revolution’ Rowan & Littlefield Publishers 2003 p.109

[23] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/7862003/Kenneth-Clarke-Fewer-criminals-will-go-to-prison.html

[24] Jones, Kavanagh, Moran & Norton ‘Politics UK’ Pearson 2004 p.623

[25] http://leftsideoflife.com/

[26] Collings, Daniel & Seldon, Anthony ‘Britain under Thatcher’ Longman 2000 p.69

[27] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/borisjohnson/8041101/Boris-Johnson-calls-for-change-in-strike-laws.html

[28] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1326826/Cameron-told-Rip-outdated-union-laws-rival-David-Davis.html

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Dissertation Topics in Politics

1. Introduction to Politics Dissertations

This guide is designed to provide ideas about possible topics related to the study of contemporary politics and government. In general, dissertation for politics can combine a variety of research methods, and the format may vary according to the research aims of your paper. A combination of primary and secondary sources is possible as well.

2. Categories and suggested topics

Note: Some of the dissertation titles are accompanied by notes in italics

2.1 Electoral systems

2.1.1 Electoral systems and representative democracy – a comparative study between majoritarian/pluralist and proportional representation systems (the student can choose United Kingdom, which has FPTP system and Romania, which has PR).

2.1.2 Extremist and proportional representation systems. Analytical study of three countries from Eastern Europe (or any other European country with far right parties, for example France)

2.1.3 First Past the Post and electoral participation in the United Kingdom. Analytical Study (How does the type of electoral system affect the levels of electoral participation in developed societiesYou can choose a particular country, for example the UK and examine changing patters of electoral participation in the last three decades for example)

2.1.4 Social capital and political participation in the United States. Analytical Study

2.1.5 Electoral systems and ethnic/religious/social diversity: the case of Romania (or Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia).

2.2. The legislature and the executive

2.2.1. Compare and contrast the powers of the legislative and executive in presidential and parliamentary system of government. (You can choose to assess the impact of these differences in terms of foreign policy/domestic policy. You can also choose two particular countries to use as examples)

2.2.2. Democracy in parliamentary and presidential republics. Comparative study (Are parliamentary republics more democratic compared to presidential onesWhyWhy notComparative study, choose any two countries)

2.2.3 The executive, the legislative and US foreign policy (How does the distribution of political power between the legislative/executive affect the efficiency of the United States in foreign affairsCould be any country of your choice)

2.2.4 Bicameralism and unicameralism- a comparative study of democracy in the United Kingdom and Hungary. (Is bicameralism more representative as a model, compared to unicameralismWhyWhy notComparative study of two countries)

2.2.5 Presidential systems in former communist countries – the case of Russia and Georgia (Do you find any connection between the choice of presidential systems in former communist systems such as Russia or Georgia and their communist past, can be a comparative study, as well as analytical one)

2.3 Parties

2.3.1 Party system and cleavages: the case of Italy (Does the party system reflect existing cleavages within a society or artificially create themYou can choose countries from Eastern Europe as well).

2.3.2 Use and Abuse of religion in American politics (Why does religion seem to be more divisive issue in America than in EuropeDiscuss how religion is abused for religious purposes; discuss the transformation of religious discourses into political ones. You can compare and contrast two countries – for example Italy and the United States, or you can just stick to the US).

2.3.3 Parties and political marketing in the United Kingdom (Modern parties do not represent the people: Rather they market their ideas to a sceptical public. Do you agreeHave parties lost their ideological base)

2.3.4 Electoral systems and political extremism in developed societies – the case of France (To what extent should extremist views be represented in a stable party systemTo extent is this related to the electoral system of a given country?)

2.3.5. Ideology versus competence – the decline of party legitimacy in developed societies. Analytical study (In terms of political parties, assess the importance of ideology versus competence in developed societies)

2.3.6 Transition from polarized to moderate pluralism: the case of Italy (The change of electoral system in Italy in the early 1990s enhanced its transition from polarized to moderate pluralism. Discuss)

2.4. Interest groups in contemporary politics

2.4.1 The future of interest groups: Corporatism versus Pluralism

2.4.2 Interest groups and democracy in Romania (To what extent are interest groups a measure for democracy in developed countriesUse a specific country as an example)

2.4.3 Interest groups and modern governments – collaboration or coercion(Do interest groups help or hinder the work of modern governmentsChoose a specific country)

2.4.4 Unionism and the welfare state in the United Kingdom. (You can observe how this relation has been changing during the mandates of two Prime Ministers – Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair for example)

2.5 Political communication and the role of mass media in politics

2.5.1 ‘War on terror’ in US Media. (Assess the role of the media and its impact on public opinion, the formation of discourses and policies)

2.6 Political ideology

2.6.1 Neo-fascism and extreme right parties in Europe: A comparative study of Bulgaria and France (Are extreme right parties neo-fascistYou can choose Bulgaria, Romania and Macedonia as your examples from Eastern Europe, and the United Kingdom and France for your Western European one).

2.6.2 The future of liberalism and the crisis of parliamentary democracy: The case of Greece

2.6.3 Conservatism and social reform: a comparative study between the United Kingdom and the United States

2.6.4 Modern dictatorships and political ideology: Comparative study between Chavez’s Venezuela and Quadaffi’s Libya

2.6.5 Islam and government reform in Saudi Arabia

3. How to Structure a Politics Dissertation, Tips

For details on how to structure a politics dissertation, kindly check out the following post:

How to Structure a dissertation (chapters)
How to structure a dissertation (chapters and subchapters)
How to structure a dissertation research proposal

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Are states the only relevant conceptual actors in world politics?

Introduction: Theoretical Polarity

Conceptualizing the contemporary dynamics of world politics on the basis of a theoretical meso – level analysis, the relevance of state versus other non-state actors in the international political arena can be perceived in multiple ways. Promoting a highly state-centric vision of international relations, classical realist academics would imply that modern, market oriented and interest driven nation-states are indeed the only relevant actors in world politics. On the other side of the theoretical spectrum however, the liberal school of thought would oppose that the realist “neglect of actor variation and diversity” renders an incomplete and inaccurate reflection of the empirical reality (Mansbach and Vasquez, 1981:26), endorsing instead a cooperative model of international and transnational channels of interaction between state and non-state actors. The answer to the question of whether states can be perceived as the only relevant actors in world politics, or whether a more holistic framing of the contemporary international systems is necessary to accurately reflect on the actors and dynamics of the global political arena, therefore depends on the theoretical perspective adopted.

As mentioned, based on a conceptual meso – level analysis indicating the group – organization level that falls between the micro and macro analytical levels and which encompasses the formation of modern-day states, this essay will focus on the contention between the two main ideological approaches, Realism and Liberalism, highlighting key aspects of the traditional perspectives and their conceptual polarity on the issue of relevant actors in international relations. Emphasizing the ubiquitous increase in numbers and importance of non-state actors engaging with and influencing world politics, the essay will conclude by prioritizing the Liberal approaches to state activism, as more reflective of the contemporary power relations and complex negotiations at play on the global level.

Realism, Liberalism and State Relevance

As mentioned, the two traditional approaches in international relations are Realism/neo-Realism and Liberalism/neo-Liberalism. Having developed along opposite sides of the theoretical spectrum, due to their ontological and epistemological differences and disagreements on the appropriateness of deductive versus inductive methodology in political science (Landman, 2008:17), both Realism and Liberalism offer diverging views on the empirical reality of international politics. To make sense of this plurality, Lim (2006) compares the traditions to “looking through different sunglasses”, whereby “different lenses allow us to focus on different aspects of the same larger reality” (2006:68). Even though both perspectives have now taken steps to acknowledge the weaknesses of their traditions by integrating aspects from other areas, as demonstrated for example in Waltz’s neo-realist ‘Theory of International Relations’ (1979) or Keohane and Nye’s neo-liberal ‘Power and Interdependence’ (1977), the problem more or less endures as academics persist that their ‘lenses’ and ‘realities’ are more appropriate, reflective and reliable (Lim, 2006:67).

Upholding that the international political system can be perceived on the basis of inter-state relations, realist academics promote a state-centric anarchical world view. As Hans Morgenthau explicates in his book ‘Politics among Nations’ (1948), Realism is based on the assumptions of rationality, national sovereignty and interests, and pursuit of power. Defined against and in opposition to Idealism, Realism portrays the international system as an arena of “anarchy” and “extreme inequality of nations” (Morgenthau, 1948:8), whereby a balance of power and relative peace are only achieved through continual state struggle for power and acquisition of military strength against one another. Conceived as rational sovereign interest-maximizers, operating on a calculated cost-benefit basis, states are primarily concerned with security issues, pursuing their national military interests to safeguard power and control over their territory. In extension therefore, as states are the only units that possess the capacity to acquire and exercise power, they are deemed as the only relevant conceptual actors in world politics (Geeraerts, 1995). International institutions are then perceived as mere instruments, emulating hegemonic power politics abroad (Cox, 1981).

However, with the recent large-scale shifts in power relations, decentralisation and “transit to a new power equilibrium” caused predominantly by globalization and transnationalization processes of the 21st century (Cederman, 1997:4), liberal and neo-liberal critics have opposed the above highlighted view, contending that a narrow state-centric view is no longer valid and cannot account for the complex, interconnected and multi-faceted nature of global governance. Promoting a more optimistic depiction of the international system, the liberal school refutes realist theory as endorsing the Cold war status-quo and legitimizing immoral behaviour. Emphasizing instead the fundamental changes in the structure of the international system, from the surge of non-governmental organizations campaigning on a range of social, environmental and cultural issues other than security, to the recognition of state-less nations as significant actors in world politics, liberal academics suggest that traditional nation-states are succumbing to so-called ‘hollowing out’ processes, as the post-Westphalian balance of power disseminates across multiple layers and disperses among range of variegated actors. The state hence loses its hegemonic position as the main actor in world politics engaging in, at times cooperative, at times coercive, power play with diverse non-state actors and forces, ranging from civil society groups and non-governmental organisations to private market actors (Geeraerts, 1995).

This however is not to say that under Liberalism, states are no longer relevant actors in world politics. Instead, what results is a novel political model of “complex interdependence” (Keohane and Nye, 1977:24), whereby the “new world overlaps and rests on the traditional world” in which power is shared between geographically dependent state actors and fluid non-governmental actors with equal significance (Keohane and Nye, 1998:82).

Conclusion

Reinforced by demonstrable evidence from current international affairs, where state power is continuously challenged by community groups and activists from bottom-up, as well as top-down by international global governance bodies, this essay sides with the latter liberal view, suggesting that the 21st Century dynamics of word politics provide space and opportunities for a variety of actors other than states. While the number of politically-engaged non-governmental and community-based organization has grown rapidly in the past decade, transnational events and movements, such as the anti-globalisation protests of the 1970s or the so-called ‘Arab Spring’, have had significant impact on influencing the policy process and raising awareness of global issues. Granting limited attention to the diversity of non-state actors and self-regulating economic processes, the realist theory therefore proves inaccurate in maintaining that states are the only relevant conceptual actors in world politics.

Bibliography

1)Buzan, B. (1996) ‘The timeless wisdom if Realism’ in Smith, S. et al (ed) International Theory: Positivism and Beyond. UK, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2)Cederman, L., E. (1997) Emergent Actors in World Politics. USA, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

3)Cox, R. (1981) ‘Social Forces, States, and World Order’ in Millennium, 10(2), pp. 128 – 130.

4)Geeraerts, G. (1995) ‘Analysing Non-State Actors in World Politics’ in Pole Paper Series, 1(4). Available at: http://poli.vub.ac.be/publi/pole-papers/pole0104.htm.

5)Higgott, R., A. et al (2000) Non-State Actors and Authority in the Global System. UK, London: Routledge.

6)Keohane, R., O. and Nye, J., S. (1977) Power and Interdependence. Glenview: Scott Foresman.

7)Keohane, R., O. and Nye, J., S. (1998) ‘Power and interdependence in the information age’ in Foreign Affairs, 77(5), pp. 81 – 94.

8)Landman, T. (2008) Issues and Methods in Comparative Politics. UK, London: Routledge.

9)Lim, T., C. (2006) Doing Comparative Politics: An introduction to Approaches and Issues. UK, London: Lynne Rienner Publishers Inc.

10)Mansbach, R., W. and Vasquez, J., A. (1981) In Search of Theory: A New Paradigm for Global Politics. USA, New York: Columbia University Press.

11)Morgenthau, H. (1948) Politics Among Nations. USA, New York: Alfred Knopf.

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Are states the only relevant conceptual actors in world politics?

This research paper intends to question whether states are the only relevant conceptual actors in world politics by analysing realist and liberal accounts of international relations theory. It also seeks to argue that globalisation has heightened the relevancy of non-state actors within international relations discourse, arguing that the role of non-state actors must be taken more seriously by scholars. It will argue that there are many non-state actors that are relevant conceptual actors in world politics and that state-centric approaches are insufficient for gaining more nuanced analyses
of world politics.

Introduction

There are numerous ways to approach this central research question but fundamentally there is a need to analyse realist and liberal accounts of international relations theory. There are of course many examples of non-state actors that are relevant in international relations. These are international organisations like the United Nations, regional institutions like the European Union, transnational corporations like Starbucks and international non-governmental organisations like Oxfam. Terrorist networks like Al-Qaeda, and drug and human traffickers are also transnational in nature and are relevant conceptual actors in world politics. It is important to remember that the big contemporary challenges that face states are not limited to them; but require at the least some form of integration and cooperation, for example, trans-boundary haze pollution across the Indonesian archipelago, Malaysia and Singapore requires responses and problem solving mechanisms across all three countries.

Globalisation

Inter-state relations have traditionally been at the heart of international relations analysis. However, it will be argued that there has been increasing relevancy of other actors in world politics during the second half of the twentieth century. This research paper will argue that this relevancy has been heightened in many ways by what has been termed the third wave of globalisation since the 1980s. Within an era of globalisation it is essential to understand the importance of the role of transnational corporations (instantly synonymous with global brands like Starbucks).
Globalisation has been defined as ‘the intensification of world wide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa’ (Giddens 1990:64). Economic globalisation in the form of free trade has meant that transnational corporations have flourished and profited from unregulated markets (arguably at the expense of the global south). Within the liberal-pluralist paradigm globalisation has been characterised by increasing interdependence; a characterisation, it has been argued, that realists are ill-equipped to deal with. This sentiment has been reinforced by Mansbach and Vasquez, who have argued that realism has supplied ‘a narrow and incomplete description and explanation of world affairs’ (Mansbach and Vasquez 1981: 6).

Realism

Classical realism is the oldest theory of international relations, and one that has subsequently dominated international relations analysis. It has been suggested that ‘rationality and state-centrism are frequently identified as core realist premises’ (Donnelly 2009: 32). The realist understanding of world politics assumes, in the tradition of Machiavelli and Hobbes, that men are by nature egotistical and act selfishly. The personification of states, coupled with the notion that international society is anarchic (as there is no central authority in the form of a world government) has meant the assertion that states act primarily in their own self-interest has dominated our understanding of world politics. It has been noted that ‘the pursuit of hegemony and world conquest by Nazism had put into question the effectiveness of international institutions and stressed the role of power in world politics’ (Geeraerts: 2009). It was ultimately a rejection of liberal institutionalism that popularised realism within the field of international relations. Young has argued that realism is founded on ‘essentially homogenous political systems with regard to type of actor’ (Young 1972: 126). Realists
essentially see international organisations as instruments of states. The United Nations, for example, is only a sum of its parts and is not above states; but is in essence a club of states unable to stop powerful actor’s interests. International law, for example, did very little in deterring Tony Blair from invading Iraq.

Liberalism

Of course membership of international society is not optional, as ‘states cannot alter their geographic location; territories cannot be made to go away’ (Knutsen 1997: 3), and although there is no world government; liberal institutionalists have argued that ‘cooperation between states can be organized and formalized in institutions’ (Burchill 2009: 66). Liberal institutionalists have advocated that ‘conflict between states would be reduced by creating a common interest in trade and economic collaboration among members of the same geographical region’ (Burchill 2009: 66). A prominent example of this can be seen in the establishment of the European Union. This post second world war project can therefore be conceptualised as the desire to end conflict through political and economic integration. Although not a unified school of thought the pluralist conception of international relations provided an alternative approach to state-centrism. Keohane and Nye concluded that ‘the state is not necessarily the only important actor in world politics nor the gatekeeper between intra-societal and extra-societal flows of actions’ (Geeraerts: 2009). Liberalism has essentially argued that statecentric approaches are ill-equipped to deal with the complexities of world politics.

Conclusion

Historically international relations as an academic discipline has been concerned with inter-state relations. However, contemporary international relations discourse has become increasingly aware of the prevalence and importance of non-state actors in world politics. ‘The rise of these transnationally organised non-state actors and their growing involvement in world politics challenge the assumptions of traditional approaches to international relations which assume that states are the only important units of the international system’ (Geeraerts: 2009). This of course is not to suggest that states are no longer important or useful in international relations analyses but increasingly other actors need to be understood to provide more nuanced analyses. It has been argued that ‘the world polity is in the process of self-transformation – out of the traditional nation-state system and into a system more congruent with the contemporary global polyarchy’ (Brown 1995: 268). The world is changing and international relations must be equipped to understand the nature of these changes. The evolution of non-state actors has demonstrated the need for international relations to take these actors seriously – otherwise it will be ill-equipped to provide nuanced analyses of world politics.

Bibliography

Brown, S. (1995). New Forces, Old Forces, and the Future of World Politics. Post-Cold War

Edition,New York:HarperCollinsCollegePublishers.

Burchill, S. (2009). Liberalism. In Burchill, S. et al (Eds.), Theories of International Relations (pp. 57-85). Fourth Edition,Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Donnelly, J. (2009). Realism. In Burchill, S. et al (Eds.), Theories of International Relations (pp. 31-56). Fourth Edition,Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Geeraerts, G. (2009). Analyzing Non-State Actors in World Politics.

http://asrudiancenter.wordpress.com/2009/02/09/analyzing-non-state-actors-in-world-politics/

Giddens, A. (1990). The Consequences of Modernity. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Knutsen, T. (1997). A History of International Relations Theory. Second Edition, Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Mansbach, R. and Vasquez, J. (1981). In Search of Theory: A New Paradigm for Global Politics.

New York:ColumbiaUniversityPress.

Young, O.R. (1972). The Actors in World Politics. In Rosenau, J. and East, M. (Eds.), The Analysis of International Politics (pp. 125-144). New York: The Free Press.

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Explore why an understanding of politics is an essential element in fully understanding a specific aspect of contemporary leisure

Introduction

Surveillance and the politics of technological advances.‘Justice’. ‘Equality’. ‘Freedom’. These three words are largely associated with politics and can be dated back to the 14th centenary ancient Greece with philosophers such as Aristolote, where the concept of politics and social policies began. Political concepts and movements such as liberalism, feminism, socialism, Marxism and nationalism all fall underneath an umbrella term for political ideology. (Leach R, 2002) Political ideology is a construction of ideas that relates to power, economy and discourse which is classified by the political spectrum and create a discourse. These ideologies and discourses shape social norm’s that directly affect economic, social and cultural developments (Adams I, 2001) thus directly affecting each individual in different ways; one example would be ones leisure lifestyle. Leisure in Britain is principally a creation of modernisation and growth of capital political systems. The Late 19th Centaury and the onset of the industrial revolution saw the occurrence of leisure in society, and in a modern economy is at most is the largest financial budgets of local authorities, and similarly 1997 saw the onset of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). (Roberts K, 2006) The definitions of leisure can evoke many different meanings which creates a paradigm of theories, however as Parker, 1981 suggested the nature of contemporary leisure is associated with freedom, free choice, free time, flexibility and self determination; these qualities thus make it independent from ‘work’ ethics (Rojek C, 2006) however do these qualities make leisure independent from politics, or is an understanding of politics crucial for engaging in leisure pursuits and do current discourse and policies affect our participation in leisure?

Surveillance is a broad concept that can induce numerous meanings. Modern technologies mean that local communities and interpersonal interactions have led to a more diverse global community that can interact endlessly without even being on the same continent. (Haggerty, KD & Samatas, M, 2010) Therefore individuals whose leisure time consumes much of the net or tele-communications and lives in the UK could be being surveyed by the US government or my Gaddafi’s security force. The shift of leisure in the UK has turned from folk culture and mass culture to sub cultures and high culture, these shifts highlight modern technologies and the 20th centauries drive to consume. We now consume leisure time due to the inventions of modern technologies, of which modern interactions begin. (FIND REF) An ever growing modern twist in culture is the prevalence of Social networking sites such as Facebook, which since 2009 has over 250 million users that are regularly using the site. (Zuckerberg, M, 2009). The modern angle of Facebook ‘’embodies the big brother spirit of our generation … [people] are okay with everyone knowing our personal affairs via Facebook, yet we highly protest (and rightfully so) the ever-increasing surveillance that has been imposed on our society post-September 11th.’’ (Kuerschner, J, 2006, pg165)

Facebook is a ‘’virtual community that has grown tremendously in popularity … [members begin by] creating a profile, then make connections to existing friends as well as those they meet though the site. A profile is a list of identifying information. It can include your real name, or a pseudonym. It also can include photographs, birthday, hometown, religion, ethnicity, [political views] and personal interest…Members uses the site for a number of purposes. The root motivation is communication and maintaining relationships.’’ (Dwyer C et al 2007 pg1) Profiles therefore uploaded onto Facebook are very personal; however there is a lack of concern about privacy. Facebook’s Privacy Policy shows evident that it fully complies with the TRUSTe’s Privacy Seal and the EU Safe Harbor Framework, making with legally compatible as a company, however, the privacy policy states that all applications and games are governed by third party businesses that have accessed to users information who use this application as well as the users friend list. On top of this Facebook had countless amounts of advertising partners and websites that also advertise through Facebook, therefore if a user responds to an advertising campaign then the data sharing is tracked to analyse how effective the advert has been, thus again third parties can gain access to personal information relatively easily.(Facebook, 2010) Access from third parties illustrates the Big Brother framework that is evident in modern society. TRUSTe’s Privacy Seal and the EU Safe Harbor Framework ensure that Facebook compels to abide by the Data Protection Act 1998. The Data Protection Act 1998 ensures the regulation of information processing rights given to individuals whose data had been obtained, held, used or discussed. (Legislation.Gov 2011) The Data Protection Act contains 8 key principals;

1. Processed fairly and lawfully.

2. Obtained for specified and lawful purposes.

3. Adequate, relevant and not excessive.

4. Accurate and up to date.

5. Not kept any longer than necessary.

6. Processed in accordance with the data subject’s rights.

7. That there are the proper technical and organisational procedures in place to protect the data against unlawful and unauthorised processing and accidental loss or damage

8. Not transferred to any other country outside the European Economic Area (EEA) without adequate protection in place.

(DCMS, 2007)

Facebook have legal obligations to comply with all the above principals, however, as Social networking sites were not around when the Data Protection Act 1998 was created and amended and some issues have been raised over the data protection rights of site users. Under the Data Protection Act the ‘data’ subject’ (that is the Facebook user) can ask the ‘data collected,’ (in this case that is Facebook), to remove or correct any information or data they are holding on that individual, as well as to prevent the data being used by third party applications. (Solicitors Regulation Authority, 2008) However a Marxist approach would suggest the economic foundation of Facebook and the financial success lies within the capital provided by the third party application which buys profile information to analyse consumer behaviour. However, a major row over the data protection rights of users was discovered by Channel 4’s Watchdog. The Programme reported an incident where a user wanted to deactivate their account, yet, Facebook still withheld personal information. On contacting Facebook, they said, ‘’ “We give users the notice that the UK Data Protection Act requires in order to inform them about what information is collected. We also give users granular control over what information they share and who they share it with.” However, the sites privacy policy states that to delete all data, would mean having to physically delete everything you have ever uploaded onto the site, as well as anything that other users have uploaded onto the site. However, for a regular user, this would prove to be almost impossible. (King B, 2007) Even in 2011, with the Data Protection scandals ‘’If you deactivate your account… your profile and all information associated with it are immediately made inaccessible to other Facebook users. What this means is that you effectively disappear from the Facebook service. However, we do save your profile information (friends, photos, interests, etc)’’ (Facebook, 2011a) Therefore although your account may seem to be deleted Facebook still encloses personal information and data, consequently understanding contemporary leisure in relation to politics is vital, as Facebook could contain personal data unless the users understand the Data Protection Act as well as their own personal Rights as a user.

The Big Brother effect, mirrors discourses such as the ‘panopticon’ way of understanding of surveillance. Panopticon illustrates the hierarchical power distribution between who controls society and who is being controlled. Modern surveillances and conspiracy theories concerned with social networking all reflect a dystopian view that mirrors protection and privacy rights. (Albrechtslund A, 2008) The modern shifts in technologies and the uprising number of people using social networking sites have meant that constant monitoring as a panoptic effect has become a part of every day life and the idea of the Orwellian society present in liberal societies. The idea of the Orwellian society through a panoptic lens shows how society is beginning to change from a disciplined society to one of control, organization and containment. The Panopticon surrounding social networking sites and privacy is concerned with the employment of information gathering of individuals in relation to power and control. The ‘objective’ of the panopticon is to limit ‘unsociable’ behaviour, and as a result monitors, ranks and categorizes behaviours. A panopticon society in these terms is closely related to distribution of power linked in to creating a more orderly society. However, the enhancements made upon consumer profiling generated by third party advertising surrounding Facebook generates a power distribution that effectively controls consumer markets that is distributed through orders of power, thus the surveillance in relation to the internet is a innermost element of a capitalist society. (Campbell J & Carlson M, 2002) Modern shifts in surveillance, especially, post September 11th, posted a contemporary shift from Panopticon to ‘Ban-Opticon’, Bigo suggested that a ‘Ban-opticon’ society refers to a constant state of emergency and originates from the International relations and suggestions of a ‘global in-security’ that leads to increased global surveillance to avoid future mass terror and destruction. (Bigo D 2006) Although hierarchies of power create a structured and postmodern view upon surveillance, social networking does induce forms of lateral peer-to-peer systems of surveillance. In terms of lateral peer-to-peer surveillance that forms through social networking privacy concerns are almost magnifies due to awareness the constant surveillance of significant others and colleagues. (Andrejevic M 2005) The awareness of being constantly surveyed will therefore bring around a false profile in term of how people present themselves and self-surveillance will come into effect. Self surveillance and not being able to present yourself as your own right thus again reiterates the Orwellian society.

Power is a primary process in all societies; powered domination forms unified asymmetric power relationship between the dominant powered group or individuals and dominated groups or individuals. Facebook is a colossal field upon which power, counter-power and power struggles is exhibited. Facebook accumulates millions of personal data which manufactures economic capital and power. Facebook users however can not directly influence managerial decisions or policies, thus creating asymmetric power relationship. (Fuchs C, 2011) In terms of power relations users within the UK contain a sense of power through their own knowledge of The Human Rights Act 1998. The Human rights Act of 1998, give everyone the right to their personal privacy and family life along with his correspondences. The Act says there shall be no surveillance or interferences of personal privacy except for circumstances where the law may be being exempted, public safety is being breeched or for the privacy protection and freedom of others. (BBC, 2000) An example through users exercising their Human Rights of Privacy shows methods where the users have tried to counter-power decisions by suing a method called cyber-protest. Changes to Facebook issued in 2009 began huge protest amongst Facebook users, who referred to the changes in privacy as a ‘’Stalker track down feature’’ (Facebook, 2011b) In 2009 Facebook officials made a controversial decision to retain all information about a user, even if there account was deactivated, however Facebook and privacy protesters counter-powered this decision into making Zuckerberg (the creator of Facebook) to withdraw the changes of the legal policy and privacy settings as a consequence Facebook deleted all online remaining evidence of deactivated accounts. However, if you do require all data to be deleted, this has to be achieved individually, on a separate basis, to confirm the request, however many users do not know about this as they do not read the sites privacy policy. Cyber protest’s over tele-communication infrastructure such as Facebook creates a social movement that generates media attention. Facebook in particular creates a level playing field of freedom of speech that ‘’globalized and decentralizes’’ (pg276) issues that fabricate, replicate and distributes knowledge and resistance to produce a mass socio-political movements. (Fuchs C, 2006) Therefore being a cog into the way political ideologies and polices are created and amended.

Surveillance and privacy in terms of Social Networking sites like Facebook creates a paradigm of power relations ranging from cyber protest to containment of data. The value surrounding privacy rights of personal information is difficult as in the eyes of the law it is difficult to establish data as property, as a consequence it’s hard to define unlawful processing of personal information. Sites like Facebook have gained economic and capital power due to containment of the ‘ownership’ of users personal information. (Bennet C & Raas C 2007) Concepts of peer-to-peer and participatory surveillance that creates self-surveillance again form an in-depth value or what Privacy and Surveillance relates, The Orwellian suggests that the idea of self-surveillance through propaganda creating a dystopian society controlled through a modern surveillance government. Around 20% of employers use Facebook as a tool or ensure employees are of the correct social category, they are politically correct and give the company a positive image. (Havenstein, H 2008).

References

Albrechtslund, A. (2008). Online Social Networking as Participatory Surveillance. Peer-Reviewed Journal on the Internet . 13 (3), http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2142

Andrejevic M, 2005. “The work of watching one another: Lateral surveillance, risk, and governance,” Surveillance & Society, volume 2, number 4, pp. 479–497, and at http://www.surveillance-and-society.org/articles2(4)/lateral.pdf, accessed 10/04/2011

Adams, I. (2001) Political Ideology Today, University Press: Manchester

BBC (2000) ‘Human Rights Act 1998: What the Articles Say’ BBC News [online] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/946400.stn#top

Bennett, C & Raas, C (2007) The Privacy Paradigm ‘The Surveillance Studies Reader 22 pgs338-353

Bigo, D. (2006). Security, Exception, Ban and Surveillance . In: Lyon, D Theorizing Surveillance; The Panopticon and Beyond . Devon: Willan

Campbell J & Carlson M. (2002). Panopticon.com: Online Surveillance and the Commodifaction of Privacy. Journal of broadcasting & Electronic Media. 46 (4), 586-606.

DCMS (2007) Data Protection Act 1998 – what it means to you DCMS [Online] http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/freedom_of_information/106698_dataprotection.pdf pg1 [accessed 2/05/2011]

Dwyer C, Hiltz S & Passerini K. (2007). Trust and Privacy Concern within Social Networking Sites: A Comparison of Facebook and MySpace. Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS) 2007 Proceedings. 1-12pg.

Facebook . (December 2010). Facebook’s Privacy Policy. Available: http://www.facebook.com/policy.php. Last accessed 31/03/2011

Facebook (2011a) ‘Frequently Asked Questions – I want to permanently delete my account.’ Facebook [online] http://www.facebook.com/help/faq/ [accessed 3/05/2011]

Facebook. (2011b). Facebook user’s protest AGAINST the new “STALKER TRACKDOWN FEATURE”. Available: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=353942026657. Last accessed 17/04/2011

Fuchs, C. (2006). The self-organization of cyberprotest. In ‘The internet & society’ 2006. Ashurst: WIT Press.

Fuchs, C (2011). Foundations of Critical Media and Information Studies. Oxon: Routledge.

Haggerty KD & Samatas M. (2010). Introduction: Surveillance and Democracy: An unsettled Relationship. In: Haggerty KD & Samatas M Surveillance and Democracy. Oxon: Routledge. 1-17

Havenstein, H (2008). One in Five Employers Use Social Networks In Hiring Process’ Computer World [online] http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9114560. [accessed 3/05/2011]

King, B (2007) Facebook data protection row, The social networking site faces an investigation from UK privacy watchdog after a complaint from a Channel 4 News viewer. Channel 4 News [online] http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/science_technology/facebook%20data%20protection%20row/1060467.html [accesed 29/04/2011]

Kuerschuner, J (2006) Big Brother is on the Facebook. Mercher Street [online] http://www.nyu.edu/cas/ewp/kuerschnerbig06.pdf [accessed 31/03/2011]

Leach, R (2002) Political Ideology in Britain ‘in’ Contemporary Political Studies ‘eds’ Benyon, J. Palgrave: New York

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Roberts, K (2006) Leisure in Contemporary Society, CABI: Oxford

Rojek, C. (2006) Leisure and Consumption: Journal of the Canadian Association for Leisure Studies 30(2) pp.475-487

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Zuckerberg, M . (2009). The Facebook Blog: Now Connecting 250 Million People. [Online: Facebook] Available: http://www.facebook.com/blog.php?post=106860717130. [Last accessed 31/03/2011]

Categories
Free Essays

It has been argued that a separation of religion from politics could help to facilitate peace and stability in contemporary societies. Is this argument a convincing one?

Introduction

In this essay I will endeavour to demonstrate that the argument of a separation of religion from politics would help in facilitating and maintaining peace and stability in contemporary societies is a convincing one, by looking at the impact of religion on world politics, in the past and by giving examples of recent events of the political involvement of religious actors around the world having consequences therefore in contemporary societies. I will try to explain what religion is and why it represents a threat to the maintaining of international peace and security. The meaning of politics will be disused as well, during the conduct of this essay. There will be an in-depth analysis of Al Qaeda, the anti-Western Islamic militancy ideology, both from the Western perspective and the Islam perspective.

Starting with the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, religion was the main cause of conflict in the world, affecting the international peace and stability of that time. Islam and Christianity were the two main religions, both of them spreading their beliefs in all directions. Christianity spread to small territories in Africa and the Middle East, while vast areas from Africa, Asia and even Europe, like the Balkans and the Iberian Peninsular became Islamic.

Haynes (1993, 1998) pointed out that even in the twenty-first century it is difficult to find any country, and especially in the developing world where religion does not represents an influent actor in the political agenda.

There are many recent events, which show the impact of religion on world politics everywhere in the world. In Europe, for example where is considered that secular principles are long experienced, the civil war in the early 1990’s in Bosnia- Herzegovina between Croats, Serbs and Bosnians degenerated into a religious conflict. The same happened in the late 1990’s in Kosovo between Albanians and Serbs which can easily be defined as a war between Muslims and Christians. In Russia, the Orthodox Church arises from communism and became an important influence in the political world. The Islamic militancy was seen in various parts of the world, including the West, by the 9/11 events and in the developing world also, where probably the most noted rise of religion was the Islamic militancy in the Middle East, encouraged by the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1978-1979. Iraq conflicts with the West in 1991 and 2003 are more of a religious nature too. Another example from the developing world is Africa, in Nigeria which was polarized between Muslims and Christians while Somalia may lead to an Islamist government. The civil war in Sudan was due to religious grounds between Muslims and Non-Muslims. Algeria’s civil war was between the state and the Islamists, or also known as ‘Islamic fundamentalists’ where more than 120.000 people are estimated to have died.

Marty M. and Scott Appleby (1997) examined religion and politics, and came to the conclusion that ‘religion is an important source of basic values. But it can have a powerful impact upon politics within a state or region, especially when it is linked to ethnicity and culture. Religious belief often reinforces both ethnic consciousness and inter-ethnic conflict, especially in the Third World (but not only there, for example Northern Ireland and former Yugoslavia)’.

I think it is important to understand how society appreciates religion, considering the diverse regions of the world, such as the Western secular society and Islam. For the West, religion is something personal between man and God and does not have any role concerning society, being totally separated from politics. Religion is based on fear and tradition, serving the weak people who cannot understand science and development, also restraining the freedom of speech and opinion.

As for Islam on the other hand, they have a completely different view towards religion. The Quran, through the preaches of the Prophets, held that religion serves for the reformation of the individual and society. They believe that no society has absolute freedom, because this will lead to chaos and is against human nature. The Western societies, which claim democracy and freedom of speech, are not so different from any other types of rule, such as dictatorship or monarchy, because in the end they all have rules and laws. Islam agrees with the difference of opinion and speech as long as this difference does not affect and threaten its political structure.

There are many definitions of religion, and some of them tend to be too narrow and exclude many beliefs which are considered by many to be religious, or they are too vague and ambiguous. So far, based on my research , I think that the best definition of religion I have seen is Mircea Eliade’s, a Romanian historian of religion, fiction writer, philosopher and professor at the University of Chicago, who defined religion as something special and autonomous, that cannot be reduced to the social, economical or psychological standard. He saw the sacred as pivotal to religion, often dealing with the supernatural not with the society or the people.

Having some awareness of the meaning of religion, I will try to explain how religion interfering with politics represents a threat to the international peace and security of the world. In order to do this, it is imperative to analyse first the meaning of politics. Politics is generally understood in terms of ruling or governing a nation, and is concerned with the political affairs of the society. Problems arise when religion interferes with politics, as in the case of Islam, based on the idea that religion cannot be separated from politics, offering as example all the prophets of Allah, who came as leaders to reform society at large.

The Islam politics or also known as ‘the politics of God’ is the language of political theology, having its roots in the past for millennia, being the only language people used to express their opinions on the political affairs of their country. This happens even today, in the contemporary society, as for example, in 2006, when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran sent a letter to the former President of the United States, George W. Bush, letter that was translated and published all around the world. The subject of the letter was contemporary politics and religion, Ahmadinejad writing ‘If Prophet Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Ishmael, Joseph or Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) were with us today, how would they have judged such behaviourI have been told that Your Excellency follows the teachings of Jesus (peace be upon him) and believes in the divine promise of the rule of the righteous on Earth […] According to divine verses, we have all been called upon to worship one God and follow the teachings of divine Prophets.[…] Liberalism and Western-style democracy have not been able to help realize the ideals of humanity. Today, these two concepts have failed. Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems. . . . Whether we like it or not, the world is gravitating towards faith in the Almighty and justice and the will of God will prevail over all things.’ (Lilla, 2007)

In the contemporary world there are many religious groups with different principles and practices and diverse political aims, which reflect not only the country’s beliefs and traditions, but also the political problems of that country’s system, as for example in Israel, when Hamas confronted Israel, due to the political culture conflict between Palestinians and Israeli Jews.

Haynes (1998) thought that religion will lose its influence in time, as societies would secularize and modernize but his belief proved to be wrong, when Iran’s Islamic Revolution in the late 1970’s re-emerged religion as an issue in the political affairs.

The conflict between religion and politics which threatens the international peace and security derives from the different values and conceptions about the world, or how Samuel Huntington (2002) pointed out the ‘clash of civilizations’ based on religious and political distinctions between two main rivals, Christians and Muslims. He identifies a ‘West versus militant Islam’ dichotomy where Islam represents a threat to the West peace and security. This is shown by many examples involving the West (especially North America and Western Europe) and its opponents, the Islamic militancy, such as Iran, Sudan, and Afghanistan. The events that marked the conflict between the Arab world and the Christians (the west) was the invasion of Kuwait in 1990 by Iraq and the 9/11 event, which is seen by many commentators as a dividing line in international relations.

According to Samuel Huntington and Francis Fukuyama the international peace and security of contemporary societies is threatened by the followers of Islam militancy against the Christianity, which is considered to be a religion in accordance with the liberal democracy, promoting thus global peace and security.

Before analysing the most significant religious issue in international relations in the contemporary society, namely the threat posed to global peace and security by anti-western Islamic militancy, Al Qaeda, I will mention that religion-politics clashes may not necessarily happen between civilizations, but as well within them.

Akbar (2003) stated ‘In an age of despair the need for a hero who can inspire pan-Islamic victories becomes acute…Despair can become a breeding ground for mavericks who believe in themselves and their version of the faith … Osama bin Laden is in the tradition of another famous name from the eleventh century, Hassan i Sabbah, the Old Man of the Mountains, who has given the English language the word ‘assassin’’.

After the events of 9/11 and the subsequent attacks by the United States, Akbar agrees with Huntington that this is the beginning of the ‘civilization’ conflict between the Arab world (the militant Islam) and the West. Of course, there are commentators who disagree with this statement, arguing that is inappropriate to associate the terrorist attacks with the definite idea of Islam, considering that the following bombs attacks in Istanbul, Tanzania, Kenya, and Madrid were also ordered by Al Qaeda. It is important to note that the Islamic militancy and the groups associated with it, such as Al Qaeda, Hamas in the Gaza Strip are the result of the failure of Islamic governments.

Given that 9/11 and the following attacks are believed to be committed by Islamic radicals against the West there is a clear belief among many Muslims that Islam is opposed to the West, therefore United States lost support in many parts of the Arab world. As for example, in Morocco, surveys show that public support for the United States dropped from 77 percent in 2000 to 27 percent in 2003; in Jordan, it fell from 25 percent in 2002 to 1 per cent in May 2003; in Saudi Arabia, it fell from 63 per cent in May 2000 to 11 per cent in October 2003 (The Christian Science Monitor).

Going back to the Al Qaeda ideology, Sayyid Qutb, a radical Egyptian scholar of the mid-twentieth century, declared that Western civilization is the enemy of Islam, denounced leaders of Muslim nations for not following Islam closely enough, and taught that jihad should be undertaken not just to defend Islam, but to purify it (Haynes, p. 167).

Al Qaeda’s ideology is based on the ideas that the West has dominated the territories of Islam and that the liberal democracy beliefs advocated by the West corrupted Islam, and only respecting the pure and authentic Islam taught by the Prophet will save and purify the Muslims. These aims can be achieved only by defeating the West through any means, including violence and war. Al Qaeda movement can be understood as being against the West modernisation which can interfere and affect their societies on social, political and economic level. In both developed and developing worlds , there were large number of people, and not only the poor, the uneducated but also people with high education and social status who found stability in their traditions and beliefs, placing their hopes in religious groups and movements.

Al Qaeda is more than an organization, is a religious ideology and its consequences are very dangerous to the contemporary society. Even with the exclusion of the organization from Afghanistan, Al Qaeda’s ideology becomes stronger day by day, attracting new militant Islamic terror groups created by young believers in the concept of their religion. Analysing the events of 9/11 (when the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were subjected to terrorist attacks and nearly 3000 people were killed) and the subsequent attacks, from Al Qaeda’s perspective I came to the conclusion that the Islamist radicals act the way they do because they think that there is no other choice. They feel irritated, assaulted and offended by the Western, fighting for the survival of their society, culture, religion and way of life. Al Qaeda militants argue that they acted in self –defence, their justification being that Islam is the perfect social system.

This essay has shown that the involvement of religion in contemporary societies and in the past societies as well, interfering with politics has caused serious problems in the maintaining of peace and security around the world. The resurgence of religion in the post -Cold War and the threat the militant Islamic groups, especially Al Qaeda represents, were broadly discussed and analysed during the conduct of this essay. Christianity and Islam were examined to provide a better explanation of the impact of religion in various parts of the world in recent years. The terms religion and politics were defined and analysed, a list of religious –political conflicts was provided, hence this essay demonstrates that the argument from the title of the essay of a separation of religion from politics would help to facilitate peace and stability in contemporary societies is a convincing one.

References
Akbar, A. (2003) Islam under siege: living dangerously in a post –honour world, Cambridge: Polity Press
Foreign Affairs, (1997) The Clash of Civilizations?: the Debate, W. W. Norton & Co.
Fukuyama, F. (1993) The End of History and the Last Man, Penguin
Haynes, J. (1993) Religion in Third World Politics, Buckingham: Open University Press
Haynes, J. (1998) Religion in Global Politics, 1st ed. Longman
Haynes, J. (2005) Comparative Politics in a Globalizing World, Polity Press
Huntington, S. (1993) The Third Wave: Democratization in the late twentieth century, University of Oklahoma Press
Huntington, S. (2002) The clash of civilizations and the remaking of world order, London: Free Press
Lewis, B. (2002) What Went Wrong?: Western impact and Middle Eastern response, Phoenix
Lilla, M., (2007), ‘The Politics of God’, The New York Times, 19 August
Marty, M. & Appleby, S. Ed. (1997) Religion, ethnicity and self-identity: nations in turmoil, Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England
Said, E. W. (1995)Orientalism: western conceptions of the orient, Penguin Books
Springer, (2009) ‘A Critique of Foundationalist Conceptions of Comprehensive Doctrines in the Religion in Politics-Debate’ International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, vol.65, no.1, pp.11-28, Jistor [Online] Available at: http://www.jstor.org Accessed: 26 March 2011
Stowers, S. (2007) ‘The Concepts of Religion, ‘Political Religion’ and the Study of Nazism’ Journal of Contemporary History, vol.42, no.1, pp.9-24, Jistor [Online]. Available at: http://www.jstor.org/ Accessed: 26 March 2011)
White, B., Little, R. & Smith, M. Ed. (2005) Issues in World Politics, 3rd ed., Palgrave Macmillan
The Christian Science Monitor. [Online] Available at: http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0226/ Accessed: 27 March 2011

Categories
Free Essays

To what extent is politics in Africa fundamentally connected to ethnicity?

Introduction

The issues of ethnicity and its connection to Africa politics continue to be of great importance on the continent. In recent times, there have been debates on these matters, which have further intensified against the background of multicultural societies. The underline base of this essay is to examine and explore the extent to which politics in Africa are connected to ethnicity. For two to three decades now, ethnicity has been at the centre of politics not only in Africa but also on the global front. Political liberalization has meant that ethnic group can now express their interests and lay claims on the state. “In the case of the former Czechoslovakia, there came the emergence of the two independent states. Slovakia and the Czech Republic”. The compositions of ethnicity control in states of Africa continue to be unabated. The essay we will be looking at some case study of how ethnicity is fundamentally connected to the politics within the states of Africa, also we will try if there are any political connections to ethnicity. “Ethnicity is a dynamic concept which may have an ethnic character as well as a class character, and class and ethnic conflicts may be waged simultaneously”(Markakis, 1998).

According to Thomson, his definition of ethnicity is “an ethnic group community of people who have the conviction that there have a common identity and common fate based on issue of origin, kinship ties, tradition, cultural uniqueness, a shared history and possibly a shared language”.

Ethnicity, religion, tribalism, and politics, these entire elements have a close relationship in most Africa state, and almost on the same terms. However, ethnicity has play a great role in the politics both in the negative and the positive ways, this essay will look at the extent of which this is connected to politics in Africa. The reappearance of ethnicity will be in two opposite ways, one will be the ethnic community under threat, and the other is the group dealing with their lost with the state and other powerful neighbours and rivals. Ethnicity could be a framework that will build a bridge of solidarity and liberation between two groups (Markakis, 1998).

In Africa states, ethnicity and politics are one body since political parties will always find their root from an ethnic group. Often becoming major actors of that ethnic politics, and the principal instrument for it growth based on it ethnical foundation. An example of ethnicity playing a major role in Africa politics was seen in the colonial era where the Uganda army had recruited from the north tribe, while the people of the south were mainly in civil service. After independence, it became necessary to ‘Africanize the services’, however, it was difficult for the military because the commander in chief of Uganda army, and the same time the president of the country. ‘In fact, figures have indicated that in 1963 most that 50 per cent of the army were from Acholi, while others were from the West Nile (Markakis, 1998).

Except in the field have always argue about the power struggle within the government, may invoke regional sentiments and Obote, and could mobilize the military in his favour. Using of a national army in favour can be refer to as politics base on ethnicity since the majority of the military are from one ethnic group (Omara-Otunnu, 1987). Ethnicity could not be talk about without mention of ‘tribalism’, Ethnicity could not be talk about without the mention of ‘tribalism’, since there are frequently used as a self-explanation of political events in Africa. Conflicts are mostly associated with tribes or ethnic group belonging to one political party. Such tribalistic interpretations of politics in Africa, is however worthless. Political scientists have beyond it to make it simple, to find why one tribe will attack the other. In the same way, ethnic group will be in conflict against each other (Thomson, 2010). Ethnicity is not and will not been a new concept in the studies of African politics, it has become popular on the continent since the 1990s. Most of the conflict in Africa can be attributed to ethnic group, although they are much more complex and, there are instances, which they are not at all. Ethnicity will however, remain a contested concept, because scholars on both sides have always disagreed about what it means and how it come about (Hyden, 2006).However, there is tendency that of about fifteen years of conflict within some countries in Africa, it will fall back on the theory of ‘Ethnicity’.

Conflicts in Africa can be explained, as the same anywhere in the world and it is not always attributed to ‘tribalism’. “In the case of Rwandan political scientists should have look towards overpopulation, land competition… and the falling coffee prices”. The Tutsi domination of one state, made killings in Rwanda more ethnic base politics. “Ethnicity may often be the agent of political mobilisation in Africa, and it is rarely the primary cause of conflict” (Thomson, 2010). The primordial of tribal arguments are clearly wrong, as African ethnic groups are not of the past, or the leftover of history. However, ethnicity and ethnic group will continue to play a major role in social organisation and in the political and economic needs of the people on the continent of Africa. In as much as ethnicity is often regarded as a hindrance to Africa’s political and economic development in the post-colonial era. It has been view and power by some nationalist in their argument (Thomson, 2010).

Nevertheless, this condemnation of ethnicity, will not be necessarily accepted, due to the fact if operating in the right political gateway, ethnicity can become a progressive force of any type of social organisation. In the retrospect, ethnicity has made some positive contributions to politics in some Africa countries in the post-colonial era, in that it has managed to serve both state and civil society to some extent (Thomson, 2010). Moreover, there also are some negative contributions. According to “Justice Theodora Georgina Wood, she has condemned ethnicity in Ghanaian politics, saying that the phenomenon could create dangerous repercussions for Ghanaian society. She said what was required was the collective responsibility of all and sundry to sustain democratic governance in the country” (Wood, 1994). Based on these remakes, we will have a look at a case study on the effect of ethnicity on African politics. This case study will be about the ethnicity of Nigeria, Africa most popular nation. Located on the West cost of the continent, it consists of swamps and lagoons in the Niger River delta. Nigeria is also rank as one Africa is rich states, having benefited from the export of it oil reserves.

According to the study by Thomson (2010), “the northern Hausa-Fulani consist is made up of 30 per cent of the total population; the western Yoruba are 20 per cent, while the eastern lbo covers 17 per cent”. Having seen the tribal divisions, it will be clear to note how ethnic groups can influence politics within Africa states. Under the colonial rule, the relationship between the ‘Yoruba’ clans has change dramatically, meanwhile, prior to that, there was no such thing, as a Yoruba political unity or ethnic identity. The people of the south-west Nigeria were not familiar with the team ‘Yoruba’ until the nineteenth century (Thomson, 2010). The colonial administration needed a larger community to operate upon to reduce costs and problems administration. On the other side of the colonial authorities were the religious groups (missionaries), these groups also wanted a bigger community for their people, and for them to have a common language. Hence, the missionaries invented the Yoruba vernacular. Ethnic coalitions became larger for a new Morden states. The Nigeria had always enjoyed the ethno-regional constitution of their respective ‘culture brokers’ at the time of independence, by which there had the chance to change their chosen candidates, and consequently, giving the power back to the local regional community. This makes the domination of issues of ethnicity becoming more fundamentally connected to politics (Thomson 2010). Meanwhile, each region was governed by a political party that will be identify by one ethnic group. The Fulani-Hausa governed the north; the Yoruba were to the West, and the East to Ibo. In this, study Thomson draw our attention to the problem created after the military takeover in 1966, the intervention however was precipitated by more political turmoil. The politicians of the Ibo East did not agree with the northern Hausa-Fulani, who were the dominance of the military government. These moves of political reverie led the secession of the east, and the independent state of Biafra was declared in 1967. It was term as one the higher point in Nigeria’s political mobilisation based on ethnicity (Thomson, 2010). In Thomson’s conclusion he makes another remake of ethnicity playing part in the political conflict in the oil-producing Niger Delta region of the country.

In another case in which ethnic groups playing a roles in politics in Africa, is within the Ghanaian like the Akans, are considered the most important ethnic group of Ghana. There consist of two major group: the Ashanti and Fanti. The Ashanti ethnic groups occupied the central area of Ghana; Ashanti ethnic were powerful within the region and needless to say, the confederacy was hated and feared, by both the Fanti and the northern groups. While the Fanti were quick to ally themselves with the European outposts and settlements along the coast. However, both Fanti and Ashanti are stemmed from common ethnic backgrounds, which could have a strong influence on political arena. Their ethnicity and ethnic group will play a role in connected to politics within the country and in Africa (Apter, 1972).

“Indeed if were to decide on a nation’s conduct on political affairs based on religion and ethnicity, it will mean deliberately deciding that certain portions of our population be left out of political discourse in this country. Concerning ethnicity, the 2000 population census shows that the Akan are 69.1%, the Mole-Dagbani, 16.5%, Ewe, 12.7% and Ga-Adangbe, 8.0%. By these statistics, if we were to decide that we should conduct our politics based on religion or ethnicity, then some of us especially Northerners and Muslims would be effectively left out of political discourse in this land of our birth” (Mustapha, 1994).

These and other studies on ethnicity and it connection to politics in Africa, can go beyond in the inter-ethnic composition. According to Mustapha’s statistic and Apter’s studies on the Akan’s ethnic group, it could be draw that since there have majority of the population. The New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate for the 2008 elections Nana Akufo-Addo, who is from the Akan ethnic group, and the NPP being an Akan based political party could play role in ethnic politics. However, according to an article by the statesman’s newspaper, there was the need to learn of what ethnicity has done to countries likeRwanda and Cote D’Ivoire (Gabby, 2007).

While these explanations and examinations to weather ethnicity may hold some contribution to politics in Africa, it is still risky to generalise. It has become evident to some class of scholars that while there is a national template for conflict, and each has its own scenario base on its own peculiarities and deserves to be studied in its own context. (Ake, 1996) The changing of socio-political realities in Africa and the dominate of traditional values has greatly influenced the study of ethnicity in Africa. The socio-economic pressure on one group of people in an Africa country can make a lot of difference to that group been it ethnic or social. Ethnic, tribal groups will not involve in a conflict just because there want to do so, but it will always begin with a one ethnic or tribal group. As to ethnicity being connected to politics in Africa, since no scholars of the field has or point to or give the conclusion; however, we have since that conflict and civil war has broken out among ethnic or tribal groups and since trilbies and ethnicity are base on the same principles, than there can be link within these ethnic groups.

References List:

Ake, C. (1996). “The Political question”, in: O Oyediran (ed.) Governce and Development in Nigeria . Ibadan: Agbo Areo.

Apter, D. E. (1972). GHANA IN TRANSITON 2ed Edition. New Jersey : PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS.

Gabby,Q.(2007,May11). thestatesmanonline.com. Retrieved 22/05/2011,from http://www.thestatesmanonline.com.

Hyden, G. (2006). African Politics in Comparative Perspective . New York: Cambridge University Press.

Markakis, M. S. (1998). Ethnicity and the State in Eastern Africa. Stockhlom: Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Mustapha, A. H. (1994). ghanaweb. Retrieved 04 22, 2011, from www.ghanaweb.com.

Omara-Otunnu, A. (1987). Politics and the Military in Uganda. Palgrave Macmillan.

Thomson, A. (2010). An Introduction to African Politics Third Edition. Abingdon : Routledge.

Wood, J. T. (1994). ghanaweb.com. Retrieved April 17, 2011, from www.ghanaweb.com.

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Free Essays

Why is green theory becoming popular in international politics at the current time?

Introduction

Following the impact of the global financial crisis, which nearly shattered the world economy, the ideas of transparency, sustainability, resiliency and accountability have increasingly been associated with the restructuring of the international financial system (Runnalls, 2011; Newell, 2008). Along with this, the issue of climate change has also attracted significant attention over the past decade, transforming from a problem of the margins of policy making to one that has been placed at the core of global politics. The increasing awareness of the damaging impact which pollution has on climate change and biodiversity (Cumming, 2007; Brown et al, 2007) has arguably led to a consideration of a greener approach towards economic development and the use of natural resources. The continuing decline of oil supplies has raised concerns about the future of an economy that is entirely dependent on oil and academics have called for an increased appreciation of the problems with associated with such a strategy of economic development (Cato, 2009). Because of this, the ideas of a new, greener politics and the theory behind it have become a prominent part of the discourse of international politics. In addition, green economists have been concerned about the ways in which the current economic system has led to the widening of inequalities between rich and poor on a global scale, and the inevitable tension and conflict this inequality creates (ibid.). The alternative solution, underpinned by green thinking, has led to calls for the rejection of changes in the current forms of governance and has led to a suggestion that political communities below the nation-state should be decentralised.. This involves decentralization not only on the levels of political organization, but encompasses economic and social organization as well. Green proponents also argue for abandoning traditional sovereign systems and practices in favour of more mixed locations of authority. Such an argument significantly departs from the ideas upon which the movement of environmentalism is built, as the latter is said to be in agreement with the framework of established forms of world political governance. According to green theorists, the main origin of the environmental crisis is precisely within this same form of governance, therefore there is a need to move beyond it (Dobson, 1990). As Eckersley (2004) notes, the greens suggest the establishment of new, ‘green state’ the regulatory ideal and democratic procedures of which are to be informed by ecological democracy rather than the principles of liberal democracy. Such a state could be understood as post-liberal, insofar as it emerges from an ecological critique of the current state of affairs, rather than from and outright rejection of liberal democracy (ibid.). To date, the green theory has gained wide prominence and this essay would like to provide a reflective inquiry on some of the reasons for its popularity, as well some of the problems associated with it. In line with this, the following section of the essay will provide an outline of the principles which are associated with the green theory and the movement inspired by it, as well consider its position of one the global issues of the 21th century, namely climate change.

The principles of green theory and a green economy

The green theory and the type of politics associated with it have several specific characteristics, among which are the ecocentric ethics, limits to growth and the decentralization of power (Patterson, 2005). To begin with, ecocentrism should be interpreted as the rejection of an anthropocentric world-view which places independent value only on humans in favour of one which places independent value also on ecosystems and all living beings (Eckersley, 1992). According to ecocentrism, the world is ontologically composed of inter-relations rather than individual entities (ibid.: 49). All beings are fundamentally ‘embedded in ecological relationships’ (ibid.: 53). Consequently, there are no convincing criteria which can be used to make a hard and fast distinction between humans and non-humans (ibid.: 49-51). Ethically therefore, since there is no convincing reason to make rigid distinctions between humans and the rest of nature, a broad emancipatory project ought to be extended to non-human nature. All entities are endowed with a relative autonomy, within the ecological relationships in which they are embedded, and therefore humans are not free to dominate the rest of nature.

The second principle of the green theory, of decentralization, suggests the need to shift authority from international institutions to local organizations (Rosenau, 1992; Hempel, 1996). Rosenau (1992) makes this claim concerning patterns of authority in global politics in general, but also specifically in relation to global environmental politics. For Hempel (1996), such forms of global environmental governance are emerging because the spatial scale of the state is inadequate for dealing with the scales of environmental change. The state is simultaneously too small and too big to deal effectively with such change, and thus practices of governance move towards regional and global levels and at the same time towards local levels, in response.

The third principle of the green theory is that of the need to limits the proportions of growth in order to create a sustainable society and ensure security (Dobson, 2011). The economic growth of wealthier states is not necessarily related to the security which its citizens feel (ILO, 2004). For this reason, green theorists have suggested the shifting of focus from economic growth towards sufficiency and income security (Barry, 2007). In addition, as the recent financial crisis has shown, the emphasis on growth and expansion of the economy of neo-liberal states has created more problems that it has actually resolved, signifying the failure of contemporary approaches to economic development.

Also, contemporary proponents of the green theory have suggested the increasing urgency of changing the current framework for climate justice towards one of capabilities (Schlosberg, 2012). The previous approaches of historical responsibility, carbon egalitarianism, and rights have all failed to take into account the wide variations of the needs and problems which the different countries and communities are exposed to on a daily basis. To a significant extent this has also been related to the misguided focus on prevention, rather than adaptation (Scholsberg, 2013a). Climate change has been an ongoing process and has been significantly affected by human activity (Steffen, Crutzen and McNeill, 2007), not to deny it, but as a result of the undermining of adaptation policies, international efforts have also failed to introduce effective preventive strategies as well (Scholsberg, 2013a). In fact, by focusing solely on prevention and mitigation, international conventions such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change have failed to acknowledge the fact that climate change has undermined the provision of basic human rights needs in the developing world (ibid.). Moreover, academics have argued for a case where climate change itself can be perceived as a violation of the human rights to life, health and substance (Caney, 2010). The move towards adaptation policies for climate change is well-suited for such as task (Vanderheiden, 2008; Holland, 2012: Scholsberg, 2013a). Therefore, climate justice which is equipped with the principles of basic human and their provision is able not only to take into account the unequal distribution of environmental risks across the globe, but could potentially create a sustainable environment where these could be adhered to and implemented. Because of its grassroots focus (Wall, 2010), the green theory and the economics which is built up on its main principles can easily recognise the wide range of needs which can vary in different societies and communities worldwide. As an advocate of local participation and voice, the green theory is more than capable of devising distinctive policies within a diverse set of contexts by taking into account subjective and specific regional needs, as well as successfully addressing them by designing adaptive strategies (Scholsberg, 2012).This shift towards policies based on adaptation is also linked to the adoption of a capabilities approach towards climate change, which, in line with the former is able to take into account the particular needs of communities, as well as capable of directing adaptation policy towards the preservation and reconstruction of the specific capabilities under threat from climate change, and of measuring the success of implemented adaptation policies.

To summarise this section, the green theory and some of its main proponents appear to have established a solid framework with the utilisation of which a number of global problems such as inequality and climate change can be addressed. The movement is innovative in its propositions and its focus on tackling injustice, the focus on community development as a cornerstone for the promotion of sustainability, as well as basic human rights have all contributed towards the growing popularity of its principles. However, as the next section of this essay will show, the green theory has also been subject to significant criticism.

Problems associated with the Green Theory and Green Politics

Since the 1980s, many of the post-industrial consumer societies have been exposed to cultural shifts of governance which have led to a reconsideration of environmental concerns as a way towards the creation of more sustainable states and economies (Bluhdorn, 2013). This is the core hypothesis of the theory of post-ecologist politics (Bluhdorn, 1997, 2000) which comprises, of the theory of the post-ecologist turn (Bluhdorn, 2002), and secondly, the theory of the politics of unsustainability (Bluhdorn, 2007, 2011). At core of this theory is impossibility for liberal democratic states to create sustainable policies based around environmentalism. Due is due to the principles of individualism and personal freedom, which underpin liberal democratic forms of governance, as well as the emphasis on consumption practices which are at the core of late modern neo-liberal states. What this has led to is the acknowledgement of the ‘failure of liberal democracy’ to introduce solutions for ecological and environmental issues (Shearman and Smith, 2008). In line with this, Bluhdorn (2007, 2011) has suggested that the contemporary approaches towards devising environmental politics should be considered as attempts to sustain unsustainability, as there is an increasing awareness about the crisis of sustainability, yet the practices of the consumerist society are not scrutinized, despite the fact it was these practices which have had a negative impact of the environment and climate change. This amounts to a ‘post-ecologist paradox’ (ibid.), according to which the environmental problems are increasingly depoliticised, even though their existence is not denied. Within academia, this has called for the adoption of new forms of governance, as authoritarianism appears to be the remedy for the ‘post-ecologist paradox’ (Sherman and Smith, 2008). In a similar note, Giddens (2009: 7-8) suggests that the commitment to participatory democracy is counterproductive, and instead, an approach of centralised planning should be adopted.

Such appeals seem to be in direct conflict of some of the principles which underpin the green theory. To begin with, it discards the possibility for any grass-roots activism, which to a significant extent is associated with the operation of the green movement (Wall, 2010). The focus on centralised planning also argues for the implementation of policies which may not necessarily take into account the different needs which communities have, thereby also undermining the human factor in the decision-making process. Although the critique of democratic states focuses primarily on the patterns of consumption, it fails to take into account the large number of cases where democratic states, which have adopted the principles of green economics, have succeed (Cato, 2009). Also, in many of these countries it was the same principles of participatory democracy which contributed for the promotion of green thinking and the rise of the green parties on the political landscape (Carter, 2013).Therefore, it would be an understatement to suggest that the problem of approaching and addressing environmental issues is not related to participatory democracy itself, rather than it is the neo-liberal approach towards economic development which a country adopts that constitutes the problem. And the green theory appears to be capable of resolving it, hence the increasing popularity and influence of its ideas on the international level. Having provided an outline of some of the criticisms associated with the green theory and its suggestion for the establishment of green states based on democratic principles, the concluding section of this essay will relate the principles of the green theory to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio, 2012 and its objectives.

Conclusion

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio, 2012 (UNCSD, 2012) outlined the main principles upon which more sustainable states should be based. Among these were the eradication of poverty, the promotion of sustainable patterns of consumption, the protection and effective management of natural resources. Moreover, this sustainable development should be achieved via the promotion of sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth, creating greater opportunities for all, reducing inequalities, raising basic standards of living, fostering equitable social development and inclusion, and promoting integrated and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems that support, inter alia, economic, social and human development while facilitating ecosystem conservation, regeneration and restoration and resilience in the face of new and emerging challenges. Although such an approach towards sustainability has been criticised for being over-inclusive and lacking in depth at the same time, it placed sustainability on the priority list for international development and by and large placed the agenda for the development of the green economy on national and domestic level, thereby allowing the incorporation of strategies based on capabilities approaches, which, as it was argued earlier is at the core of the green theory. Therefore, the lack of a defined and universal strategy for the promotion of sustainable states on the international level should not necessarily be considered as a failure, as in fact it will countries from the developing world to devise policies which will be based on the subjective needs each one of them has, as well as address the specific problems which have a negative impact of their citizens and communities (Council on Foreign Relations, 2012). Such an approach clearly incorporates many of the principles which underpin the foundations of the green theory for a more sustainable development and allows its incorporation. This could be the opportunity for many green theorists, economists and activists to devise a balanced, comprehensive and ecologically founded strategy of sustainability, as the academic debates around green theory and international development should not be separated from the context in which they occur, but rather contribute to the discourses around environmental justice and the promotion of sustainability (Scholsberg, 2013b). In conclusion, over the past decade, the green theory and its proponents have become an inseparable part of political debates on international debates. It has gained significant popularity since the world financial crisis and its alternative framework towards sustainability and the acknowledgement of climate change as a violation of basic human rights have all raised its profiled and contributed to its widespread recognition. Yet, there are many challenges which the movement has to tackle and only its critical engagement in international development can prove that the green theory is the alternative form of governance which the international community needs and deserves.

Bibliography

Barry, J. (2007) Towards a model of green political economy: From ecological modernisation to economic security. International Journal of Green Economics, Vol. 1(3): 446–64.

Bluhdorn, I., (1997) A theory of post-ecologist politics. Environmental Politics, Vol. 6(3): 125-147.

Bluhdorn, I. (2000) Post-ecologist politics. London: Routledge.

Bluhdorn, I. (2002) Unsustainability as a frame of mind – and how we disguise it. The Trumpeter, Vol.18(1): 59–69.

Bluhdorn, I. (2007) Sustaining the unsustainable: symbolic politics and the politics of simulation. Environmental Politics, 16 (2), 251–275.

Bluhdorn, I. (2011) The politics of unsustainability: COP15, post-ecologism and the ecological paradox. Organization & Environment, Vol. 24(1): 34–53.

Bluhdorn, I. (2013) The governance of unsustainability: ecology and democracy after the post-democratic turn. Environmental Politics, Vol. 22(1): 16-36.

Brown, L. E., Hannah, D. M., & Milner, A. M. (2007). Vulnerability of alpine stream biodiversity to shrinking glaciers and snowpacks. Global Change Biology, Vol. 13(5): 958-966.

Caney, S. (2010) “Climate Change, Human Rights, and Moral Thresholds’, in Climate Ethics, Gardiner, S., Caney, S., Jamieson, D. and Shue, H. (eds.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Carter, N. (2013) Greening the mainstream: party politics and the environment. Environmental Politics, Vol. 22(1): 73-94.

Cato, M. (2009) Green Economics: an Introduction to Theory, Policy and Practice. Earthscan: London.

Council of Foreign Relations (2012) Examining Rio+20’s Outcome. Available at: http://www.cfr.org/world/examining-rio20s-outcome/p28669

Cumming, G. S. (2007) Global biodiversity scenarios and landscape ecology. Landscape Ecology, Vol. 22(5): 671-685.

Dobson, A. (1990) Green Political Thought (London).

Dobson, A. (2011) Sustainability Citizenship. London: Greenhouse.

Eckersley, R. (2004) The green state: Rethinking democracy and sovereignty. The MIT Press.

Eckersley, R. (1992) Environmentalism and Political Theory: Towards an Ecocentric Approach. London.

Giddens, A. (2009) The politics of climate change. Cambridge: Polity

Hempel, L. (1996) Environmental Governance: The Global Challenge. Washington

Holland, B. (2012) “Environment as Meta-Capability: Why a Dignified Human Life Requires a Stable Climate System”, in Ethical Adaptation to Climate Change: Human Virtues of the Future, Thompson, A. and Bendik- Keymer, J. (eds.) Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

International Labour Organization (2004) Economic Security for a Better World. Geneva: ILO.

Newell, P. (2008) The Political Economy of Global Environmental Governance. Review of International Studies, Vol. 34(3): 507-529.

Patterson, M. (2009) ‘Green Politics’, in Theories of International Relations, Burchill, S., Linklater, A., Devetak, R., Donnelly, J., Patterson, M., Reus-Smit, C. and True, J. (eds.) Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillian.

Rosenau, J. (1992) ‘Governance, Order, and Change in World Politics’, in Governance Without Government: Order and Change in World Politics, in Rosenau, J. and Czempiel, E. (eds.) (Cambridge).

Runnalls, D. (2011) Environment and Economy: joined at the hip or just strange bedfellowsSAPIENS, Vol. 4(2). Available online at: http://sapiens.revues.org/1150

Schlosberg, D. (2012) Climate Justice and Capabilities: A Framework for Adaptation Policy. Ethnics & International Relations, Vol. 26(4): 445-461.

Scholsberg, D. (2013a) Political Challenges of the Climate-Changed Society. Symposium on Climate Change Justice, pp.13.-17. doi:10.1017/S1049096512001357

Scholsberg, D. (2013b) Theorising environmental justice: the expanding sphere of a discourse. Environmental Politics, Vol. 22(1): 37-55.

Shearman, D. and Smith, J. (2008) The climate change challenge and the failure of democracy. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Steffen, W., Crutzen, P. and McNeill., J, (2007). The Anthropocene: Are Humans Now Overwhelming the Great Forces of NatureAmbio, Vol. 36(8): 614–21.

United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (2012). Available at: http://www.uncsd2012.org/content/documents/774futurewewant_english.pdf

Vanderheiden, S. (2008) Atmospheric Justice. New York: Oxford University Press.

Wall, D. (2010) The no-nonsense guide to green politics. New Internationalist Public.

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Free Essays

European Politics Assignment: Are national parliaments winners or losers in the process of European integration?

ABSTRACT

It is the purpose of this paper to consider the effect that European integration of member states has had on national Parliaments.

INTRODUCTION

The recent constitutional developments of the judiciary will be discussed and how their increase of functions has led to a limitation of the role of the legislative sphere. Further, it will be shown that the recent developments need to be supplemented further with a codified constitution in Member States where such a constitution is not enshrined, which would lay out the guiding principles of the state and provides protection to the judicial sphere in conducting their legal functions. This is particularly urgent when one considers that parliamentary systems usually unite legislature and executive for the sake of expediency, the United Kingdom being an example of such.

BODY

The greatest effect that European integration has had on national Parliaments has been in the judicial sphere. For a long time, the sole function of the judiciary was to implement the legislation according to the intentions of Parliament when it was created. A court’s function was, therefore, one of law enforcement than creation. Indeed, in McLoughlin v O’Brian [1983], Lord Scarman has stated “the objective of judges is the formulation of principles; policy is the prerogative of Parliament”.

The passing of the European Convention of Human Rights was the catalyst for a whole new phase of judicial importance. Not only was there a higher authority of constitutional principles worthy of the term “codification”, national court’s were from then onwards compelled to interpret national legislation in a way to be compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, as far as possible. According to the judgment in Jackson v Her Majesty’s Attorney General [2005] there were limits to Parliamentary sovereignty where “constitutional fundamentals were at risk” for the first time. This is not to say that that marked an end for Parliamentary supremacy; indeed, section 3 of the Human Right Act 1998 states that where UK legislation is in conflict with Convention rights, “so far as it is possible to do so, primary legislation and subordinate legislation must be read and given effect in a way which is compatible with the Convention rights”. The judges are therefore compelled to interpret in a certain manner in that jurisdiction. Regardless, where statute is clearly in breach of a convention right, the convention rights win out.

In practice, an element of restraint on the part of Parliament is needed. Regardless, the separation of powers doctrine is certainly closer to its theoretical ideal – the Parliamentary sovereignty of the United Kingdom is significantly restrained with safeguards in the form of a judiciary, on both a European and domestic level.

In 2011, the question of this new function arose in the United Kingdom in relation to the use of injunctions. An injunction is a court order that requires a party to do or refrain from doing certain acts. In some cases, known as “super injunctions”, the court has provided for anonymity and a prohibition on publishing or disclosing the very existence of the order. According to the Master of the Rolls (2011), restrictions may also be placed on access to documents on the court file. The basis for such an injunction is Article 8 of the Convention, which the courts have developed as part of the common law in the absence of statutory privacy laws in the UK. Professor Zuckerman (2010) has argued that super-injunctions created a new kind of procedure for an “entire legal process […] conducted out of the public view” of which the very existence is “kept permanently secret under pain of contempt”. There has been uneasiness to this concept.

When we consider the separation of power principle, how has this development affected itIt has been argued by the Master of the Rolls (2011) that the courts have gone beyond their power to develop common law by introducing this right into English law. Others have suggested that the enactment of the Human Rights Act by Parliament effectively created the right of privacy, a foundation that has merely been developed as a case came before the judiciary to be adjudicated.

Certain parliamentarians have criticised the judiciary and even used parliamentary privilege to thwart the injunctions by naming concerned individuals in the House, such as John Hemming in the House of Commons Debate of 23 May 2011 . They have in turn faced criticism themselves; their action being seen to be a defiance of the law through brazen attempts to undermine it. Indeed, the Speaker of the House of Commons (HC Deb 23 May 2011) has said that he strongly deprecated “the abuse of parliamentary privilege to flout an order or score a particular point.”

At the very least, it is clear that the judicial interpretation in this case has been liberal. This, however, doesn’t mean it is unconstitutional. From the court’s point of view, their function is to interpret the law as it is before them and although there has been no specific statute regarding privacy laws, the Human Rights Act 1998’s incorporation into the UK constitution gives the judiciary the function to interpret all cases in light of the European Convention on Human Rights. This is not a request, but a demand; and it was effectively Parliament that made this demand. They changed the constitution; if it appears unfavourable to them now, they still retain the power to change it again.

This example clearly demonstrates how European integration has limited the powers of the United Kingdom parliament. Through the intervention and invention of the judiciary, aspects of the European Convention on Human Rights have been incorporated and developed in domestic law, even in circumstances where there has been clear disapproval from the legislative sphere. Nevertheless, the current situation does require a level of tolerance from parliament as it retains the ability to change the balance of power.

The development of the Human Rights Act 1998 went some way in providing a sound codified foundation to the United Kingdom constitution; however, unlike the constitutions of other states the mechanisms to protect it are largely uncodified. This strange position has meant that they are often protected by not only common law but informal conventions, a position that can easily be modified by Parliament through further legislation. In a sense, Parliamentary sovereignty still prevails. Lord Woolf has argued in M. v. Home Office [1994] that “the crown’s relationship with the courts does not depend on coercion”, but on a state of trust. This is an admirable position but one which is open to abuse. Further codification of the United Kingdom should be a priority if the political institutions are to be deterred from moving the goalposts on a whim. Conversely, in jurisdictions where the European Convention on Human Rights has been enshrined in the national constitution, the integration into Europe has been more complete with the particular rights more difficult to modify.

Returning to the issue of super-injunctions, the judiciary in the United Kingdom is to be commended for the noble pursuit of its legal function. The judiciary can only judge what the legislature puts before it and the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights has provided both conventional rights and the legal tools to enforce them. If there is controversy for this course of action, then the blame must lie with the legislative sphere for incorporating it in the first place. Effectively, Parliamentary sovereignty is still relevant and the government still retains the power to change the constitutional playing field – see N.W. Barber (2009). This is perhaps already in motion as the Attorney General announced in the House of Commons Debate on 23 May 2011 that a joint committee of both Houses would be established to examine the issues of privacy and the use of anonymity injunctions.

The super-injunction debacle has highlighted that the separation of powers still requires work. Article 9 of the Bill of Rights 1689 sets out the principle of privilege of Parliament. According to Lord Neuberger, Master of the Rolls (2011), it is “an absolute privilege and is of the highest constitutional importance”. He also pointed out that any attempt by the courts to contravene Parliamentary privilege would be unconstitutional and that no court order could restrict or prohibit Parliamentary debate or proceedings. On the other side of the coin, there is a convention that Members of Parliament will not criticise judicial decisions. This is complemented by the sub judice rule that guards against Parliamentary interference in cases currently before the courts. The sub judice rule is intended to “defend the rule of law and citizens’ right to fair trial” according to the Master of the Rolls (2011). Indeed, it has been stated that “the judiciary should be seen to be independent of political pressures. “Thus, restrictions on parliamentary debate should sometimes exceed those on media comment” according to the Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege (1998-1999). It seems clear that this is a perfect area for fresh legislation. Two informal, opposed conventions often require judicial direction but given the constitutional proximity to the courts, it would perhaps be prudent to allow Parliament to make this constitutional change.

This restraint of the political branches of the state in respecting this convention of the court has been tested elsewhere. In November 2003, the UK Government introduced the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Bill, Clause 1 of which sought to oust judicial review of immigration tribunal decisions. The Joint Committee on Human Rights (Fifth Report of Session 2003-4) concluded correctly that “ousting the review jurisdiction of the High Court over the executive is a direct challenge to a central element of the rule of law, which includes a principle that people should have access to the ordinary courts to test the legality of decisions of inferior tribunals”. The Bill passed through the Commons in its entirety but thankfully, the clause was dropped through debate in the Lords. The experience is a clear example of attempts to exclude legal scrutiny from the exercise of public power and demonstrates how statutory legislation can so easily remove safeguards to the constitution.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, I would suggest that the solution to these problems is the drafting of a British constitution defining not only the rights and freedoms of its citizens; but of the separate functions, powers, and limits of each branch of state. Until recent years, the doctrine of the separation of powers was somewhat too general to provide much assistance in resolving a range of existing and emerging difficulties at the interface between courts and the other branches. Recent moves have formalised a separation of powers, but there is still work to be done.

Special legislation is required so that the politicians of the day can not influence a rebalancing of the separation of powers easily. There are further advantages; the constitutional sources currently in place are vague and often contradictory; a user-friendly constitutional charter that can be found in most European countries would be of great advantage to the ordinary citizen. Clarification is key, especially when one considers the ongoing disputes about the applicability of European legislation in a domestic context. Most importantly, without enshrinement in a codified constitution and the special protections against modification that go along with it, there will always be a danger that the privileged power of the executive will be used to reverse the good work that has gone before. This would surely create the very tyranny of which James Madison spoke.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

McLoughlin v O’Brian [1983] 1 AC 410

Jackson v Her Majesty’s Attorney General [2005] UKHL 56.

v. Home Office [1994] 1 A.C. 377

Zuckerman, Super Injunctions—Curiosity-Suppressant Orders Undermine the Rule of Law, C.J.Q. Vol. 29 (2010)

N.W. Barber, Laws and Constitutional Conventions, L.Q.R. 2009, 125(Apr)

HC Deb 23 May 2011

Master of the Rolls, Report of the Committee on Super-Injunctions: super-Injunctions, anonymised injunctions and open justice

Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege, Session 1998–1999, Parliamentary privilege, HL 43-I / HC 214-I

Fifth Report of Session 2003-4 of the Joint Committee on Human Rights (HL 35/HC 304)

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Free Essays

Has political ideology become irrelevant in the political process? Illustrate your answer with examples considering contemporary party politics

Introduction

It will be discussed whether political ideology has become irrelevant within the political process in order to decide whether ideology is still important in today’s political parties. In doing so, contemporary party politics will be considered and a determination as to whether specific ideologies are still being conveyed will be made. An overview of political ideology will first be given so that the reader will be provided with an explanation of what political ideology consists of. It will then be considered whether political ideology is an important part of the political process and whether it still exists today. Various examples of today’s political parties will be illustrated and applicable comparisons will be made. This will be achieved by accessing relevant text books, journal articles and online legal databases through the conduction of a library and online search. A secondary research approach will thus be adopted so that any data can be accessed with ease. Once all of the applicable information has been gathered an appropriate conclusion will then be drawn summarising all of the main findings. Accordingly, it will be shown that whilst there is less political ideology within the political process than there used to be, it is still present and a significant part of contemporary party politics.

Main Body

Political ideology is a set of ideas representing the objectives, expectations and actions of a political party. Nevertheless, whilst the belief system of a party may only comprise of one specific ideology, the belief systems of other parties may consist of a broad range. Such beliefs, which may have been acquired from various doctrines, principles, ideals, myths or social movements, help to explain the preferred order for society of each political party. Consequently, as put by Sargent (2008: 2); “An ideology is a system of values and beliefs regarding the various institutions and processes of society that is accepted as fact or truth by a group of people.” Political ideology therefore provides political parties with a view as to the way the world should be and helps them to allocate social values: “the political system is the authoritative allocation of values for a society” (Easton, 1971: 129). Although this seems pretty straightforward, much debate has arisen over the years as to the exact meaning of political ideology and it has been questioned whether it is in fact irrelevant in contemporary party politics. In consideration of the word ‘ideology’ it was noted by Freeden (2003: 3) that; “there has rarely been a word in political language that has attracted such misunderstanding and opprobrium.” Therefore, whilst clear definitions of ideology have been provided, the different meanings have been frequently contested and as a result of this, ideology has been considered to have a “wide analytical purchase” (Dommett, 2011: 2).

Because of the varying nature of political ideology, however, it could be said that it is now irrelevant in the political process. Hence, it cannot be said that political parties rely on traditional ideologies since this would otherwise lead to irrational decisions being made. This is because, political parties should consider the modern needs of society and successfully adapt to change. This could not be achieved if political ideology was followed rigorously which has been supported by the views of Bell (1960: 372) when he argued that; “political ideology has become irrelevant and polity of the future would be driven by piecemeal technological adjustments of the existent system.” In effect, political ideology appears to be outmoded, yet not all would agree with this and instead it has been argued that ideology forms the basis of politics: “There is no politics without ideology” (Selinger, 1975: 99). Consequently, it is thus believed by some that all policies which are conceived by political parties do have some element of ideology since political parties embody moral judgements over the justifications of any given order. Essentially, rather than abandoning political ideology it seems as though new ideologies need to be formed so that a complete overhaul of the political process can be made. This would enable new ideologies to be created that are more reflective of today’s society and political ideology would still hold some relevance in contemporary party politics.

It has been stressed by Stankiewicz (2012: 408) that; “ideological issues can be misunderstood if ones attention is confined to the way a government is arrived at, and to the type of legislation passed.” In addition, it was also added that; “party politics are ideologically irrelevant, as are the personal values of political leaders.” Therefore, whilst political ideology is still in existence, ideologies do not form the basis of all decisions that are made as this would lead to a great deal of absurdity and the legislation passed would not satisfy the needs of modern society. Whether this means that political ideology is no longer applicable in politics is questionable since ideology has played a significant part in the political process for many years. As such, it would be very difficult not to incorporate ideologies into the decision making process in some way since ideologies are widespread throughout the world and cannot be avoided. Political ideology has been going on for some time which is exemplified by the ideologies adopted by Margaret Thatcher and the Conservatives in 1975. Thatcher strongly believed in radical change, individuality and a law enforcing government and did not support the welfare state. She believed that the economy should not be interfered with and listed her ideals as; “free markets, financial discipline, firm control over public expenditure, tax cuts, nationalism and privatisation” (Lawson, 1992: 64). In effect, Thatcher’s ideologies were largely similar to classical liberalism which is still common in today’s modern conservative party.

This was recognised by Newman (2008: 1) when he pointed out that; “leaders after Thatcher have all stayed relatively true to her reforms of the party and its ideology, believing in economic classical liberalism.” In accordance with this, it is manifest that political ideology is still prevalent in the political process today and although some ideals may be departed from, the general values are still the same. On the other hand, it has been said that the ideals of Conservatives often conflict with each other (Newman, 2008: 1) which makes it difficult to determine their ideology. As a result, many argue that Conservatives do not have a specific ideological status and that they are instead a lot more open-minded (Cosme et al., 2010: 1). Arguably, it cannot be said that Conservatives hold a specific set of beliefs, yet ideology is still present since a number of different values are considered. The Conservatives new leader David Cameron has taken both a liberal and conservative approach in the political process which signifies that Conservatives in contemporary party politics “are an interesting mixture of neo-liberal economic policies, combined with moral and social conservatism. This makes them hard to place on any political spectrum, and thus it cannot be said that they really reflect any specific ideology” (Newman, 2008: 1). It could effectively be said that political ideology is not as relevant as it once was since each party does not follow a certain set of ideals in the political process and greater flexibility now exists which is vital in modern society.

The same can also be said in relation to the modern Labour party since they appear to have adopted a similar approach to the Conservatives in that they do not have a specific ideology (Lawton, 2005: 54). Furthermore, the Labour party often share the same values and beliefs as the Conservatives which demonstrate that contemporary party politics is not as ideological as it used to be. Not all agree that ideology has completely been eradicated, however, and instead it has been pointed out that whilst there are less ideological divisions, “there is still considerable ideological tension, not just between the parties but within them also” (Griffiths and Hickson, 2009: 1). Therefore, although political parties may not hold specific ideological beliefs, ideology does still exist which signifies that political ideology is still important within the political process. This is especially the case for Liberal Democrats who have stayed true to their ideological beliefs for most of the 20th Century. Accordingly, the ideological views of the liberal democrats consist of two strands which are social democratic and liberal (Tandy, 2011: 1). The social democratic strand is a pioneer for equality, whilst the liberal strand is a pioneer for freedom. Thus, because the Liberal Democrats have consistently supported both these strands, their party can be considered ideological as opposed to the Labour Party and the Conservatives who no longer adopt any specific ideologies. Nevertheless, this does not show that political ideology is irrelevant since the two main parties still follow a mixture of different values.

As a result, ideology is still within contemporary party politics but “is usually discussed in terms of policy rather than specific ideologies” (Newman, 2008: 1). Conversely, it has been stressed that the ideological nature of the two main parties does produce problems for those who vote since it will be very difficult to decide which party should be voted for when their ideologies are unclear. As such, ideological labels are important parts of the political process as the public need to be aware of each party’s particular values and beliefs. Similarly, as pointed out by Jost et al.; (2009: 323) “the most obvious consequence of ideological orientation is its influence on political attitudes and behaviours such as voting.” It was further stated that: “Many studies have shown that those who identify as liberal tend to adopt issue positions that are conventionally recognised as left of centre, evaluate liberal political figures more favourably and vote for candidates.” This is in opposition to those who identify as conservative since they tend to adopt positions right of centre. It is clear from this that the voting aspect of the political process can therefore be easily swayed by each party. This is due to the similar ideologies that are adopted and because of this; more specific ideologies need to be ascertained. This would enable the individual values and beliefs of each party to be easily recognised which would be a lot more helpful within the voting process.

Conclusion

Overall, political ideology is an important part of the political process and although many would consider it irrelevant in contemporary party politics, it is evident that ideologies still form the basis of each political party. This is because, each party has different belief systems and even though some similarities may exist, different social movements are continuously being proposed. Accordingly, it would be unwise for a political party to rely solely on a traditional value which is why it is important for parties tend to embrace change and alter their ideologies accordingly. Thus, if changes to the values of each party were not made, the whole process would be outmoded and the needs of society would not be accounted for. This would lead to a great deal of absurdity and ideologies reflecting the modern society would not be created. The Conservatives and the Labour party are, therefore, a lot more open-minded than they used to be and do not have a specific ideological status. Instead both parties adopt a mixture of ideologies which can often overlap and produce similarities. Although some would argue that ideology is irrelevant because of this, it is clearly not lacking and ideology still forms part of contemporary party politics. Nevertheless, because there are fewer ideological divisions than there used to be, many problems within the voting process tend to arise since each party will be able to alter their ideologies in order to sway the votes. In order to ensure that the voting process is fair, more specific ideologies would need to be created so that the political ideologies could be more easily identified. This would prevent any difficulties from arising and the values and beliefs of each party would be more easily recognised.

References

Bell, D. (1960) The End of Ideology, Illinois: Free Press of Glencoe.

Cosme, D. Pepino, C. and Brown, B. (2010) Empathy, Open-Mindedness, and Political Ideology: Conservative and Liberal Trends, e-Research Journal, Volume 1, Number 3, [Online] Available: http://journals.chapman.edu/ojs/index.php/e-Research/article/view/91/311 [13 December 2012].

Dommett, K. (2011) Reconceptualising Party Political Ideology, Paper Presented to PSA Conference, [Online] Available: www.psa.ac.uk/journals/pdf/5/2011/1128_620.pdf [12 December 2012].

Easton, D. (1971) The Political System: An Inquiry into the State of Political Science, 2nd Edition, New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Freeden, M. (2003) Ideology, A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Griffiths, S. and Hickson, K. (2009) British Party Politics and Ideology after New Labour, Palgrave Macmillan.

Jost, J. T, Federico, C. M. and Napier, J. L. (2009) Political Ideology: Its Structure, Functions, and Elective Affinities, The Annual Review of Psychology, Volume 60, [Online] Available: www.psych.nyu.edu/…/Political%20Ideology__Its%20structure [13 December 2012].

Lawson, N. (1992) The View From No 11: Memoirs of a Tory Radical, London: Bantam.

Lawton, D. (2005) Education and Labour Party Ideologies: 1900-2001 and Beyond, Routledge.

Newman, C. (2008) In What Ways, If Any, Do the UK’s Major Political Parties of Today Reflect Political Ideologies[Online] Available: http://www.peterjepson.com/law/NewmanPAS-4.htm [13 December 2012].

Sargent, L. T. (2008) Contemporary Political Ideologies: A Comparative Analysis, Cengage Learning, 14th Edition.

Selinger, M. (1976) Ideology and Politics, London, George Allen Unwin Ltd.

Stankiewickz, W. J. (2012) In Search of a Political Philosophy: Ideologies at the Close of the Twentieth Century, Routledge.

Whiteley, P. (2011) Who are the Liberal DemocratsProgress Online, [Online] Available: http://www.progressonline.org.uk/2011/01/27/who-are-the-liberal-democrats/ [13 December 2012].

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Free Essays

To what extent is Congress the broken branch of American politics?

Introduction

In recent years Americans’ opinion of Congress has reached historic lows (BBC News Online: 22.11.2011). It is this worrying indictment which has led Thomas Mann to assert that Congress is the broken branch of the US tripartite political system (Mann: 2006). Aside from this lack of confidence in the collective body of their elected representatives, which some Americans have condemned as wasteful and self-serving, there is also uncertainty as to whether it is fulfilling its constitutional role (Storey: 2007: 271). It was intended that it should operate alongside the other political branches – the executive and the judiciary – to enact legislation and keep in check the other component parts of government. Today its legislative role has largely been passed to the executive, though it maintains responsibility for revenue raising measures. This essay will argue that whilst some aspects of Congress might indeed by condemned as broken, it is still performing, with success, a variety of tasks that it has been charged with. In order to demonstrate this, the two reasons for Congress’ supposed failure outlined above will be examined one by one and balanced against counter-arguments. This approach will suggest that in many ways it is functioning competently and in accordance with the role it has been assigned.

When devising the Constitution the Founding Fathers bestowed upon Congress the task of ‘keeping the other branches of government within their constitutional boundaries’. Integral to this was the forging of new policies. As time has progressed it has become apparent that the executive branch of government is capable of performing this role far more effectively (Storey: 271). In contrast Congress has the reputation of inhibiting legislative progress because it has a complicated and time consuming method of processing bills (Mckay: 2009: 194). This issue stems from its practice of referring proposed legislation to its system of standing and select committees. These committees, consisting of a small number of Members of Congress who debate and investigate various specialist matters passed to them, are party-controlled and effectively set the policy agenda by having the power to bury bills. Less than 10% of bills submitted for their consideration make it to the next stage of the approval process (McKay: 194) In addition each bill has to be handed over to both the Senate and the House of Representatives with their own individual committees and votes for it to pass through before becoming law.

The difficulties presented by this extensive process are compounded by the ascendancy of partisan politics which dominates contemporary Congresses and the committee system. Cross-party negotiation and deal breaking has become increasingly difficult and protracted because both the political ideology of the Democrats and the Republicans has polarized. (Mckay: 196,209) The impact of this on the legislative process was keenly seen during the Autumn of 2011 when the US Federal deficit threatened to exceed its $14t ceiling. Quick and decisive action was required to introduce cost-cutting measures but the stark policy differences between the Democrats and the Republicans meant that the joint-committee who had been assigned the task of recommending a solution to this pending problem failed to come to any agreement, placing their country on the brink of financial disaster (BBC News Online: 22.11.2011).

Conversely, Congress’ limited influence the legislative agenda and the fact it makes lawmaking difficult is, Storey argues, constitutionally appropriate. This is because the Founding Fathers would approve of legislative barriers, as part of Congress’ constitutional role is to ‘limit the overall scope of the national government, including the influence of Congress itself’ (Storey: 271). It follows that the more laws there are, the more responsibilities the government acquires (if only to administer them). The fundamental purpose of the division of political power between the federal and state governments, and between the presidency, Congress and the judiciary, is designed to keep in check the authority of each one of these governmental components. Yet, it has been the trend for the federal government to expand in scope and this undermines the carefully designed, constitutional balance of the political system (Storey: 272)

To label Congress ‘broken’ on the grounds of constitutional failings is, however, to overlook the role it plays in overseeing the activities of the executive. Storey champions this aspect of Congress which he believes has been effective (Storey: 277). There is certainly evidence to suggest that in recent years this is indeed the case. Following the 2006 elections and the new Democratic majority in Congress there was an upsurge in the number of investigations held into potential presidential abuses of power (Mann: 2010: 123). It is important though when putting this argument forward in defence of Congress’ ‘broken’ nature to recognize that oversight is task which has its own limitations. Congress still have difficulty obtaining from the Whitehouse the various documentation and witnesses they need to carry out their investigations thoroughly, and the number of hearings conducted is minimal (McKay: 200).

Crucial in conditioning the low opinion poll results received by Congress is the view that it serves interest groups, lobbyists and members’ self-interest before the needs of the nation (Burnstein: 2009: 164). Additionally, earmarks, the allocation of funding for constituency-based projects, have soared. This is illustrated by the 2005 peak of 13,492 schemes which amounted to almost $16b worth of federal money (Mann: 125). Whilst the success most Senators have in directing funds towards their own districts indicates there is mutual interest in letting this practice continue, the perception held by many Americans is that this preoccupation with winning lucrative contracts is promotes wasteful spending (Storey: 272). This is because earmarks have a reputation for encouraging pointless expenditure, an example of which is the Alaskan “bridge to nowhere” (Mann: 125).

However, this characterisation of Congress as a “market for legislation” and the notion that Members of Congress work on behalf of lobbyist is, Burnstein argues, fundamentally wrong. Whilst not denying that they do listen to the wealthy members of their districts, or that they hold talks with interest groups, they themselves are running Congress, not the people who attempt to sway them (Burnstein: 164-172). To support this assertion Burnstein cites the research of political science and economic academics which have repeatedly reached the same conclusion – that campaign contributions or lobbying has little influence on policy (Burnstein: 165). There are several likely reasons why this is the case including the fact that lobbyists have limited access to members of Congress who in fact generally vote in accordance with their own political ideology. Furthermore, even if lobbyists succeeded in bringing Congress men and women round to their cause, the number of swayed members is usually too small to radically reshape the outcome of important votes (Burnstein: 66). Given these hurdles to buying policy decisions why do Americans believe Congress is so willing to be bribedFor Burnstein the answer is simple; ‘people tend to remember the egregious but atypical cases of apparent influence’ (Burnstein: 166).

This certainly seems to be a viable assessment of the situation because Congress, in actuality, accurately reflects the mood and desires of the nation – a result of a close congressperson-constituency relationship (McKay: 208). Furthermore, Congress has taken marked steps to rid itself of the influence of lobbyists. After the Democrats won the Congress majority in 2006 they prioritized ethics, lobbying and earmark reform. The Democratic Party rule packages which ensued restricted use of corporate jets and privately financed travel, placed a ban on gifts and meals paid for by lobbyists, forced disclosure of the campaign finance activities of lobbyists and promoted earmark transparency. Two weeks later the Senate passed its own version of this rule package which was soon followed by a Bill in the House of Representatives. Therefore, to levy a charge of corruption against Congress is somewhat unjustified, though that is not to deny financial enticements are accepted on occasions and, as the pervasiveness of earmarks suggests, the self-interest of constituencies worked towards.

Having outlined the dominant criticisms which surround Congress’ characterization as ‘the broken branch of American politics’, it is evident that it is neither as corrupt nor as inept as this statement first implies. Undoubtedly Congress does have its limitations. It is open to the influence of lobbyists and there is strong evidence that its members are keen to secure investment in their own districts at the expense of the federal budget. Its partisan politics inhibits the legislative process as policy agreement is hard to negotiate. On the other hand Congress has taken steps to rectify some of these issues, especially regarding its own ethical operation. Its role as overseer is one it takes seriously and this aspect of its constitutional assignment, though limited, is far from being broken. In general Americans have a very positive attitude towards their own members which implies that as representatives, individual Congresspersons are performing well (Mckay: 209). Where the real problem lies is in its deep and deepening political divisions. This renders Congress inept at functioning as a unified body and acting in the national interest, something which has a critical impact on its ability to respond to pressing situations.

Bibliography

BBC News Online, ‘US ‘super-committee’ fails to reach deficit deal’, 22.11.2011 accessed [26.03.2012]

Burnstein, P., ‘Is Congress really for sale?’, in R. M. Valelly (ed.), Princeton readings in American politics, Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford, 2009

Mann, T., The broken branch: How congress is failing America and how to get it back on track, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2006

Mann, T., ‘Congress’, in G. Pelle, C. Bailey and B. Cain (eds.), Developments in American Politics 6, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 2010

McKay, D., American society and politics, 7th ed., Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, 2009

Storey, W., US Government and politics, Edinburgh University Press, 2007

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Culture, ideology, politics and economics are linked in the output of media organisation in way that is true for no other sector of capitalist enterprise

Introduction

Although some might believe otherwise, the media is not a neutral or objective institution. It is rather a disputed space that can be manipulated to serve certain interests. McNair (2007:103) affirms that “culture, ideology, politics and economics are linked in the output of media organisation.” This statement is especially true of the UK newspaper industry. McQuail (2008:7) also argues that power structures social relationships and that this has an effect on the way the mass media is organized. Both historically and presently the influence of the media can be observed. Newspapers promote certain ideologies, create and reinforce cultural patterns, and greatly influence views on politics. Media products that are made for mass consumption are often controlled by a handful of wealthy owners. This is very similar to what Karl Marx calls the ‘bourgeoisie’ or the owners of the means of production. They are in control of factories and the livelihoods of workers. However, in much the same way, media production serves the interests of the few, and not those of the masses. The ruling class often determines the content of widely distributed newspapers. In support of McNair, I will argue that media output is very closely linked to culture, ideology, and politics, in a way that is advantageous to those who own the means of production. In order to show this, I will discuss all factors (culture, ideology, politics, and economics) in relation to each other and analyse the influence that the newspaper industry has had historically on political, economic, and cultural affairs. The paper will mainly look at 18th century, 19th century, and present press and media output in Britain.

Critical Analysis

The struggle over control of newspaper content is also an economic struggle between the bourgeoisie and the workers or the lower classes. This is a conflict that mirrors the Marxist notion of class struggle. Starting as far back as the 18th century, the UK ruling class has fought to destroy radical newspapers of the time, such as Poor Man’s Guardian, Twopenny, and Republican. The aims of the radical press were to promote class organisations through the development of a critical political analysis. Class organizations and unions were meant to earn workers better wages and more rights. Thus, by developing radical newspapers, the working class sought to improve their economic condition. This is an example of the struggle between the aristocracy and the workers who were criticising corruption and the repressive taxation which was impoverishing them (Curran 2010:13). Here, politics is also interrelated to the media and to economics. It was only through adopting a critical political analysis that workers could advocate for their rights. On the other hand, the politics of the right (or the wealthy owners) represent their economic interest of keeping the wealth and control of the press in the hands of few.

The emergence of more progressive publications in the early 1800s showed how the ideology of the ruling classes was in opposition of radicalism. Their politics served to prevent the workers from gaining more control of the media output. Between 1830 and 1836 there was an increase in circulation of radical newspapers. In London alone, the readership grew from half a million to 2 million. Dr Philmore, a member of Parliament, complained that “these infamous publications […] inflame working people’s passions, and awaken their selfishness, contrasting their present condition with what they contented to be their future condition- a condition incompatible with human nature, and with those immutable laws which providence has established for the regulation of human society “ (Curran 2010 : 14). In other words, the rich believed that it is their right to maintain their social and economic standing. In response to radicalism, they sought to pass regulations that would control the media output. This implied that they could promote the views that would benefit their own economic and social condition. As already seen, those who can control media output use this resource to promote their ideology, culture, and politics. In this way, they also maintain their wealth.

In order to silence the voice of radical newspapers in the 1800s, the government decided to introduce the stamp duty, which meant that publications were redefined to include political periodicals. Curran and Seaton (2010) also note that during those days, the government sought to increase press taxation. This was to ensure that those in charge of the press are wealthy men of high social standing. Curran and Seaton explain that the reason behind stamp duty was “to restrict the readership to a well to do by raising the cover price; and to restrict the ownership to the propertied class by increasing the publishing cost “ (Curran and Seaton 2010:11). This shows how economics plays a big role in restricting those who do not have the necessary means from promoting their own ideology, politics, and culture. The example clearly illustrates the link between economics, culture, and politics that McNair talks about. It also portrays, once again, how those who own the means of production can promote the ideologies that benefit them.

Over time, those who were financially in control of the media used this to their advantage and slowly began to take radicalism out of the picture. It became the norm that only those who have enough capital could have a say in politics and influence the ideology of the masses. In the late 19th century, when some control methods failed and stamp laws were repealed, the press establishment embarked on a “sophisticated strategy of social control”, where the radical newspapers were replaced by apolitical, commercial publications, read by mass audiences and controlled by capital (McNair 2009:87). According to McNair (2009), the radical publications of the end of the 19th century had either been forced out of existence, moved right politically, or become small specialist publications. As newspapers became cheaper and the market expanded, capital investment and running costs increased beyond the capacity of radical publishers. Thus, radical voices were once again silenced. This shows that the output of news is greatly influenced by the ownership and capital, as only the wealthy are powerful enough to determine the course of media production.

Currently, it can be said that media output in the newspapers is still dependant on who owns the enterprise, what are their politics, and what kind of ideology and culture they want to promote. Oftentimes, the output does not necessarily reflect the truth, but rather takes the form that is best suited to serve the interests of the few. It is not uncommon for stories to be censored or even not published at all. To illustrate this, Anthony Bevins (1997:47) argues that “Journalists cannot ignore the pre-set ‘taste ‘of their newspapers, use their own sense in reporting the truth of the any event, and survive. They are ridden by news desks and backbenches executives, have their stories spiked on a systematic basis, they face the worst sort of newspaper punishment –byline deprivation.”

Conclusion

The history of newspaper publishing in the UK shows that economic interests influence media output immensely. I have argued that, historically, culture, ideology, politics, and economics are all interrelated influences on the content of media. In order to show this, my paper has looked at historical events that have had an impact on the course that the media (especially newspapers) has taken during the past few hundred years. Starting with the 18th century, the press has been a battlefield between the rich and the poor. Radical newspapers fought to have a say in politics. Unfortunately, those who had more wealth and invested more capital were the ones able to take control of the press. With the control of the press also came the promotion of certain ideologies. The ruling class favoured the politics that went against the interests of the workers. Politicians and capitalists alike strived to protect their standing. The stamp duty is an example of measures that they were taking to ensure that radical media output does not grow enough to influence political views. Even though this measure did not last, the effect that commercialization has had on newspapers and media output, in general, is still evident. Those who own media corporations prefer an apolitical and commercial approach. Over time, the voices of workers with radical demands have stopped being heard in the mainstream media. Moreover, even the practices of journalists nowadays are influenced by this approach to media as a profit driven enterprise. The relevance of stories is often determined based on commercial appeal and sensationalism, rather than facts. Stories can be censored and facts hidden. Economics, as well as politics are mainly to blame for these developments. McNair (2009) sums up this interrelationship perfectly through his work. The fact that politics, economics, culture, and ideology play a big role in determining media output is undeniable. Although this is unlikely to change in the near future, it is important to know whose politics and interests influence what we read, hear, and see in the media.

Bibliography

Curran, J. and Seaton. Power Without Responsibility : Press, Broadcasting and the Internet in Britain. Routledge, Abingdon, 2010.

McNair, B. News and Journalism In the UK . Routlege, London, 2003.

McQuail D. Mass Communication. SAGE, London, 2008.

Tumber H. News : A Reader. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1999.

Wahl-Jorgensen, K. & Hanitzsch, T. The Handbook of Journalism Studies. Taylor & Francis, Abingdon, 2009.

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Do critical approaches Marxism, feminism, constructivism improve our understanding of international politics?

Abstract

In the contemporary era, the application of critical theoretical approaches is of significant importance if one is willing to develop a more comprehensive understanding of international politics and international relations. Theoretical approaches, such as Marxism, Constructivism and Feminism cannot alone provide such an understanding, but their convergence and can significantly contribute to our increased awareness of global inequalities and the dimensions in which they occur by placing emphasis in not only on the relationship between the structure and agency, but also question their very nature and scrutinised the normative codes which guide human agency. Despite some of the limitations which the theories have, their complementary use can be used successfully in order to gain a more critical perspective on the nature of world governance.

Introduction

In the contemporary era, the application of critical theoretical approaches is of significant importance if one is willing to develop a more comprehensive understanding of international politics and international relations. As this essay will demonstrate, although approaches such as Marxism, Constructivism and Feminism cannot alone provide such an understanding, their complementary use can significantly contribute to our increased awareness of global inequalities and the dimensions in which they occur.

Marxism

The impact of Marxist theory on the development of critical theorising in international politics is one the significance of which can hardly be denied. Despite this, Marxist theorist have often been accused of not taking into account factors such as nationalism, as well as the balance of power among states in order to sustain and structure world politics (Linklater, 2013). Moreover, Marxist theories in the late 1970s and early 1980s found it increasingly difficult to devise an analytical framework for explaining the relationship of nation-states and violence in period of increased globalisation, characterised by increased national fragmentation, as well the resurgence of violent conflicts based on ethnicity (Giddens, 1985). This can the attributed to the inability of traditional Marxist thought to move beyond theorising about the significance of class conflict and the importance of social relations in terms of modes of production. Despite this flaw, more contemporary neo-Marxist theorists have attempted to revitalise this critical approach by placing emphasis on the relationships between states, markets and the capitalist world economy in the era of globalisation (Teschke, 2003; Halliday, 1994; Rosenberg, 1994; Gamble, 1999). The application of Marxist thought has increasingly drawn attention to the problem of global inequality which the capitalist system has led to (Wallerstein, 1979; Thomas, 1999; Linklater, 2013). Thus, the importance of modes of production have successfully been utilised in order to challenge the economic discrepancy, which is characteristic of contemporary world markets and question the power relationships which exist between states on the international level. Being mainly preoccupied with material deprivation and inequality, however, Marxism has failed to take into account the norms and values which governance the structures of economics and politics, a question which has preoccupied constructivist theories of international relations.

Constructivism

By contrast to Marxism, Constructivism places emphasis not only on the importance of material structures, but as well as the normative dimension which is associated with it, as well the importance of identity formation and manifestation (Price and Reus-Smit, 1998). Thus, constructivism attempts to remedy the Marxist’s neglect of the importance of agency and its relationship to structure in the process of devising and implementing decisions related to international politics and relations among states in the era of globalisation (Reus-Smit, 2008).Therefore, Constructivism is complimentary to both more traditional approaches of theorising about international politics, such as Rationalism, as well as more critical approaches such as Marxism (Reus-Smit, 2013). More importantly, the significance of human agency is not deprived from the structure which determines the manifestation of the actor’s interests; in fact it calls for the critical evaluation of the institutionalised norms which are the mediator between structure and agency. This can be of considerable advantage of understanding the contemporary global inequalities which exists, between countries from the Third World and post-industrialist Western states, as it will question not only the existing states of affairs in international politics, but also the moral dimensions of the reasoning behind it. By placing emphasis on the development of normative frameworks which are used as guides and rationale for the implementation of specific decisions in relation to international politics, Constructivism can successfully scrutinise and ‘moralise’ the power inequality among states and if used alongside neo-Marxist theories it can question both structure and agency. What both fail to take into account, however, is that agency in the era of global inequality also has a specific dimension, a problem which is addressed by Feminism.

Feminism

By contrast to both Marxism and Constructivism, feminist theories of international politics and international relations took prominence only in the early 1990s, though their impact for the development of the academic disciplines has been considerable (True, 2003). Feminism as an intellectual tradition questioned the very nature of the agency which had an impact on the development of international politics and introduced in the notion of ‘gender’ as an empirical category and analytical tool through which global inequality and unequal power distribution could be understood (True, 2013). Thus, Feminism, alongside Constructivism could be considered as a major breakthrough as both of them questioned the more traditional discourse of power relations and moved beyond the singular focus on inter-state relations that characterised more traditional theories in the field of International Relations (ibid.). Feminist thought has attracted attention to the specific dimensions of global inequality, resulting from the transformation of economic world markets. In fact, it has been suggested that the process of globalisation has increased the inequality between men and women worldwide, ultimately resulting in a ‘feminisation of poverty’ (Chant, 2007; Chant, 2008). The increased emphasis on export and outsourcing reflecting the priorities of the global financial markets, have disproportionately affected women (Marchand and Runyan 2010). This rise in inequality and insecurity is also linked to the development of violent conflicts in states where inequality between genders is high (Goldstein, 2003). On the other hand, gender equality in states is said to reduce the likelihood of the use of violence in intra-state disputes (Caprioli, 2005; Caprioli and Boyer, 2001). Therefore, it could be argued that the use of more critical perspectives in theorising about international politics could significantly contribute to our understanding of global politics and could potentially results in less violent conflicts in the future if emphasis is placed on the reduction of global inequality and its gendered dimension.

Conclusion

As this essay has demonstrated, the critical theories of Marxism, Constructivism and Feminism could further our understanding of the nature of global inequalities by placing emphasis in not only on the relationship between the structure and agency, but also question their very nature and scrutinised the normative codes which guide human agency. Despite some of the limitations which these theories have, their complementary use can be used successfully in order to gain a more critical perspective on the nature of world governance.

Bibliography

Caprioli, M. (2005). Primed for violence: The role of gender inequality in predicting internal conflict. International Studies Quarterly, 49(2), 161-178.
Caprioli, M., & Boyer, M. A. (2001). Gender, violence, and international crisis. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 45(4), 503-518.
Chant, S. H. (2007). Gender, generation and poverty: exploring the feminisation of poverty in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Edward Elgar Publishing.
Chant, S. (2008). The ‘feminisation of poverty’and the ‘feminisation’of anti-poverty programmes: Room for revision?. The Journal of Development Studies, 44(2), 165-197.
Gamble, A. (1999). Marxism after communism: beyond realism and historicism. Review of International Studies, 25(5), 127-144.
Giddens, A. (1985). The nation-state and violence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Goldstein, J. S. (2003). War and gender: How gender shapes the war system and vice versa. Cambridge University Press.
Halliday, F. (1994). Rethinking international relations. Palgrave Macmillan.
Linklater, A. (2013) ‘Marxism’, ’ in Burchill, S., Linklater, A., Devetak, R., Donnelly, J., Paterson, M. Reus-Smit, C. and True, J., Theories of international relations (Fifth edition.). Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Marchand, M. H., & Runyan, A. S. (Eds.). (2010). Gender and Global Restructuring: sightings, sites and resistances. Routledge.
Price, R., & Reus-Smit, C. (1998). Dangerous liaisonsCritical international theory and constructivism. European Journal of International Relations, 4(3), 259-294.
Reus-Smit, C. (2008). Reading history through constructivist eyes. Millennium-Journal of International Studies, 37(2), 395-414.
Reus-Smit, C. (2013).’ Constructivism’(pp. 217-240), ’ in Burchill, S., Linklater, A., Devetak, R., Donnelly, J., Paterson, M. Reus-Smit, C. and True, J., Theories of international relations (Fifth edition.). Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Rosenberg, J. (1994). The empire of civil society (p. 141). London: Verso.
Teschke, B. (2003). The myth of 1648: class, geopolitics, and the making of modern international relations. Verso.
Thomas, C. (1999). Where is the Third World now?. Review of International Studies, 25(5), 225-244.
True, J. (2003). Mainstreaming gender in global public policy. International Feminist Journal of Politics, 5(3), 368-396.
True, J. (2013). ‘Feminism’, in Burchill, S., Linklater, A., Devetak, R., Donnelly, J., Paterson, M. Reus Smit, C. and True, J., Theories of international relations (Fifth edition.). Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Wallerstein, I. (Ed.). (1979). The capitalist world-economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Ba420 Power and Politics

1. What forms of interpersonal power are evident in the case? Provide evidence to support your answer. One form of interpersonal power is coercive. This is shown by the attitude of the original executives at Disney. The reason for this observation is how the executives required Lasseter to receive ‘great art education’ in order to be hired at Disney. It was also mandatory for him to be taught animation prior to his hiring. Next interpersonal power is reward. Lasseters persistence to learn animation and to work at Walt Disney was his driving force.

Eventually his reward came when he was hired on by Disney. Another reward was the amazing 3D animation movies he created for Disney (Pixar). Lastly expert was also evident in this case. This is obvious in the expertise and detail in the animated movies created by Walt Disney and Lasseter. Combined, their innovative talent in 3D animation set the standard for major motion pictures of this style. 2. In what ways do the two faces of power appear in this case? Two faces appear in the story. The first is the face of darkness, the other one the face of light and truth.

In the case of executives at Disney, they perceived the presence of Lasseter as a threat to their existence. What John Lasseter wants, on the other hand, is just pure contribution of his modern talent to the organization that he sees with ‘personal admiration and respect for Walt Disney and animation in general. There were faces of power to maintain the manual style of animation. While the other force was Lasseter’s overflowing enthusiasm to infuse technology into traditional animation in order to improve on it.

The end result was two forces merging and creating a single reinvigorated Disney company, relevant to the present era. 3. Does the firing of John Lasseter from Disney Studios and the events leading up to his firing demonstrate the ethical use of power? Explain your answer. I don’t believe that there was ethical use of power in this case. Both Lasseter’s hiring and firing was exercised by the executives at Walt Disney in order to continue their existence. The executives realized that the blend of Lasseter’s talent into the company could mean the end to their presence with the company.

They choose to benefit themselves over improving Disney’s animation department by firing Lasseter. 4. Did the firing of John Lasseter indicate the existence of political behavior in the Disney organization? Yes. The company was politicized by the fact that Walt Disney has never been closely challenged by any serious animation studios. They were wary of the fact that Lasseter would bring a change to their system, ultimately changing it from within the organization. Because of this the executives reacted in a way as to preserve their perks and other benefits.

They decided the best strategy would be to terminate Lasseter from the company by any means necessary. 5. Describe a situation, from your experience, where political behavior in an organization contributed to benefit or detriment to you or someone else. In my experience as a Soldier, I have not experienced too much of this issue during my career. As I rose through the ranks and began to work in higher echelons I began to see and experience more of the political banter that occurs to benefit people of the organization.

My example is small, although it led to the decision to retire by a man who had no plans on retiring. My first line supervisor had 24 years of service in the military when we worked together. He had a wealth of knowledge and never held back or strayed from helping his subordinates. He and his boss did not see eye to eye on many things and often had long discussions about what was right and wrong with the organization we worked in. He never faltered and stood for what he believed was right.

One morning as we prepared to leave on a mission his boss wanted him to be somewhere even though the mission took precedence over everything else. His boss came over to our area and halted all actions from happening. Next followed a claim of disrespecting a person of higher grade and he was removed from our company within a week. As he felt the system had failed him he decided it was time to retire. Our organization lost years of experience and the Army lost a valuable part of its senior core of Non-Commissioned Officers over a grudge.

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How Are the 5 Principles of Politics Manifested?

How are the 5 Principles of Politics manifested in the documentary Last Man Standing: Politics, Texas Style? The documentary: ‘Last Man Standing: Politics, Texas Style’ tells the story of two sets of elections in Texas in the year of 2002. The main election shown is the race for State Representative, between the incumbent, Rick Green and his opponent, Patrick Rose. As well as this, the election for state Governor between Perry and Sanchez is also shown.

Throughout the film, the five principles of politics: The History Principle, The Rationality Principle, The Institution Principle, The Collective-Action Principle and The Policy Principle, manifest themselves in many different ways. The first aspect of The 5 Principles is The History Principle. This principle is concerned with how everything to do with politics got to be like it is today. This includes: Why institutions are the way they are, why certain groups of voters choose to vote for certain candidates and how past events can affect politics and elections particularly. This principle is demonstrated very clearly in the documentary.

Firstly, Texas was historically a democratic state but this has changed in recent times and it is clear that in recent history, republicans have a better record in elections in Texas. The documentary explains that during the ‘technological boom’ in Austin, a lot of new voters moved into this area and into Texas in general. The people were predominantly white but the minority groups were also growing which meant that Texas good very easily swing towards the democrat or republican side. One political commentator in the documentary said when talking about voters in Texas, ‘They go out there, find a Republican and they vote for them’.

This shows that at the time of the election this election, the Republican Party were favorites and so therefore was Rick Greene. In this particular case, of the Republican rise, it is clear that religion and more specifically the activity of churches has also had a significant impact on this rise and therefore on the shaping of politics. Furthermore, in the other election followed by the documentary, Tony Sanchez, a Hispanic man, was running. We learn that it was going to be very difficult for Sanchez to win votes because historically, Hispanic politicians have found it very difficult to do so in Texas.

These points also show that historical activity in an area, in this case Texas, can influence politics. Perhaps the most significant way that the History Principle manifests itself in the documentary is through the accusations towards Rick Green that arose one month before the Election Day. He was accused by media of having worked for a supplement business and this was seen as unethical activity by the much of the public of Texas and this indeed showed in the results of the election. This story shows that past events can influence and effect the decision of voters and is a clear demonstration of the History Principle.

The second principle is The Rationality Principle. This principle explains that all political behavior has a purpose. This behavior can range from a simple conversation between friends about the current political situation to The President of the USA making political speeches but it always has a reason and a purpose. In the documentary, this principle is highlighted in several ways. The political behavior of voters is demonstrated when they are interviewed and asked who they are going to vote for.

Some voters were very blunt in saying that they were going to vote Republican, simply because they believed that Texas should be a Republican state and that is what they had always voted Republican. On two occasions, voters implied that they were planning to vote for Patrick Rose simply because of his looks. These two examples show how different factors can influence the political behavior of voters. Furthermore, the behavior of the politicians themselves is shown throughout the documentary because most of everything that the politicians do is politically orientated.

Firstly, it is clear that throughout their campaigns, both Green and Rose talk negatively about each other. When planning and giving their political speeches they attempt to take negative aspects of each other and present these to the voters to try to better their own chance in the election. An example of this was when Rose was talking to voters and explained to them that the other candidate, Green was not from Texas where as he was, clearly an attempt to down his opponent.

Another clear example of this was when Rose attempted to take advantage of the stories that came out about Green by going to the newspaper for support and producing a television commercial. Exactly the same technique was used by Perry towards Sanchez in the race for state Governor, again an attempt to down his opponent by releasing the story. This is the first significant aspect of behavior shown by both politicians. Other aspects of politician behavior were shown throughout the documentary including: constantly expressing their own views, visiting households to talk to voters. All of hese factors explain the fact that the politicians have a clear reason behind their behavior, whether it is attempting to down their opponent or talking about themselves, the majority of their behavior is concerned with simply winning votes, which is called electoral connection. The third principle is the Collective Action Principle. This is the idea that all politics is collective action. In theory, political leaders should act on behalf of voters and act as a voice. However conflict is always likely due to self-interest of the politician as well as the activity of bargaining between politicians and political parties.

This principle is shown in the documentary. Firstly, both politicians engage a lot with voters and one reason that they do this is to try to understand what the voters want from their representative. This demonstrates the theory that politics is collective action and that agendas set by politicians can be a direct result of the opinions and demands of the voters. However, the ideology that political leaders should echo their voters is not realistic and conflict between the voter’s opinion and the individual needs of the politician can be seen throughout the documentary.

Often during the campaign, both Green and Rose made public speeches in which they would mention their plans or agendas if they were to be elected. These statements were often met with applause or cheering from the audience and this shows that that the politician may in fact be saying these things to simply please that particular group and therefore win votes, meeting his individual needs and not necessarily the needs of the other voters.

The fourth Principle is the Institution Principle which explains the rules and procedures that provide incentives for political behavior, thereby shaping politics. These institutions provide authority for politicians and also highlight the areas in which they can govern this authority. This principle is mainly concerned with the rules and procedures for Politicians once they are in office and active so it does not arise a lot. However, the rules of this particular election were illustrated during the documentary.

Although the politicians are able to use almost any technique they want to win votes and minimize votes for their opponent, there were some procedures that had to be followed. During debated between the politicians and the final debate before the election between Green and Rose particularly, there was a concise structure to be followed through giving speaking and then answering questions. Another way in which this principle is apparent in the documentary is during the final Election Day when the political parties are shown counting the votes from different areas in the state.

The aspect of delegation within political parties is also one that is mainly seen after elections, but is shown in minor ways during the election campaign. We see that politicians would delegate responsibility in the campaign to other individuals to within their party. The final principle is the Policy Principle. This explains that political outcomes are the products of individual preferences and institutional procedures. Again, this principle is demonstrated mainly after the elections and during the time when the politicians are actually in office.

This would be demonstrated when agendas are produced by the politicians, whether these agendas are as a result of the individual preferences of the voters or of the politicians themselves. The History Principle, the Rationality Principle, and Collective action principle are illustrated in several ways throughout the documentary. On the other hand, both the Institution Principle and the Policy Principle are not highlighted as much by the documentary, simply because these principles become more apparent after the elections and during the politicians actual reign in Government.

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3. the Future of Religion and Politics in the Developing World

3. The Future of Religion and Politics in the Developing World Religion and Politics are an influential aspect of daily life and continue to affect people today in what they believe in religion and politics. Currently in the news, there is a war regarding religion and beliefs that were made into a movie and portrayed as untrue beliefs from that culture. The politics behind what is brought forth in a story written and then put on a screen has created a religious and political war. Although what was written and produced was viewed as freedom of speech, it has ultimately outraged the believers regarding their religious beliefs.

Religion is a belief in someone or something that allows a person to have prayer and beliefs in their culture for the better of their life as they see it. Religion is very much alive as part of politics (Handleman, 2011, p 58). Politics are what affects not only individuals but also countries that should abide by the laws of what are established in order to obtain peace, structure, and control with the people. When religion and politics are put together, they are essentially within the same, beliefs, structure, searching for peace, and allowing a greater being or source to be in control. Religions

There are many different types of religions and cultures all over the world. There are many different types of Gods that people have faith in and perform prayer to daily. For centuries, certain religions have stayed within the same beliefs; there are new religions throughout the world that have also not thrived, as well. The church, the laws of the church, and Christianity will continue to be alive and growth on earth every day. People should be allowed to believe in whatever God they choose, but in different countries and with their cultures, people can be brought up to believe only in what they are taught.

Catholic Religious Beliefs. There are many religions of the world, and one of the leading religions is Catholicism. The only significant religion, Catholicism, have penetrated extensively into both industrialized democracies and the developing world, is preeminent in Philippines and Latin America and also is the faith of significant portions of the population in a number of sub-Saharan African countries (Handelman, 2011, p. 60). In Africa, there are more Catholic believers and over half of the populations of all adults are baptized.

Inexorably, pastoral and intellectual energy in the church will follow population, and this means that African leaders are destined to play an increasingly prominent role in the global church (Allen, 2006). The world is developing in many areas and having the Catholic belief is becoming stronger than ever. Islamic Religious Beliefs. The Islamic culture is considered not a sacred religion, but one that is of harm and malice. If one would study the Islamic religion, it is not a new religion but one from a path of monotheism.

The monotheism too was developed into Judaism and Christianity. The ignorance about Islam and perceived targeting of Muslims in general by the U. S. -led “war on terrorism” have exacerbated a dangerous and growing divide between Muslims and non-Muslims in the contemporary world (Fisher, 2011, p. 381). The Islamic religious beliefs are straightforward to have acceptance, commitment, peace, and purity. They believe in allowing their God for guidance. Politics The balance of politics and what the government has decided for the future is becoming increasingly complex.

Politics have become more fundamental in the Third World countries in order to help with the growth and expansion of countries. In order for politics to produce appreciable works, democracy would need to function correctly by the people. Religious beliefs may change over time, but politics are most likely to stay the same. The relationship between politics and religion are to be tolerant and accept changes that occur over time. Politics and Independence. The many cultures in Third World countries seek independence and continue to seek justice from their government and leaders.

A threat to the economic well-being is the vast income inequality within developed nations, within many developing nations, and between the developed and developing worlds (Rubin, 2000, p. 421). Each country seeks independence in trade for economic and social changes in order to obtain financial growth. Third World Politics. The principles in other nations seem quite different than what is in the United States. In Third World countries, young children are able to work at an early age in support to be providers in the family.

In the United States, there are laws where children cannot work up until a certain age and need to be in a school system. Equal justice to help children with education and development in order to enhance social mobility throughout Third World countries would be beneficial to all. There are many challenges in Third World countries to obtain proper health benefits, and without assistance, it will often leads to deaths. In conclusion, the world of religion and politics are both needed and desired by many for order and to have something or someone that is of a higher being to respect.

Religion and politics will forever be linked throughout the world. Many cultures will continue to either stay within their beliefs of religion or allow changes outside ones control. Politics will continue to be the focus on what the worldviews as structure for each country to abide by their laws set forth by the governments. Although both religion and politics can evolve in war and corruption, there will always be a higher being to seek answers and follow until the end of time.

War has evolved from words that are harsh and untrue, but prayer has allowed answers to many questions in which have resolved with effective change. References Allen, John (2006, March 10). African and Catholicism. National Catholic Reporter, (19), 11, Retrieved from http://elibrary. bighchalk. com Fisher, M. P. (2011). Living Religions (8th ed. ). (2011 Custom Edition) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Handelman, H. (2011). The Challenge of Third World Development (6th ed. ). (2011 Custom Edition) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Rubin, E. Robert. “The global economy. ” Vital Speeches of the Day. 01 May. 2000: 421

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Loss of the Creature Outside Analysis

People in society today have influences throughout their life that help structure and dictate their thoughts. Choices are made based on these influences, and when these influences begin to take shape as different labels, no real choices are made. People begin to compromise their right to think on their own and instead turn to the most convenient choice. This is how a great deal of society has acts today, choosing the easiest path just so that person can get a given task out of the way and continue on with their life.

These influences are frequently seen in politics today. People become so wrapped up in political parties that they become more interested in who is running in which party, instead of which candidate, at any level of government, has the stances that the voter agrees with the most. According to “The Loss of the Creature” and “Ways of Seeing”, multiple aspects of having the labels the political parties have inhibit voters from making sovereign decisions.

When a candidate is running for an office, they should not have a political party label attached to them because that label can inhibit voters from choosing a candidate who they think will best serve the position to better the region they are running for. Walker Percy constantly reiterates the importance to avoid the beaten track and to not allow experts to control the experiences and dictate the ideas someone may have. Having the labels that political parties have allow different political experts to dictate the way people vote and because of the labels people are losing their ability to make sovereign decisions.

These labels are symbolic complexes because they act as pre-made assumptions that get in the way of the voters ability to make a vote based on personal standards alone. “The highest satisfaction of the sightseer (not merely the tourist but any layman seer of sights) is that his sight should be certified as genuine” (Percy 487). The American voter takes the position of the sightseer, and the voter is losing the ability to have that high satisfaction because the vote is not a genuine vote.

This is what Percy refers to as a loss of sovereignty, and the sovereignty is frequently lost due to the impact of the experts. “He too could use an instructor and a book and a technique, but he would use them as subordinates, just as he would the jackknife” (Percy 489). Percy conveys to the reader that the experts must not be used to form and manipulate any experiences or ideas, but instead used as tools to help guide a person as that person has a genuine experience or forms an idea of their own.

Voters who do not take the time to research candidate’s specific views tend to assume that because they belong to a particular party the candidate’s views will align with the voter’s view. If voters aren’t paying attention to specifically who they are voting for and instead voting out of convenience, they aren’t making their vote count and the candidate that the majority of the people share the most views with might not be elected. Similarly to Walker Percy, John Berger stresses the importance of making your own decisions not based on what others endorse; to do so will bring the power back to the people.

This comes with the implications that the people are not in complete control, and John Berger uses mystification to show that the art critics are in control of the art world because they are making art less accessible (Berger 103). According to the Campaign Finance Institute, out of a random sample of 100 candidates that were elected to the House of Representatives, 20% of their total campaign finances came from the states party funding. That shows a great representation of how much influence the party label has on politics today.

In general, the more funding a campaign had, the more likely that candidate was to win the election (Malbin). The funding of political parties takes away the power from the people because the more a voter who does not research the stances hears about a candidate from different campaign strategies, the more likely the voter will like what he/she hears, base their opinions off of those endorsements, and in turn vote for the candidate. “A people or a class which is cut off from its own past is far less free to choose and to act as a people or a class than one that been able to situate itself in history” (Berger 118).

The voters who do not take the time to research the stances of the candidates are the type of people the Berger is referring to. When the people listen to the critics and choose to not place themselves in the history of politics where they can institute their own decisions of who to vote for, they are not “acting as a people” as Berger refers to. This is because they are not always basing the decision off of which candidate would represent the individual best, who would in turn represent the people the best.

People are being cut off from acting as a people, and this is in part because of the negative influence political party labels have on the overall scheme of politics. As I finish up high school and close into the age to vote, I have become increasingly interested in politics because soon it will be my civil duty to vote. Growing up a fairly independent student, I grew up assessing situations and creating my own opinions like Percy advises people of all ages should do.

My parents never forced their political views on me, and because of that I am able to side with candidates based on my own stances. The more I became interested in politics, the more I began to realize that not all candidates at any level shared the same stances as other members of their equivalent political parties. This is where the idea of calling myself Republican of Democratic became incredibly distasteful and unappealing because every year when elections come, stances of certain representatives change and I have found myself siding with both sides of the party.

Berger would find these labels unappealing as well because labels can be reproduced through media and what the candidate stands for can be altered because of the party they represent. These political party labels are similar to the camera because they are destroying the uniqueness of the candidates like the camera does to paintings (Berger 106). Only so much personal research could be done, so I decided to turn to others to learn more about politics and about their views and stances and different issues. The more I spoke with adults, the more I began to realize how prominent the influence political parties have in our society.

Three different parents of close friends told me they voted either completely democratic or completely republican for the election in 2009 because they were working too often to take the time to research the stances of every single candidate. This is exactly what Percy would not want in this day and age. People are losing their sovereignty as voters because they are following the beaten tracks and following the tour guides without having unique experiences or opinions in this situation. The American voters have the right to have a title that describes the general trend of their political stances.

However, those titles should explain how they morally stand in most circumstances, in most cases conservative or liberal, instead of automatically identifying themselves with a particular party. The importance of eliminating the labels that political parties possess will substantially improve the political system in America because it will cause voters to take the time to truly know who they are voting for, and not base their decision off of a mere title. Walker Percy explains that we as a society can not allow symbolic complexes such as these titles stand in the way of having a sovereign experience.

In this situation, the sovereign experience would be for a citizen to cast a unique vote based solely on personal stances and how much that person agrees with the candidate in question. John Berger would wish to eliminate the labels as well because eliminating the labels would be one step closer to the people truly being in power. Political party labels need to be removed from the political system in America so that the citizens can truly make what they believe to be the correct choice when voting.

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Book The Problem of Media: U.S. Communication Politics

The book The Problem of Media: U.S. Communication Politics in the Twenty-First Century written by Robert W. McChesney discusses the issue of media Reform. He argues that, “The Policies, structures, subsidies and institutions that are created to control direct and regulate the media will be responsible for the logic and nature of the media system whether their content is good, bad or a combination, the media therefore presents a political problem for any society, and an unavoidable one at that” (16).

He contends that there are two main issues on this problem.  The first problem is the structure that creates the content of the information and the second is the structures themselves.  He believes that the way society makes it decisions on how to structure the system and how it decides to solve this needs reformation.  Debates, he believes, will direct shape and create value to the media system.

McChesney writes of how media will exist in all societies.  But their structure and content is determined cultural, economic and political and this determines the amount of solutions each society has to choose from.  In different societies the controlling government decides how this is structured.  He mentions dictatorships and authoritarian regimes will create the type of media that will influence and give him more power and stopping any chance of opposition.  With a democratic society the problem exists between those with power and those with none.  In this society the power is with the media and it is this power that gives a strong support in the building of democracy making media a political tool.

The problems with media being a political tool in a democracy, he states is well known.  The foundation of this is that in order to have a democratic society the citizens must be informed and the media is the tool for this.   It is not that the media is to create the democracy but help to make it more effective to members of that society.  The issue in the reform is all about content.  If it is balanced with views that express both sides of the road.  Giving an opposite stand to democracy, equally important for the society members to make choices on how to structure their society and even more important is how media affects economics.

Media’s beginning influences were in economics and soon spread to politics.  McChesney believes that, “In the United States the starting point for grasping the problem with media is seeing where the media fits in the broader capitalistic economic system” (117).  The problem is between the role media has in the profit-making commercial structured organizations and the need for information that deals with information needed for a democracy.  “It is this tension that fuels much of the social concern around media and media policy making” (17).

The author gives great attention to the meaning of problem and how it relates to what is deemed the problem of media.  I thought this to be kind of repetitious because he gives meaning to the word problem often throughout the book.  I thought that maybe he was trying to make a point at how media will take something and give it so many different meanings as he did.  He then goes on to give a history of the media to give the reader a sense of where it was coming from to see where it was going.  Giving a good historical account of the affects of broadcasting in the 1930’s that created the way our society makes media policy.

He then moves into an analysis into how media became corrupt, deceitful, and missing ethical bases just within this century.  McChesney believes that the United States has not faced these problems making media a servant to those in society that are self-servant.  These are usually the ones that make any decisions in private such as the media corporations that are driven by profits, ignoring what society needs.

“This system has contributed to a political crisis of the highest magnitude and unless it is confronted directly will severely limit our ability to make progress on any of the other major social and political problems that face the nation” (21).  Media should help to give the society an ability to have informed debates on issues that arise from that society.

After reading the book it gave me much to think about, but really no clear solution.  Granted he did talk of reforms but in what sense?  In my opinion reform should come in the way we educate our society.  Now with new technology freedom of speech is a whole new attitude.  Everyone has something to say, whether right or wrong.  I do think there should be some kind of reform, but I’m not sure what kind of reform would be effective.  Education society more on what the meanings of context and content would be more effective than trying to define the problem in multiple ways.

I really didn’t understand context or content until I went to college.  It’s pretty simple but applying it everyday wasn’t something I did until college.  Now everything I read or see on television I take with a grain of salt, until I research it a little more I don’t hold it true.  This kind of education needs to be applied in primary learning structures.  This would help greatly with structuring a well informed society.

I felt the book was very informative, but difficult to read.  I believe that this would make a very good book for educational structures to use.  It awakened an issue in me that I knew was there, but really didn’t think about too much.  I believe this to be pretty true with much of society.  Just yesterday a friend had mentioned something he had heard on the radio about making young school children in Australia stop sing a Christmas song that used the phrase “Ho, Ho, Ho” because of the implications of it’s meaning, whore.

At first I was shocked and angry but after thinking awhile I first thought, the content wasn’t probably reliable or it was taken totally out of context and if it had to do with a more important issue I would have researched the information to find the truth.  This is why I believe media reformation is something that needs to be addressed but the key to the solution is education.

Works Cited:

McChesney, Robert W.  The Problem of Media: U.S. Communication Politics in the       Twenty-First Century.  New York: Monthly Review Press, 2004.

 

Categories
Free Essays

Media politics and intercention

Edward Bernays made important works in the field of public relation. His thoughts and views were pessimistic. It was clearly manifested in his theory that man must be controlled in order to attain democracy. He was known to be a follower of his uncle (Sigmund Freud). Freud’s ideas on man’s behavior were supported by Bernays.

His works were greatly appreciated by critics. His outlooks also change traditional views on things such food and perception of women. Amusingly, he plays a vital role in the mass sales of cigarettes in the United States.

Nowadays, Bernays’ theories have been applied in various political movements in gaining and achieving profit and power.  Moreover, his theories have great impact on American business because it deals mainly on acquiring profits.

US administrations used Freud’s and Bernays’ political concepts to “exploit the subconscious factors that infuse fear and paranoia among the masses… all in the name of democracy (Baroud, 2007).” Anti and pros are everywhere. Anti-democratic groups have made their leap to denounce democratic insights and perceptions. Anti-democratic movements were discontented about democratic advocates’ visions and objectives.

Furthermore, Bernays’ influence is still gained its rewards. Without his ideas the concept of democracy, consumer citizenship and political states and all other aspects of politics were not yet unveiled up to now.

Summary of The Convenience Denial

A controversy on a CNN has been attached to it when a CNN’s new operators made some denial on the “liberal media” issue.  In addition to this, a former CNN executive made some defense on “War made Easy” film which seems to be the talk of the town during its release. Also Eason Jordan, CNN News chief executive made some boastful remarks about the network’s structure of professional military expertise. Eason Jordan was the executive during the extensive invasion US troops in Iraq.

In line with Jordan’s comments, Inter Press released statements saying that his comment would surely “infuriate any veteran reporter who upholds the most basic and important tenet of journalistic profession: independence (Solomon, 2007).”

Jordan was also criticized by his subordinate, Christina Davidson in connection to Jordan’s criticism on “War made Easy”. War made Easy is actually a film which gives the idea that “all of the cable networks were actively complicit in promoting the”—the result of chronic biases rather than “journalistic laziness (Solomon, 2007).”

CNN is known to be a form of “liberal media”. Jordan was accused of supporting Baghdad Government and even after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

One important insight here is that “Often journalists blame government for the failure of the journalist to do independent reporting- we may be the news media, but we’re on the same side and the same page as the Pentagon (Solomon, 2007).”

Reference:

Baroud, Ramzy. The Art of War, Democracy and Public Relations. Retrieved September 26, 2007   from http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18221.htm

Solomon, Norman. The Convenience Denial. Retrieved September 26, 2007 from http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18203.htm

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Free Essays

Food Politics

The ways in which the food system is failing us are numerous. It is failing some in quantity, while failing others in quality. The only members of the food system that are not being exploited are the corporate food producers, and that is because they are the exploiters in this equation. Just like the schoolyard that we are all familiar with, there are two groups on the food system playground; the bullied and the bullies. In comparison to the schoolyard example, the bullies are in the minority, consisting here of transnational corporations and other large organizations with one goal in mind: profit maximization.

In the majority are the bullied, consisting of not only the lowly consumers such as you and I, but also small farms and even government organizations. While the present food system has many flaws that have led to this toxic playground relationship, there are solutions. We hope to clearly demonstrate where the food system is today, how this present food system is failing us, connections to the Antony and Samuelson text, and lastly solutions. The term “food politics” refers to the political aspects of production, control, regulation, inspection, and distribution of food.

Since biblical times, the government has played a dominant role in the production and control of food. The book of Genesis states: “the Egyptian pharaoh took 20 percent of all food production from his farmers as tax” (47:24). This demonstrates the regulatory role that the government has had in food production since the beginning of civilization. The key parties in food politics are consumers, farmers, food safety and quality regulators, retailers and the state. Today, customers demand affordable food, thus placing increased pressure on producers to mediate expenditures.

There is enough food to feed the world, and there has been for many decades. In 2007, the Food and Agriculture Organization calculated that there is enough food to feed the world 1. 5x over (Holt-Gimenez and Patel 2009). While there is adequate food to end world hunger, the problem continues due to greed and unequal power distribution. International policies by the World Health Organization (WHO) have attempted to put an end to world hunger, but because the outcomes of these policies do not benefit the bottom lines of he state and of corporations, they are not supported (Paarlberg 2011). In our own backyard, the Canadian government has removed restrictions surrounding property ownership regulations, thus facilitating the redistribution of Canadian farmland. As far back as 1969, there were recommendations from the federal government to reduce the number of Canadian farmers by 50 to 65 percent, encouraging the movement toward a factory-farming model (Paarlberg, 2011). Factory farming is a model recognized for its increased efficiency and output in farming. This is when the quality of food diminishes.

Low quality food is something every consumer encounters on a daily basis, however the ability to make decisions surrounding food quality choices is greatly dependent on economic standing. Despite the want to purchase high quality food, this may not be financially feasible. Food imported and exported to Canada is inspected and regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which is “internationally recognized for its standards and principles” (CFIA). There are two major issues facing the CFIA. Firstly, their standards and principals are comparable to those of the United States, the most obese nation on earth and not a worthy role model.

Secondly, as of August 2011, meat inspection methods have moved to a two-tier system due to budget cuts. The CFIA cannot afford to regulate meat nationwide and as such have relegated provincial sales and slaughter to that specific level of government and with it the ability to enforce consistent countrywide standards. With common origins in the capitalist system the agro-food sector is arguably one of the most globalized in the various spheres of economic activity. Corporations have already been identified as one of the largest players in the food system, with the majority of these businesses being Agri-Transnational Corporations (TNCs).

This is following two decades of economic liberalization, allowing Agri-TNCs to develop enormously in size, power and influence. Bayer, Monsanto and DuPont are a few of the better-known agri-transnational corporations, the key players in this globalization and domination game (ETC Group 2008). In total, there are six large agro chemical manufacturers that “control nearly 75% of the global pesticide market, [and] are also seed industry giants. ” thus creating an oligopoly (ETC Group 2008). A small collection of large companies produces the majority of goods, giving consumers the ability to choose the best of the worst.

This allows the corporations belonging to the oligopoly to collaborate on price, both at a consumer and employee level, protecting their profit margins by continually oppressing the consumers and workers into either accepting the offered price, or receiving nothing. Farmers are often bound by lengthy contracts to buy farm inputs from, and sell a specified crop, to the same corporation. This translates into farmers being held at ransom at every step of production. They are exceedingly dependent on a “corporate package” while denying communities control over their own food and future.

The package consists of high-cost inputs including synthetic fertilizers, chemical pesticides and unsustainable genetically modified seeds that do not germinate as easily, ensuring the continuous cycle of dependency. The push towards industrial, high-input agriculture is driving farmers into debt. They must take out loans in order to afford modified seeds, and more effective fertilizers and pesticides. The vast majority of food related TNCs share the same quality of holding global investments in the food industry and controlling much of how food is grown, processed, distributed and purchased.

The aforementioned oligopoly creates a relationship of dependence. Both the consumers and employees are dependent on these TNCs on a daily basis. Because TNCs dominate the industry in these countries, and government regulation is lacking, the reserve army of labour is highly exploitable. If these workers are fired from the TNCs, there are few other employers with which to seek work. From a consumer perspective, most all of the products available in retail outlets are produced by these TNCs, with little choice of products from other companies. This market domination combined with the ollaboration between TNCs for price setting in a given market creates the perfect storm for these parties to be marginalized. As illustrated in Figure 1, ten companies own the majority of food products that we consume, but due to the fact that they have many subsidiaries – each with different branding- consumers have a false sense of choice. Industrial food and farming practices not only deny local communities and indigenous people control over their own water, forests, minerals, biodiversity, and land, but also devalues their local wisdom and knowledge of farming practices.

This industrialization clearly abuses both the area around local citizens as well as the citizens themselves. While these parties, the majority of the population, are disadvantaged as our food system industrializes, corporations and governments benefit by way of increased profits and domination. Implications of this change are at the expense of depriving peasants and small food producers around the world of their basic human rights while limiting their existing livelihood, culture, health, and self-determination. A growing trend in recent years has been agro fuel production.

We are seeing a partnership of multinationals such as BP global for the conversion of land to cash crop rather than subsistence production. Revisited again under the contract-growing model, Monsanto has created a situation in which farmers cannot produce food for sustenance, but rather they must employ monocropping. This increases dependency on purchased inputs and on foreign markets that communities have no say in, and therefore threatening local subsistence and food security. “Agro fuels, also referred to as biofuels, are fuels derived from food crops such as corn, soya, canola, sugar cane, and oil. (Martini and Shiva 2008). Massive deforestation in Brazil due to monocropping for agro fuels has caused the displacement of indigenous peoples and devastating effects on the climate. “The FAO argues [that] agro fuels account for 10% of food price rise, while the IMF and IFPRI claim 30%, and the World Bank estimated a contribution of between 65% and 75%. ” (Chakraborrty and Phillips 2008). This information is essential when evaluating the impact that agro fuels have in Brazil and in many other countries and communities.

In Ending Hunger in Our Lifetime, food security is defined as “access by all people at all times to enough food for an active healthy life” (Runge, Senauer, Pardey, and Rosegrant 2003:15). The World Health Organization (WHO) expands on this concept and presents the three pillars of food security: (1) Availability – having a consistent supply and sufficient quantity of food, (2) Accessibility – having the resources to ensure a nutritious diet, and (3) Food Use – appropriate use centered around having rudimentary knowledge of nutrition (Schanbacher 2010:12).

When discussing food politics, a central issue is the imminent threat to food security. Food insecurity is encouraged by many potential risk factors including, but not limited to, globalization, population growth, trade policies, food aid, a loss of agricultural productivity, and the genetic modification of food. Thomas Malthus, an 18th century economist and author of “On the Principle of Population” wrote that “food is necessary to the existence of man [and] that the passion between the sexes is necessary and will [never cease]. ” (Malthus 1798).

He then suggested that while population will continue to grow in a geometrical ratio (1,2,4,8, etc…), that land subsistence only grows in an arithmetic sequence (1,3,5,7, etc…) and is therefore unable to support the population, thus posing a threat to food security. The powerful forces within the food system oppose this Malthusian theory with the argument that the rate of population growth is slowing, which overall is true, but population growth continues to soar in the poorest countries; the countries where food insecurity is the biggest concern.

Figure 2: Population Growth 1990-2100 PopulationIncrease (%) 1990202521001990-2100 Developing Countries4. 087. 0710. 20150 Developed Countries1. 211. 401. 5024 World5. 308. 4711. 70121 Source: United Nations 1993. Doha, Qatar. It aimed to promote trade liberalization as a means of rendering developing countries less vulnerable to food insecurity. The reduction of international trade protections and tariffs after the 1994 Uruguay Round led to the rapid transfer of products throughout the world, but not at an equal rate or proportion.

When speaking on these imbalances, the Doha Declaration stated: We agree that special and differential treatment for developing countries shall be an integral part of all elements of the negotiations and shall be embodied in the schedules of concessions and commitments and as appropriate in the rules and disciplines to be negotiated, so as to be operationally effective and to enable developing countries to effectively take account of their development needs, including food security and rural development (WTO 2001).

These imbalances were prevalent after the 2008 economic crisis as more developed, and thus powerful, countries were able to protect themselves from loss of profit through restrictive trade policies. By limiting imports, which tend to come from developing nations, developed countries were able to mitigate damages. Take for example the differing trends in Asia and Africa present in Figure 3; In Asia, rates of undernourishment were stable post 2008, while they rose significantly in Africa (FAO 2011).

As defined by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), food aid is “ a response to address the dietary and nutritional needs of [vulnerable] populations, [to help] and enhance [their] livelihoods and become self-reliant, all essential for sustainable development. ” (CIDA n. d. ). It is important to establish that food aid is not the answer to food security and that there are many biases that exist within its system. Amongst others, food aid has been criticized for being donor directed, promoting domestic interests, being driven by exporters, and that development is not the primary goal.

This criticism has led some to refer to food aid as “food dumping” as the inexpensive food being offered to poorer nations at highly subsidized prices undercuts the local farmers who cannot compete with these prices. They are then driven out of their jobs, which further slants the market in favour of large producers such as those from the US and Europe (Runge, Senauer, Pardey and Rosegrant 2003:125). The USA currently provides approximately 60% of all international food aid and its primary recipients are Peru, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Jordan, Egypt and the Philippines.

Given their massive “donations”, many American agricultural lobby groups hoped food aid would lure recipients into dependence, and that when taken away, the beneficiaries would be forced to become paying customers. In an attempt to avoid entering into the coercive relationship that is food aid, some countries have found alternative strategies to deal with food shortages. One method is an alteration of diet from eating fewer meals each day to consuming less desirable “famine foods” and selling non-essential assets in order to purchase food (Paarlberg 2010:72).

In Food Aid: A cause, or symptom, of development failure, or an instrument for success? Srinivasan asserts that food aid “blunts incentives for domestic food production and hence increases the probability of long-term dependency on donors; or that by alleviating food shortages, it enables the regime in power to postpone, if not abandon, politically costly economic reforms. ” (1993). In line with this assertion comes the proposition to replace traditional food aid with a one-time distribution of farming equipment, livestock, and money in a bid to return people to their previously productive lifestyles.

One of the ways in which donors hold power over recipient countries is through Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs), promoted by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). SAPs are imposed under the guise of assisting countries in bringing their “national macroeconomic conditions to a place where [they] can benefit from regional and international trade agreements. ” (Schanbacher 2010:14). A SAP will require countries to limit their social safety nets and to enter basic necessities such as food, water and land into the private sector.

These prescriptions require countries to reduce social safety nets and introduce survival necessities like food, water and land to the commodity market in order to receive the loans they need (Samuelson and Antony 2012:246). These specifications have led to increasing food insecurity, a lack of social protections (namely health care and education) and a widening of class inequality. One manifestation of a lack of food security in a given society may take the form of riots.

Food riots are caused by a jump in food prices, which results from crop failure, ineffective storage methods and hoarding (Lang and Heasman 2004:12). In a desperate attempt to obtain nutrients, the public may become desperate and frustrated enough to attack shops, farms and government buildings. In a recent Globe and Mail article entitled Food riots: What creates the anger? Evan Fraser, co-author of the book Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations wrote that “it’s the sense of injustice rather than price volatility that ultimately causes the rioting”.

In 2011, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, the world’s largest exporter of wheat, ordered over 800,000 tonnes of the grain and stockpiled it in an attempt to avoid civil unrest. His plan failed and infuriated citizens took to the streets in protest (Globe and Mail 2011). If food prices continue to rise at their current rate, we can only assume that the frequency and intensity of foot riots will increase. With profit being the primary goal of most involved in the agricultural system, monocropping has been employed by many of the world’s food producers.

As defined by Schanbacher in The Politics of Food (2010:56), monocropping refers to the practice of growing the same crop year after year without rotation to other crops. This method is economically rewarding for farms as it produces higher yields, allows them to invest in crop-specific equipment and because many governments provide subsidies to farms which utilize this method. By continuously growing a single crop, (namely soybeans, wheat and corn), the land becomes depleted of its nutrients and therefore highly dependent on fertilizers and incapable of supporting vegetative life.

Those employing this method often choose to abandon the land after leeching it of its nutrients, as it is less expensive than working to maintain it. Furthermore, just as mortality rates in the Native American population soared after being exposed, by European settlers, to infectious diseases to which they were not immune, monocropping exposes crops to the same situation as they lose their genetic diversity. Take for example the Irish Potato Famine of 1845, which occurred after potatoes were introduced in response to the suffering economy and extremely low wages of the working class.

Though originally intended to serve as a supplement, potatoes swiftly became a staple of the Irish diet and when a bacteria travelled to the UK in 1845, the entire crop was wiped out. Over the next three years, one in eight Irish died of starvation, but unfortunately, many of us seem not to have learnt our lesson (Nestle 2007:247). In fact, the US government currently offers substantial subsidies to those farming the primary monocropping products: corn, soybeans and wheat. When discussing public wellbeing in the United States of America, one often references the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA’s mandate is to promote safety through ensuring that: conventional foods, dietary supplements, and drugs are safe and accurately labeled, and to ensure that drugs have benefits confirmed in clinical trials (Nestle 2007:227). Despite being an American institution, the FDA has many international interests and is considered the de facto standard around the world. In 2009, President Barack Obama called the FDA’s failure to inspect more than 95% of food processing plants “a hazard to public health” (Paarlberg 2010:158).

Many members of the general public have called for additional funding to support more complete inspection coverage, which would alleviate the significant pressure that is currently being placed on small and organic farms that cannot compete with their large competitors with ties to the FDA. The Food and Drug Administration is also responsible for researching and publishing information about the safety of different foods. Of particular concern are the potential risks associated with the consumption of Genetically Modified foods.

Despite claims that there are no studies showing links between GM foods and health risks, in 1998 the FDA was forced to publicize more than 44,000 internal documents noting links with allergies, toxins, new diseases, anti-biotic resistant diseases, nutritional problems and cancer causing agents (Paarlberg 2010:168). In 1961 the World Health Organization instated the Codex Alimentarius Commission whose purpose was to create international food safety standards, but to this day there are still many dangerous chemicals in use (Lang, Heasman 2004:48).

Though guidelines exist to limit the use of chemicals in genetically modified foods, little is done about those used in animal feed and other by-products that are eventually consumed by humans. Due to bioaccumulation, the “progressive increase in the amount of a substance in an organism or part of an organism which occurs because the rate of intake exceeds the organism’s ability to remove the substance from the body. ” the effect of these toxins only increases as the products arrive at the top of the food chain: humans (U. S. Geological Survey: 2007).

These pesticides provide a pathway for Persistent Organic Pollutants, which we store in our body fat and which have a destructive impact on humans, wildlife, land and water (Lang and Heasman 2004: 225). In fact, POP’s have been linked to everything from cancer to reproductive and birth defects to neurological diseases. Though food producers are expected to follow CDCA (Centre for Disease Control Agency) guidelines, this only protects consumers if they ingest a single portion of an individual item (Lang and Heasman 2004: 226,227).

Foods with the highest levels of POP’s include: butter, melons, cucumbers, peanuts, popcorn, spinach and squash (Lang and Heasman 2004:227). This poses a major problem as even if foods are individually within the CDCA guidelines, collectively they pose major risks. With the recent trend towards “Green Politics”, the amount of pesticides used has decreased and due to biased education the general public has assumed this to mean that our food is safer. Unfortunately, the toxicity of pesticides used has increased approximately 10-100x since 1975 thus putting consumers at great risk (Lang and Heasman 2004:227).

One cannot discuss Genetically Modified foods without referring to the Monsanto Corporation. In 2001, Monsanto was listed as #3 in the world when it came to agrochemical sales and many have labeled it “the worlds most unethical company” (Nestle 2007:101). They are a world leader in the production of genetically modified foods and they created the highly poisonous herbicide Roundup which is incredibly damaging to both ecology and humans. Unfortunately, Monsanto, and many other companies like them, have taken advantage of their positions of power to bias the public in favour of their products.

In a 1999-2000 American Dietetic Association nutrition fact sheet sponsored by Monsanto, they said, “The U. S. government has a well co-ordinated system to ensure that new agricultural biotechnology products are safe for the environment and to animal and human health” (Nestle 2007:113). Given that the ADA represents the interests of 70,000 nutritionists many see their “fact sheets” to be trustworthy, but we need to be more wary as many ADA certified nutritionists are in fact employed by companies like the Monsanto Corporation (Nestle 2007:113).

In Das Kapital, Karl Marx presents the idea of commodity fetishism; that in a capitalist society, money and commodities are fetishes that inhibit our ability to see the reality of a given situation because we view them as relationships between goods as opposed to a relationship between people. In the case of food security, commodity fetishism prevents people from acknowledging that someone was exploited to produce a given product and that our choices as consumers support this unfair treatment (Thomson 2010:164-166).

This purposeful distancing of the owners from their means of production allows them, and as a result, the average consumer, to disengage from the food system. Raj Patel, the author of Stuffed and Starved connects this to one of the three pillars of food security- food accessibility- and says that “the fantasy of those not willing to pay has removed the need for compassion from food economics, as if to say that it is someone’s choice to go hungry as opposed to their inability to afford or meet the high asking price. . This enables society to believe that “our choices at the checkout don’t take away the choices of those who grow our food (2008). In Power and Resistance, Sandy Miller discusses the idea of food as inspiration and imperative for social change. She outlines ways in which the food system is failing and some potential solutions. Amongst them, Miller focuses on modification of land use practices, ownership of food infrastructure, accessibility to land, food distribution policy, and alternative food movements.

The road is long, and not well travelled, but there is hope for a revolution within our global food system and it rests on civil society becoming more educated and thus, engaged. We have to ask questions: Where does our food come from? What is actually in it? What constitutes a healthy diet? We have to change the way people think about food- they have to be the change. Without people standing up, asking questions, and actually practicing what they preach, nothing will change. Though land is widely considered to be a renewable resource, we must examine the veracity of this claim.

Land has the capacity to renew itself, but as more infrastructure is built, less cropland is available and as a result that which remains is often exposed to overuse and abuse; as was previously explained in the instance of monocropping. Furthermore, due to this leeching of nutrients from the soil, erosion rates have accelerated to the point where land reformation cannot occur and genetically modified seeds and fertilizers (such as Monsanto’s RoundUp) are being used more prevalently.

When crops are grown on land that has been leeched of its nutrients, the produce yielded from there will too be nutrient-weak; one example being genetically modified rice. This rice has vitamin A added to it, however to meet your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, one would need to consume fifty bowls of (Norton 2012). Miller presents the idea of land reserves as an important route in the labyrinth of solutions. A land reserve is a “zone in which agriculture is recognized as the priority use, [where] farming is encouraged and non-agricultural uses are controlled” (ALC 2012).

Miller references one very successful case study; British Columbia’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). The ALR covers almost 5 million hectares of private and public land that may be farmed, forested or vacant and any person or people intending on using this land must plan in accordance with the ALR mandate of preserving agricultural land (Samuelson and Antony 2012:257). Because the primary goal of food producers is profit, they are not concerned with proper land maintenance and, as a result, the nutritional value of their goods.

When discussing land, it is essential to consider its accessibility and distribution, as this is a major indicator of who maintains ownership of the food infrastructure. In a 2011 paper released by the United Nations, titled Corruption in the Land Sector, the Food and Agriculture Organizations reported that: Effective and enforceable land governance provides a necessary framework for development and an important defense against many forms of corruption. It supports food security and ensures sustainable livelihoods that are essential for people and countries that rely on land as one of their main economic, social and cultural assets.

For example, empirical findings from more than 63 countries show that where corruption in land is less prevalent, it correlates to better development indicators, higher levels of foreign direct investment and increased crop yields. (FAO 2011) A national example of this “[in]effective and [un]enforceable land governance” can be seen in Ontario where the local food infrastructure has been systematically dismantled by the government as they offer payouts to farmers willing to forgo planting fruit trees in favour of more economically viable options such as real estate investments (FAO 2011).

When interviewed, farmers and stakeholders proposed solutions that would “reframe the food chain from farming to processing to storage, distribution and marketing. ” (Samuelson and Antony 2012:258-259). To reach the goal of more equitable distribution of, and access to land, many food movements rely on social justice and well-distributed power. These movements recognize that our current food system is in need of an egalitarian perspective on food infrastructure. Agroecology may be one of the most influential food movements thus far.

This movement promotes the potential to create a new way of living in which the presence of humans will not destroy our planet. Samuelson and Antony describe agro ecology as “a way of thinking in tune with an agricultural ecosystem that tests and solves problems where they arise, in the context of local pests and beneficials, climatic benefits and challenges, and the realities of locally financed and managed farming. ”. Among other techniques, agroecology also involves the use of century old farming methods such as crop rotation.

Crop rotation involves planting in a multi-year cycle so as to avoid depletion of nutrients, and susceptibility to pests (2012:260). La Via Campesina, a peasant organization, is dedicated to promoting food sovereignty through the use of natural resources and support of domestic markets. Canada’s National Farmer’s Union constitutes one group which makes up the 150 million members from 69 different countries. La Via Campesina’s mandate is to grant membership solely to peasants (representatives of large corporations are not welcome) and to ensure that power remains within the hands of the majority (Samuelson and Antony 2012:259).

Another alternative to supporting these large corporations, The Farm-to-Community Movement, is presented in Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health: “this category aims to connect farmers to local communities through farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture (customers pay farmers in advance for seasonal produce), and programs that link farmers to schools, restaurants, and other institutions. ” (Nestle 2007:x). Community gardens are another popular strategy that can help provide safe and nutritious food while simultaneously supporting local infrastructure.

A community garden is a local plot of land worked on by a group of people who share the work, as well as the crops. In this process food is not fetishized as a commodity, instead creating an alternative to capitalism as well as providing the benefit of healthy, local, and organic food. Acadia University features a community garden, allowing for students and community members to have the opportunity to grow their own crops. In addition to splitting the yield amongst its members, the garden supplies food to the Wheelock dining hall, along with Wolfville’s local food bank.

Many have created community gardens in what space they have in their own backyards and most of these gardens function as charities. This allows people living in poverty the opportunity to eat local and organic food they may otherwise be unable to afford thus bolstering all three pillars of food security: accessibility, availability and food use. The presence of community gardens is one aspect of food relocalization; a movement which focuses on eating, growing and distributing locally as a means of lowering carbon emissions (due to shorter travel time) and of stimulating the local economy.

Relocalization focuses on advocating changes in scale, ownership, and relationships from one end of the supply chain to the other. This practice is employed by communities around the world who harvest enough food to sustain themselves, but do not produce for profit. This process is concerned with feeding all members of the given community, and is considered an effective means of eradicating poverty. In 2007, chef and restaurateur Jamie Oliver founded the Pass It On food movement, which encourages healthy eating, habits through a method of education, which promotes exponential growth in its followers.

His inspiration came from the British Ministry of Food’s attempt to manage food shortages by educating the public about proper nutrition during World War II (Oliver 2009:8). With this in mind, he formed his own radical movement in an effort to raise awareness and incite action to help solve the food crisis. In 2010, the largest killers in America were diet-related diseases (TEDTalks 2010). This is the fuel behind the movement’s transfer to the United States, more specifically, Huntington Beach, Virginia – the fattest town in America (Oliver 2009).

He was met with widespread criticism and a general lack of acceptance due to his harsh critique of the American school system. Oliver suggests a weekly session, 30-60 minutes, to educate children on nutrition and healthy meal options (TEDTalks 2010). This solution would be both easy to implement and inexpensive, meaning the government would not have to cut any presently funded programs in order to reallocate finances. Oliver also suggests introducing food ambassadors into local supermarkets.

These ambassadors would be tasked with showing consumers what to buy, how to read labels, and how to cook quick and healthy meals (TEDTalks 2010). The costs of such an initiative would be borne by either the corporations who own products sold in the supermarket or the supermarket itself. Oliver believes that “big corporations need to put food education on the top of their priority list, and at the heart of their businesses” because a large part of change lies in their hands (TEDTalks 2010). They have a corporate responsibility to provide a new, fresh standard of food, and we, as consumers must hold them accountable.

While it may feel like there is no way to avoid being failed by the food system, there is a solution to the problem that you can implement on your own, without the need to influence others. There are many publications released each year, discussing what constitutes healthy eating, but there is one that supersedes the other in terms of influencing the eating choices of the average Canadian citizen; Canada’s Food Guide. Canada’s Food Guide was overhauled in 2007, and renamed Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide (Health Canada 2011).

While the majority of the Canadian population, including schools and other public institutions, use this guide when planning meals they have little to no understanding as to how this guide was developed. The Food Expert Advisory Committee conducted the redesign of the guide in 2007, with members appointed by Health Canada (Health Canada 2011). One would assume that the members of this committee would be physicians and nutritionists that had a keen interest in the betterment of our heath; that they would be using their knowledge for good.

A closer examination of the members of this committee uncovers the contrary; that many of the members have a strong conflict of interests. Paul Paquin held the position of chair at the time of the 2007 Food Guide revisions, while simultaneously acting as vice-president of the International Dairy Federation (Health Canada 2012). Paquin is not alone in holding a conflicting position while on the Food Expert Advisory Committee. Also advocating for the dairy industry is committee member Dr.

Mansel Griffiths, who is concurrently on the Expert Scientific Advisory Committee for Dairy Farmers of Canada (Health Canada 2012). With our Food Guide in the hands of such individuals, is it any wonder that dairy has it’s own distinct category in our Food Guide? Separate from the interests of these members of the committee, there is also the issue of meat in Canada’s food guide. In 2011, Harvard University released a study on the effects of red meat, disclosing that consumption leads to an increase of death due to cancer and heart disease, as well to an overall risk of death (Harvard School of Public Health 2012).

The study detailed that one daily serving of unprocessed meat increased the overall risk of mortality by 13%, while the same serving of processed meat increased the risk by 20% (Harvard School of Public Health 2012). This then begs the question of why it is so ingrained in the minds of civil society that we “need” animal protein to survive? Despite these findings being published by a well-respected institution, Canada’s Food Guide continues to recommend two daily servings of meat for adult females and three for adult males (Health Canada 2007).

They also suggest eating two servings of fish a week, and choosing lower sodium luncheon (processed) meat products (Health Canada 2007). Providing that an individual does eat two servings of fish a week that leaves 12-19 servings available for the consumption of red meat. Canada’s Food Guide fails to reflect these well-researched findings because they are not in the best interest of the one-percent. Cattle farming, both for dairy and beef are lucrative industries in Canada, and they share close ties with the ruling class.

The government is invested in protecting the presently established capitalist environment, that of bottom lines and the best interests of the minority- capitalist corporations- and in doing so is harming the majority- it’s citizens. As has been shown in this report, food security is part and parcel of a larger cycle of social problems. In Power and Resistance, Antony and Samuelson present some of the issues which are both affected by and effect the matter of food security: persistent poverty in Canada, Indian residential schools, and the global economic crisis.

Though not comparable to many developing countries around the world, it is essential to note that food insecurity does exist in developed countries such as Canada. In the 2007-2008 census it was reported that 7. 2% of Canadians were living in households that were food insecure (Health Canada). A primary contributing factor to the inability of Canadians to access food is its high cost. In 2012, Dieticians of Canada released the report The Cost of Eating in BC 2011 which drew attention to the fact that many British Columbians don’t have the resources to afford nutritious food.

This is due, in large part, to the significant rise in food and shelter costs and the unchanged welfare rates (Dietitians Canada). In essence, people are not earning any more but their costs are rising meaning they cannot afford what Food Secure Canada calls “safe food”: nourishing foods being readily at hand and the restriction of unhealthy products. One of the most impoverished groups in Canada is our Aboriginal community and as was presented, much of the school-age population was forced into residential schools up until 1998 when the last band school was dismantled.

In these residential schools, food accessibility was of major concern as poor nutrition and the withholding of food were used as a means of control and suppression. Even after the closure of these institutions, the aboriginal community is continuing to feel the effects of its government’s exploitation. A 2010 study from the University of Western Ontario found that parental residential school attendance had a positive correlation with experiencing food insecurity, and that food insecurity was negatively correlated with doing well in school. In Health Canada’s 2007-2008 report on Household Food Insecurity, 20. % of Aboriginals were found to be living in food insecure households- this is 3 times higher than the non-Aboriginal households. “The global financial and economic crisis has pushed an additional 100 million people into hunger in 2009, bringing the overall number of undernourished people in the world to over one billion. ” (FAO). The current crisis shadowed the climbing price of food and significantly limited food accessibility worldwide. In 2009, domestic staple foods in developing countries cost approximately 20% more than they did in 2007 (FAO).

In order to deal with food insecurity, which directly threatens development, many households have been forced to implement negative coping strategies such as: selling of assets, becoming trapped in debt, withdrawing children from school, illegal activities, and forced migration. Furthermore, with the simultaneous decline in income and rise in food costs, individuals often reduce spending on “safe food”- primarily meat, dairy products, fruits and vegetables. What is clear from these examples is that there is a pervasive interconnectedness and that in order to make progress, multi-faceted and situation-appropriate approaches must be developed.

To conclude, while it is easy to fall into the “traps” that result in the exploitative relationship between multinational producers and consumers, there are other options. The current food system is laden with large organizations that take advantage of limited consumer knowledge combined with government partnerships. This pairing allows for consumer knowledge to stay at a level where they can be easily exploited, demonstrating that the government is a key player in the continued failure of the food system in the eyes of their own citizens. All is not lost, as there are ways that individual consumers can mitigate the ffects that this failure has on them. The solution is for consumers and other members of the bullied group to look out for their own interests. Having the maximum control and knowledge about what is going in your body is paramount. Eating locally allows for the greatest possible understanding of the narrative of a given good before it reaches your plate. Be an informed citizen: do research on the issues that affect your wellbeing, do not let power equal credibility, trust no one and question everything. References: “Agricultural Land Reserve. ” Provincial Agricultural Land Commission. Retrieved 11/26/12. http://www. alc. gov. bc. ca/alr/What_is_Ag_Land. htm). Canadian Biotechnology Action Network. (2012). Labeling of Genetically Engineered Chakraborrty, A. (2008). Exclusive: we publish the biofuels report they didn’t want you to read. The Guardian, Retrieved from http://www. guardian. co. uk/environment Eberhardt, Jennifer, Paul Davies, Valerie Purdie-Vaughns, and Sheri Lynn Johnson. 2006. …. “Looking Deathworthy: Perceived Stereotypicality of Black Defendants Predicts ….. Capital Sentencing Outcomes. ” Psychological Science 17(3):383-386. Eric Holt-Gimenez and Raj Patel. 2009. Food Rebellions! Forging Food Sovereignty to Solve the Global Food Crisis . New York, New York: Pambazuka Press, 2009. ETC Group. (2008). Who owns nature. Corporate Power and the Final Frontier in the Commodification of Life, No. (100), Retrieved from http://www. etcgroup. org/content/who-owns-nature “Food Aid: Reducing World Hunger” Canadian International Development Agency. Retrieved 11/26/12 (http://www. acdi-cida. gc. ca/acdi-cida/acdi-cida. nsf/eng/JUD-24133116-PQL). Foods in Canada. Retrieved October 15, 2012, from Canadian Biotechnology Action Network: http://www. cban. ca/Resources/Topics/Labeling “Glossary: Bioaccumulation. ” U. S.

Geological Survey. 11/14/12. (http://water. usgs. gov/nawqa/glos. html). Gyorgy, S. (2003, July 10). Genetic agriculture designed to feed the rich, not the world. Globalism Institute at RMIT University, Retrieved from http://www. smh. com. au/articles/2003/07/09/1057430279267 Harvard School of Public Health. (2012). Press Releases. Retrieved October 14, 2012, from Harvard School of Public Health: http://www. hsph. harvard. edu/news/press- releases/2012-releases/red-meat-cardiovascular-cancer-mortality. html Health Canada. 2007. Eating Well With Canada’s Food Guide. Retrieved October 14, 2012, from Health Canada: http://www. c-sc. gc. ca/fn-an/alt_formats/hpfb- dgpsa/pdf/food-guide-aliment/view_eatwell_vue_bienmang-eng. pdf Health Canada. (2011, October 21). Food Expert Advisory Committee. Retrieved October 14, 2012, from Health Canada: http://www. hc-sc. gc. ca/fn- an/consult/frac-ccra/index-eng. php Health Canada. (2012). Membership List of the Food Expert Advisory Committee. Retrieved October 16, 2012, from Health Canada: http://www. hc-sc. gc. ca/fn- an/consult/frac-ccra/memb-eng. php Lang, Tim and Michael Heasman. 2004. Food Wars: The Global Battle for Mouths, Minds and Markets. Sterling, Virginia: Earthscan. Leeder, Jessica. 011. Food riots: What creates the anger? Globe and Mail. Retrieved October 15th 2012. (http://www. theglobeandmail. com/news/world/food-riots-what-creates-the-anger/article564412/) Leigh, P. (2008). Eu biofuels target ‘probably a mistake,’ france says. Reuters: EU Observer. Retrieved from http://euobserver. com/news/26419 Lymbery, Philip. 2012. “Jargon Buster. ” Acompassionateworld. org. Retrieved November19, 2012 (http://www. acompassionateworld. org/jargon-buster). Malthus, T. R. , Winch, D. , & James, P. 1992. An essay on the principle of population. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. Martini, C. & Shiva, V. (2008). The international commission on the future of food and agriculture: Manifesto on climate change and the future of food security. Arsia – Regione Toscana: Sesto Fiorentino (FI) by Press Service Srl. DOI: ftp://ftp. fao. org/paia/organicag/vandana_poster. pdf Marx, K. , Engels, F. , & Levitzky, S. L. 1970. Das Kapital, a critique of political economy. Chicago, Illinois: Regnery Gateway. Nestle, Marion. 2007. Food Politics: How the Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. London, England: University of California Press. Norton, Amy. 2012. “Genetically Modified Rice a Good Vitamin A Source. Reuters. Retrieved 11/26/12 (http://www. reuters. com/article/2012/08/15/us-genetically-modified-rice-idUSBRE87E0RO20120815). Oliver, Jaime. 2009. Jamie’s Food Revolution. New York, NY, USA: The Penguin Group. Paarlberg, Robert. 2010. Food Politics:What Everyone Needs to Know: What Everyone Needs to Know. New York, New York: Oxford University Press. Patel, Raj. 2009. “Stuffed and Starved – Markets, Power and the Hidden Battle for the World’s Food System. ” Review of African Political Economy 36(119):143-144. Philip, M. (2009). Critical sociology: The agrofuels project at large. (pp. 5(6) 825-839). New York: Cornell University. Retrieved from http://devsoc. cals. cornell. edu/research/research-projects/upload/agrofuels-project-mcm-2009. pdf Public Service Alliance of Canada. 2011. “Starved budgets are a threat to food safety. ” PSAC. November 19, 2012 (http://www. psac-afpc. com/issues/campaigns/3c/cfia-e. shtml). Runge, C. Ford. , Benjamin Senauer, Philip Pardey and Mark W. Rosegrant. 2003. “Ending Hunger in our Lifetime: Food Security and Globalization. ” Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Samuelson, Les and Wayne Antony. 2012. Power and Resistance.

Black Point, Nova Scotia and Winnipeg, Manitoba. Fernwood Publishing. Saving Crops, Saving Lives: The Need for More Aggressive Support to Climate Change Adaptation. ” Canadian Hunger Foundation. 11/14/12. (http://www. chf. ca/documents/Latest_News/Climate_Change_Adaptation. pdf). Schanbacher, William. 2010. The Politics of Food: The Global Conflict between Foot Security and Food Sovereignty. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger. Srinivasan, T. N. 1993. Food Aid: A cause, or symptom, of development failure, or an instrument for success? New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University. TEDTalks (Director). 2010.

Jamie Oliver’s TED Prize Wish [Motion Picture]. Tim Lang and Michael heasman. 2004. Food Wars: The Global Battle for Mouths, Minds and Markets. Sterling, Virginia: Earthscan. Thomson, Anthony. 2010. The Making of Social Theory: Order, Reason and Desire. Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press. “Working Paper: Corruption in the Land Sector. ” Transparency International: the global coalition against corruption. Retrieved 11/25/12. (http://www. fao. org/docrep/014/am943e/am943e00. pdf). WTO. 2001. “The Doha Mandate. ” Retrieved November 17th 2012 (http://www. wto. org/english/tratop_e/agric_e/dohaagmandate_e. htm).

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Dealing with Office Politics

“There’s too much wrangling and maneuvering going on – I just hate this office politicking”. “Joe, well he’s a smart political mover – knows exactly how to get what he wants and how to get on. ” Whether you hate it, admire it, practice it or avoid it, office politics is a fact of life in any organization. And, like it or not, it’s something that you need to understand and master to be sure of your own success. “Office politics” are the strategies that people play to gain advantage, personally or for a cause they support.

The term often has a negative connotation, in that it refers to strategies people use to seek advantage at the expense of others or the greater good. In this context, it often adversely affects the working environment and relationships within in. Good “office politics”, on the other hand, help you fairly promote yourself and your cause, and is more often called networking and stakeholder management. Perhaps due to the negative connotation, many people see office politics as something very much to be avoided.

But the truth is, to ensure your own success and that of your projects, you must navigate the minefield of Office Politics. If you deny the ‘bad politics’ that may be going on around you, and avoid dealing with them, you may needlessly suffer whilst others take unfair advantage. And if you avoid practicing ‘good politics’, you miss the opportunities to properly further your own interests, and those of your team and your cause.

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Narendra Modi

Being Gujarati, I am proud to read the article “Modi Unlimited” in Business Today dated 23rd January, 2011. The article is on Gujarat and especially on our beloved chief minister Shri Narendrabhai Modi. It’s very interesting to read how proactive vision, restless efforts and humble mindedness can change the face of whole state in span of just 10 years.

After 2002 Godhra incident, unfortunately, Gujarat as well as Shri Narendrabhai Modi had got a black spot to the extent that no wise businessman was willing to come to Gujarat to do business and not even that, the existing ones were also planning to flee off. But if we take that incident, it had became blessing in disguise, as it had became a challenge for Gujarat and Shri Narendrabhai Modi to remove this black spot at the earliest. This ignited the fire and the reforms were initiated. The style of Shri Narendrabhai Modi is very unique to make very Gujarati being proud of what he is. In most of his speeches he uses the phrase “Aapne Gujarati Chhe” (we are Gujaratis), this keep the spirits ignited in the hearts of millions of Gujaratis and that only made BJP won elections with majority in Gujarat State. Rightly said in the article, those who were his critics had also left with no option but to keep mum and start doing business in Gujarat.

He had put benchmark to many states and also for traditional Companies, in adopting the CEO Style professional methodology of work. In one of the incident it has been mentioned about the officer who was playing cards at 6 P.M was transferred as he was not able to give convincing answer to the queries asked from CM office. But the critic should understand, in the age where you are required to stay on your edge, where your CM works till mid-night, how one can play cards at 6 p.m. If he is in club at 6 p.m, it means that he must had left his office at 4 p.m. One should understand that he is working for the chief minister who had delayed his lunch to meet his guest at 3 p.m. It’s completely unethical for him to leave his office at 4 p.m. just to play cards.

His charming and convincing personality is such that no one can oppose or say no to him. His magical personality is such that he had made corporate India and Indian citizens see a very rare scene by bringing Ratan Tata, Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani on the same platform during Vibrant Gujarat Summit.

The article has talked about the effect of Modi’s charisma on the corporates and businesses but it had been silent about the effect of his work-style on residents of Gujarat especially rural ones. The water of Narmada-Canal had made the farmers flourish in a way that now they are competing with their urban counterparts in consuming luxury goods. Not only that the backbone of any state, the State Transportation facility’s frequency and reach has got so effective that now its very easy for anyone in Gujarat to reach at any other part of the State. This had enabled the small traders to do business easily and effectively.

As Shri Narendrabhai Modi is borrowing the good practices from other states, I expect the same from other states to learn things from Shri Narendrabhai Modi. This is the only way we could see the India developed as a whole. Now, Shri Narendrabhai Modi had put up his benchmark not with other Indian states but with other countries, he had said in Vibrant Gujarat Summit that “he wants Gujarat State to compete with other nations”, this shows his vision for Gujarat. If this type of vision can be seen from bureaucrats and politicians of all the states, no one can stop India in changing its label of “developing country” to “developed nation”.

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William Jennings Bryan

Much like the Republican problems during the 1892 election, in which Grover Cleveland won his second term of office, the Democratic Party faced problems in the 1896 election. Cleveland, who had won on the strength of labor unions and his policy on monetary policy, lost on both of his signature issues. His use of the military during a railroad strike in 1894 and his comment that he would he would commission the military to do government services if the postal service struck did not endear himself to the growing labor movement within the Democratic Party.

These blunders caused the Republicans to gain over 100 House seats and control over the Senate in the 1894 midterm elections. The Populist Party reached a critical juncture in 1896. At the 1896 Democratic nominating convention, the more progressive aspects of the party rallied behind Nebraskan politician William Jennings Bryan. Bryan, a proponent of silver currency, gave a speech now referred to as the “Cross of Gold” speech in which he derided the Republican administration of monetary policy in the past and hoped for a more populist approach to government in the future.

The Democrats rallied behind Bryan and the platform reflected not only his populist agenda but their future fusion with the People’s Party to create a more progressive and rural party. The Democratic platform included advocacy for free silver and the possibility of international bimetallism, a federal income tax, statehood for Western territories, and a decreased tariff. When the People’s Party met at their nominating convention, they voted to fuse their candidates to the Democratic Party and pool resources with the more organized Democrats.

The Republican Party, resurgent with their congressional success in 1894, rallied around Ohio governor William McKinley, the namesake of the 1890 tariff bill that was hotly contested in this decade. McKinley and the Republicans shaped a platform around the gold standard, an increase in protective tariffs more vigorous navy, increased standards for immigration, the acquisition of Hawaii, and an opposition to the idea of bimetallism. His monetary policy shifted miners and the lower class towards Bryan, but his measured platform managed to keep labor and business happy.

The two campaigns had contrasting styles. William Jennings Bryan crisscrossed the nation giving stump speeches that were both fiery and inspiring to Democratic activists. However, Bryan lost gold Democrats and progressives who were turned off by his policy towards the economy and towards his focus on rural populations. The McKinley campaign, managed by Republican operative Mark Hanna, received several million dollars in donations to aid in the Republican campaign. For the most part, Hanna got these donations out of businesses and the wealthy that were afraid of a Bryan presidency and agrarian revolt.

McKinley ran a front porch campaign while 1400 plus Republican speakers went around the nation stumping against the “radical” William Jennings Bryan. While Bryan did well in the West and the South, the more densely populated industrial North and Midwest went to McKinley who was able to win the election. If Bryan had won the election, things would have been vastly different. “No one can make a million dollars honestly. ” – Bryan was widely regarded as a prominent spokesman for millions of rural Americans who were suffering from the economic depression following the Panic of 1893.

William Jennings Bryan believed in free and unlimited coinage of silver, which he thought would remedy the economic ills then plaguing farmers and industrial workers. This inflationary measure would have increased the amount of money in circulation and aided cash-poor and debt-burdened farmers. He blamed big business for the economic depression that was present. If elected President of the United States, he would have advanced his idea for free coinage of silver. Although this would have been beneficial for the majority of farmers, many of the rest of the population would have been extremely unhappy.

The big business partners would have gotten together and plotted for the assignation for William Jennings Bryan; which would have been successful. Bryan should have never messed with big business because, they mean business. “Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. ” I believe that it was William Jennings Bryan’s destiny to lose the election of 1896 so that he would not be assassinated. It was for the better of the country that he had not won the election. The economic strategy of farming for the country was coming to an end regardless.

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Effect of Economic Crisis Towards Politics in Malaysia

We have discussed the impact of economic crisis towards economy and social. But there are other consequences due to this subject. One of them is political. Malaysia is practicing the democratic system which all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Democracy allows people to participate equally either directly or through elected representatives in the proposal, development, and creation of laws (Roberts, H. Cox. 2012) However, the economic crisis could lead to the destructible of the stable political status in the country.

Malaysia now days have lists of political parties that have the same aim which is to rule Malaysia. On the other hand, economic crisis is one of the crimp to these political parties to rule the country or even to the dominant political party such as UMNO. When the Asian financial crisis 1997 hit Malaysia, the impact was traumatic. There was economic and political turmoil. The stock market, the currency and the property market nearly collapsed. That in turn affected the overall economy.

UMNO, the dominant political party in the ruling alliance, experienced political turbulence when its charismatic deputy president, Anwar Ibrahim, was expelled from the party when he disagreed with the then president, Mahathir Mohamad, over, among other things, Mahathir’s rejection of loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Yet, Malaysia was not that badly affected as compared to some of its neighbors. It did not experience the extent of the socio-political distress as occurred in Indonesia where the rioting that broke out ultimately led to the overthrow of Suharto.

Nor was its economic sovereignty that deeply compromised as happened in Indonesia and Thailand when both countries were forced to accept the conditions imposed by the IMF for the acceptance of their loans. Besides, there is a major consideration of questions is the view purported by some quarters that Dr. Mahathir has “overstayed” his tenure and that heir apparent Anwar would have been the right successor of a more liberal Malaysia. The questions being around at that time is does it true that Anwar rejection is the consequences of he brings the economic down term in Malaysia and idea in conserving loan from IMF or because Dr.

Mahathir is feeling discomfort or unsecure due to the trusts and confident level of the people is falling down? This questions has delivered main elements of events of the recent two years is that possibly what transpired between Mahathir and Anwar climaxed as a second “battle royale” in Malaysia’s political history. There is more than a hint that underneath it all was a political contestation fought with intense intrigue and complexity; one reflection observes that the “Anwar group” (some call it the Anwaristas, as opposed to the “Mahathirists”) had indeed been conspiring to take the mantle of power by contrived means.

Accordingly, it was a “plot” exposed in time by Dr. Mahathir’s forces. But yet, to suggest a real political division between “Mahathirists” and “Anwaristas” in the Malaysian political scenario is too neat an explanation of reality, and certainly these inchoate groupings are not mutually exclusive. As may be expected, there are also the “fence-sitters”. As we noticed, Anwar expels is due to the economic crisis. But if we storming deeper, the existence of opposition of the ruling parties in Malaysia (Barisan Rakyat), namely Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat is formed in 2003 by a merger of the National Justice Party and the older Malaysian People’s Party. Keadilan was led by Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail ( Anwar’s wife) and increased its parliamentary representation from 1 seat to 31 seats in the Malaysian general election, 2008 until the five-year political ban imposed on former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was lifted on 14 April 2008. Here we can see the existence of one more political party in Malaysia due to economic crisis. Anwar Ibrahim has been expels from the party and he form another party through his wife in the period of he was arrested in jail.

Through this brings up another question to Malaysian. Whether Parti Keadilan Rakyat is really stand up on representing the public fate and rights? Or else, is just because of Anwar’s agenda to be the Prime Minister is failed because he was expelled from being Deputy Prime Minister by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Then he forms up his own political party? No matter what the question is, we can see that the existence of Parti Keadilan Rakyat giving a huge impact on the political environment in Malaysia. Large portion of society putting their trusts on Keadilan Rakyat and this is the warning and a big challenge to the government Malaysia in uling the country very well. The Malaysia government, Barisan Nasional is doing their best to society because they believe that Keadilan Rakyat have their own strength and ability in overcoming the government. In conclusion, economic crisis brings up too many negative impacts towards our politics in Malaysia such as expellation of Anwar Ibrahim, unstable of ruling political party Barisan Nasional, the disunity of public trusts in ruling political party due to lost in trust of the leader on that time.

However, the existence of main opposition party Parti Keadilan Rakyat brings a very great impact to government on how they rule the country due to the possibility and ability of Parti Keadilan Rakyat to gain the public trusts. Thus, economic down term really brings a negative impact toward Malaysia in short run, but however the subject brings a cause of positive impact toward Malaysia political environment in long term.

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Political Campaign

As the political campaign manager for Oprah’s Presidential campaign in 2012, I follow the five basic management functions: planning, leading, organizing, control, and staffing. Each of those functions will be important roles to the different divisions I have created. The staff and volunteers that will help the campaign are hard working people that enjoy working, have self-control and are trustworthy, like Theory Y people. All decision-makings will be a team effort. Meaning each department is able to have a say so we can find the best solution. The department consists of scheduling, field, finance, communications, legal, and technology.

The people that run the department has the skills and experience to know what will work for this campaign. I trust they will do what is best for the campaign. Each department will have their own set of volunteers and their own objective to reach our goal, to win the Presidential campaign, if not at least let everyone know who Oprah is and what she stands for. The scheduling department is responsible for Oprah and her campaign to have full exposure in the public eye so the voters know who she is. The team will arrive to events before the candidate to make sure everything is in order.

As the campaign manager, I am responsible for scheduling, planning events for Oprah to attend, managing her personal and campaign schedule, and the schedules of all the coordinators. The coordinators will be in charge of their staff and volunteers. Also part of the scheduling department is event planners Nate Berkus and Peter Walsh. They are responsible for addressing Oprah’s purpose and message, in meeting formats including seminars, conferences, trade shows, executive retreats, incentive programs, golf events, and conventions (Hard). They will make sure the location, food, and people, are set to come and enjoy.

In the field department, there is Laura Berman, the organizer, Gayle King, our volunteer coordinator, and Mark Consuelos, the GOTV (Get out the vote) coordinator. Laura is responsible for organizing the jobs such as making phone calls, sponsoring a coffee or brunch, putting up yard signs, typing, mailing address envelopes, computers, distributing brochures, driving, giving rides, registering voters, etc. Gayle is responsible for recruiting volunteers. Each volunteer will “fill out a volunteer card with their name, address, ask if [they are] able to make a contribution and if not how they can help (Gray 244).

The purpose of this is to keep track of who we have volunteering and making sure they get the right recognition when the campaign is over. Gayle and Laura oversee the volunteers and make sure jobs are assigned to the right people. They both have to plan out how to distribute their good volunteers throughout the different areas and consistently check up on the volunteers, making sure work is getting done. As the coordinators, Laura and Gayle have to avoid bruising egos and prevent bad days. Mark’s job is to plan the GOTV efforts. He will work with volunteers and his team has to encourage those who have not registered to vote.

They have to explain to non-registered voters why their votes are important. Recruiting the right people is very important. Some of the traits they should have are alert to social environment, cooperative, persistent, adaptable to situations, ambitious, willing to assume responsibility, achievement oriented, energetic and dependable (Dessler 273). Once volunteers are establish, they will go through a brief orientation about our campaign and will receive a job description from the departments. They will choose which they prefer. Suze Orman will be the financial coordinator and is charge of money and fund-raising.

She has to prepare a budget and see how to get the money for each budget item. Suze will be maintaining a balance sheet of all the expenses the campaign is charging for the necessary things such as, headquarter rent, stationery and envelopes, office supplies, postage, printing of the brochures, maps, etc. She will also have to keep up with the operating budget for the departments, making sure they are staying to the budget they receive. As the financial coordinator, she has to spend as little as possible on the necessary item because more money will be needed in advertising.

Suze will also be responsible for raising the money, but she won’t do it herself. Under her will be Jean Chatzky, the fund-raiser coordinator, who will work with Nate and Peter, the event planners, to plain a fund-raising event. The fund-raising event would be a high-priced sit-down dinner with Oprah. Another fund-raising technique it to send out e-mail messages to potential donors asking for money. The volunteers will be asked that for every event they work, to ask for donations. Every cent will make a difference. The communications department oversees both the press relations and advertising.

They are responsible getting out the campaign’s message and image. Press releases, advertisements, phone scripts, mailing list, and other forms of communication have to go through this department before they are released to the public. People working in this department include press secretary, who monitors the media, manage the campaign’s relations with the press, set up interviews between the candidate and reporters, brief the press at press conferences, and perform tasks that involves in press relations (“Campaign Staff Training and Jobs”).

Another person working in the department is Marianne Williamson, the rapid response director, who makes sure that the campaign responds quickly to the attacks from the other campaigns. The staff constantly monitors the media and the moves of their opponents, making sure that attacks are rebutted quickly. There are two other people part of this department, the political consultants and the professional speech writers. The political consultants will advice Oprah throughout her campaign when she needs it. The speechwriters are there to help Oprah give a great speech from her and not from someone else.

Volunteers will be making, folding, and sending out letters, making signs and posting them everywhere and they will also be making many phone calls to the general public. The legal and technology department are self-explanatory departments that requires many staff members. The legal department will have dozens of lawyers and treasurers making sure that the campaign’s activities are consistent with the law and also make sure that the campaign files have the appropriate forms with government authorities. They are also responsible for tracking the finances, such as bank reconciliations, loans and donations (“Campaign Staff Training and Jobs”).

The technology department has armies of computer professionals spread throughout state or country handling the website’s designs and maintains the campaign technology such as Voter File, blogs, and databases. They will oversee the online forums, and help create “buzz” worthy news about Oprah. As Oprah’s Presidential campaign manager, I work with all five departments to make sure we get out Oprah’s message across America. I am a participative leader with an authoritative and democratic style, because I believe that problems should be solve with everyone who is involve.

Making sure everyone is staying to the plan and creating a great team with 100% participation and communication with each other. You could say I follow the situational leadership model. It is not just I who will be affected but also everyone who worked hard to get to where we will be. Each department interlace with one another. Not one department is left alone to do all the work. The departments are divided into a smaller area to create a flat organization. Everyone who is part of this campaign has their own skills that will have a great effort on one another. With the help of the many volunteers, I believe we will have a successful campaign.

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Free Essays

The Influence of Television in Politics

The Influence of Television in Politics Kendra Harris Brigham Young University- Idaho Author Note This paper was prepared for Professor Kiersten Lee’s FDENG 201 class. The Influence of Television in Politics “Americans are the best entertained and quite likely the least-informed people in the Western world. ” (Postman, 1984, p. 2) While this statement is painfully ominous, its message is one that has been debated tirelessly since the dawn of technology. The influence of television in politics is one with strong advocates and opponents.

There have been many studies and investigations into the effects of technology on the political world, and yet no conclusive evidence has come forth. (Rannay, 1985, p. 3) Despite this, it is no mystery that television has irrevocably changed politics in the past and now. The responsibility for this change does not lie solely with television or with the audience. What remains to be seen is whether this effect has been detrimental or beneficial to the political process. “Between 1947 and 1955, the percentage of American homes owning television sets rose from less than 1 to 65 percent; today, almost everybody has a TV set. ” (Rannay, 1985, p. ) The television set became commercially available in the 1920s, but did not begin to have a political effect until the 1952 presidential campaign between Dwight D. Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson. While Stevenson did not approve of electronic campaigning, Eisenhower to took the screens, creating “short spot commercials to enhance his television image. ” (Kaid, 1981, p. 47) These commercials helped Eisenhower to create an image that was friendly and charming, which eventually led to him winning the campaign. Since this pioneering campaign, “Every presidential campaign […] has relied heavily on political television spots. Television campaigning dominates the political world, and 50-75% of all campaign budgets in the 1992 presidential campaign were devoted to TV spots, commercials, and shows. (Devlin, 1992, p. 12) Given this evidence, it is easy to conclude that the television is vital in modern politics, but one must take into account what political message the television is giving to the American audience. “Over the past five decades of political spot use, about one-third of all spots for presidential campaigns have been negative spots. ” (Devlin, 1992, p. 12) The television, while useful, is used today primarily for entertainment.

If something is not quick, easy, and fun, then it has no place on the television. Everything from court trials to private lives are put on the screen for personal enjoyment, and it is no different with politics. No longer do politicians need to provide in-depth answers to political questions, or prove to the American audience that their policies and platform are sound – they merely need to be liked. “In the age of television, people do not so much agree or disagree with politicians as they like or dislike them, for the image is not susceptible to verification or refutation, only to acceptance or rejection. (Postman, 1984, p. 3) There is no need for politicians to prove that they should be in the White House with their words, because Americans will judge them on their looks and character before ever listening to what they have to say. Of course, Americans would be lucky to even hear what politicians have to say. Most political speeches and debates are cut down to “soundbites, snippets of candidate messages or commentary excerpts,” (Kaid, 1981, p. 4) by news programs, newspapers, and online journals. By the 1980s, most presidential campaign coverage on news programs were cut down to soundbites of only about nine seconds.

These soundbites catch the ‘best part’ of the presidential campaign, resulting in “television news coverage that concentrates more on candidate images, ‘horserace’ journalism (who’s winning, who’s losing, opinion poll results), and campaign strategy than on issue concerns. ” (Kaid, 1981, p. 4) Americans are so used to seeing the bare bones of political campaigns that they no longer search for the meat in issues. Instead, they just skim over politics, taking in a few stories here and there (mostly the more controversial stories that get more media coverage) and make their decision as to who will be president.

Despite the accomplishments of television and the media “[…] their news departments tend to operate as [a] show-business. ” (Goodman, 1994, n. p. ) Just like in show business, anything slow and detailed is boring in television, and so Americans greedily gobble up light dishes of insignificant facts, leaving the heavier business of issue concerns to others. This “[…] condition is chronic and has become painfully evident in the late political season […] A medium that has shown it can bring information and even ideas effectively to millions is reduced every two years to a tool for stirring up emotions and shutting down minds. (Goodman, 1994, n. p. ) But enough of this depressing business for a moment; let us discuss why we are allowing ourselves to become so politically lazy. The social stigma of a lazy American is common but is not necessarily true. So why do so many Americans allow themselves to be swept up in political frenzy, eventually making bad decisions that lead to bad government? The answer is in the way we think. As Americans become exposed to more and more information the ability to think deeply and comprehensively is lost.

In modern times, “the advantages of having immediate access to such an incredibly rich store of information are many, and they’ve been widely described and duly applauded. ” (Carr, 2008, p. 2) Carr continues to say though, that having access to this amount of information comes at a price. Americans are getting their information from the media, but our information does not come from an inert source. New programs control what political information we have access to, and politicians live in a world where “they can’t control the message. ” (Negaunee, 2006, n. p. Instead of being given in depth messages from candidates, news programs give us small scraps of information. As we learn snippets of information over many years, we begin to think in snippets of information, and we slowly lose our ability and “capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. ” (Carr, 2008, p. 2) The television is no different from the Net in this regard, and so Americans now expect a ‘steady stream’ of politics, without any effort needed in order to know everything about political candidates.

The true grit of politics – the issues, the questions, the problems, the things that matter – are not included in this steady stream. And so Americans, by our own actions, avoid the deep facts. We make decisions based on half-truths and unsearched details- decisions that shape our government. Without the ability to think and study issues for ourselves, we rely heavily on a candidate’s looks, charisma, and coverage in order to make our decision. Today, we are merely vessels for voting, “deprive[d] of independent thought. ” (Huxley, 1958, p. ) As Aldous Huxley states, “Today the art of mind-control is in process of becoming a science. The practitioners of this science know what they are doing and why. ” (Huxley, 1958, p. 2) While mind control may seem a little far-fetched right now, we as Americans are allowing ourselves to be controlled by our televisions, controlled by newscasters and programs that know exactly what they are doing when they give us inaccurate and biased information. Perhaps one of the best examples for showing the affect of television on politics is the presidential election of 1960.

The race was between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon. The first televised debate of this candidacy brought very different reactions between those who watched it on the television, and those who heard it on the radio. “A survey of those who listened to the debate on radio indicated that Nixon had won; however, those who watched on television, and were able to contrast Nixon’s poor posture and poorly shaven face with Kennedy’s poise and grace, were more likely to think Kennedy had won the debate. ” (Stephens, n. d. , n. . ) There is no saying who would have been a better president, or who was more qualified for the role, but this evidence shows that television heavily influenced the audience’s opinion of the candidates. Those who watched the debate on the television preferred the more attractive portrait of JFK versus that of the less attractive Nixon. Those on the radio – the ones who actually listened to the debate versus watching the people – felt that Nixon had won because his policies and debating skills overpowered those of JFK.

This poses the question: would Nixon have won if there had been no television? Should JFK have won based on his good looks? And perhaps, we must ask the most ominous question of all: Do we want people elected as president based merely on good looks and a warm personality, or do we want them elected based on excellent policies and management skills? All of this seems a little extravagant and paranoid and yet the evidence rings true. We as Americans let looks and personality get in the way of actual politics and brains when it comes to a political election.

Undoubtedly, the television has detrimentally affected politics. It has changed the way we think, and have made us intellectually lazy. It has changed the way we vote, making us vote based on superfluous details versus cold hard facts. Television is not completely to blame though, for Americans have played their part in allowing themselves to become lazy. The only solution to the political epidemic sweeping the nation is to change the way we think. In order to do this, we must first change the source of our information. The solution is not to bemoan technology but to develop strategies of self-control, as we do with every other temptation in life. ” (Pinker, 2010, p. 2) As we force ourselves to seek complete and unbiased information by watching complete debates, reading platforms, and studying issues (or, if we cannot find unbiased information, at least studying the biased information on both sides of an issue to get the full story), we will be able to make well-informed decisions. As we seek the truth, news programs will begin to catch on that the audience demands more complete information, and we will begin to get what we crave.

Only when we have the true report about politics will we be able to make better decisions regarding government and better our lives. References: Carr, N. (2008) Is google making us stupid? In W. Brugger, D. Hammond, M. K. Hartvigsen, A. Papworth & R. Seamons (Eds. ), The way of wisdom (p. 1-8). Rexburg, ID, BYU-Idaho. Retrieved January 16, 2012, from http://ilearn. byui. edu Huxley, A. (1958) Propaganda under a dictatorship. In W. Brugger, D. Hammond, M. K. Hartvigsen, A. Papworth & R. Seamons (Eds. ), The way of wisdom (p. 1-5). Rexburg, ID, BYU-Idaho.

Retrieved January 16, 2012, from http://ilearn. byui. edu Kaid, L. (1981) Political advertising. In D. Nimmo and K. R. Sanders (Eds. ), Handbook of political communication. Beverly Hills: Sage. Nagourney, A. (2006) Politics faces sweeping change via the web. New York Times. Retrieved January 23, 2012 from http://www. nytimes. com/2006/04/02/washington/ 02campaign. html? pagewanted=all Pinker, S. (2010) Mind over mass media. In W. Brugger, D. Hammond, M. K. Hartvigsen, A. Papworth & R. Seamons (Eds. ), The way of wisdom (p. 1-4). Rexburg, ID, BYU-Idaho.

Retrieved January 16, 2012, from http://ilearn. byui. edu Postman, N. (1984) Amusing ourselves to death. In W. Brugger, D. Hammond, M. K. Hartvigsen, A. Papworth & R. Seamons (Eds. ), The way of wisdom (p. 1-4). Rexburg, ID, BYU-Idaho. Retrieved January 16, 2012, from http://ilearn. byui. edu Ranney, A. (1985) Channels of power: the impact of television on American politics. (pp. 1-7). New York: Basic Books. Stephen, M. (n. d. ) History of television. New York University. Retrieved January 23, 2012 from http://www. nyu. edu/classes/stephens/History%20of%20Television%20page. htm

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Free Essays

Leadership, Power and Politics

Conflict,  Management and leadership

Conflict is a natural outcome originating due to individual and group interaction. It is a ‘friction’ produced due to emotions and behaviors of people working closely rubbing against each other. When people from various backgrounds and beliefs work together, consciously or unconsciously they try to pass their own principles in work aspects creates conflict.

However, conflict is not always destructive or regressive. When well managed and directed, it has great utility in substantially improving an organization’s functional and production aspects, along with helping individuals to evolve a joint  philosophy of work and cooperation. However, poorly managed conflict situation impairs the organizational outcome, creating stress, introducing  dissatisfaction and reducing efficiency.

Characteristics of Conflict

The round the clock work schedules, trans-national nature of jobs, and strain in today’s world have worked together to make conflict an unavoidable part in life of people. Work related stress, with pressures of deadline, critical levels of responsibility, problems of resource allocation and management, setting, defining and achieving challenging goals, and all the time trying to coordinate with different individuals give rise to perfect conditions for  conflict to emerge within organizations (Bergman and Volkema, 1989).

But before any attempt to resolve conflict it is important to understand the characteristics of conflict that an organization generally faces. According to Baron (1990), a study of various organizational parameters indicated towards five characteristics of conflict . These are

1. Conflict due to contrasting or opposing field of interests between or among individuals or groups.

2. Recognition of these opposing interests by the interested parties

3. Conflict centers on a perception by each side that its opposing party would injure its interests

4. Conflict is not a stage, rather a process and it results from the way individual and groups define their relations through the past interaction

5. Actions and efforts by each party with the intention of negating other’s goals.

Conflict management and leadership

Leadership has a great role to play in conflict resolution. A leader with qualities with excellent communication, understanding and negotiation can be instrumental in bringing the positive outcome through the issues involved in the conflict. As the business and corporate management has realized, leadership greatly helps to alleviate conflict situation due to its inspirational value. Leadership essentially about encouraging  people to pool themselves together towards achieving common goals and objectives (Rosenbach and Taylor, 1998, 1.

Leadership further empowers individuals, helps them to rise above their rank and position within the organization to associate themselves and their colleagues with specific works, duties and responsibilities and enables them to identify and set their own directions, work on commitment and take challenges.  (Day and Halpin, 2004, 3). Its not surprising then that companies are ready to invest hugely in leadership development program, as a guaranteed way to emerge ahead than their competitors.

Within every social, institutional or organizational structure, a leader is always looked upon the person with abilities to broach reconciliation and resolution in situation of conflict. Leadership entails elements of power and authority that are critical to acquire influence. There are five power bases for a leader, as identified by French and Raven (1959). They are

1. Legitimate power: the power that comes by virtue of the position and command to control behavior.

2. Coercive power: It is the leader’s control over persuasion and ability to take symbolic punitive actions in case of dissent

3. Reward power: It is the leader’s control over granting rewards

4. Expert power: These are the specialties that a leader attains due to knowledge and experience and that he is expected to possess and use in conflict resolution

5. Referent power: This is the power over over subordinate or group members to identify the leader

Leaders may opt for one, some or  a combination or all of these power bases to attain conflict management and resolution by influencing the psychological and social dimension of conflict, trust, and authority (Johnson and Short, 1994

:Leadership (Power and Politics)

Leadership is not a characteristic that exists in isolation. As it is defined, leadership implies establishing coordination, orientation, cooperation, and collaboration among the followers to accomplish designated objectives and goals. It is  possible when leaders can inspire their followers with respect, admiration, discipline, confidence in the abilities of the leader while being helped to envision themselves as empowered individuals (Brown and Lord, 2004, 2).

A good leader has the ability to take over even most complex, demanding and otherwise impossible condition by exhibiting personal integrity, ethical and moral traits and values that other can relate to and aspire to imbibe in their own conduct (Laurie, 2000, 53). Here it is important to distinguish personal charisma from leadership, as personal charisma, being an person specific phenomena, can awe people but hardly give them impetus to follow in the footsteps of the leader.

Leadership is also means natural acquisition of power and potential to change its equation affect over the leaders and their followers. There inherent dangers associated with power, and for most of the people, the timeless adage-‘power corrupts’ suits justly.

Power contains a temptation that is hard to resist and has potential to become the ultimate goal for a person rather the tool that was designated in helping to achieve the goals.  But a genuine leader understands this irony of power and therefore believes that power should be shared with others so that it can grow. The real power of leaders is their  ability to inspire others with a sense of power and confidence (Champy and Nohria, 1999, 165).

According to Reigel’s (1979) theory of development, the relevant categories to leadership practices and conflict management are:

1. Optimism-faith in goodness of humanity. It works on the principle of faith in inherent goodness of humanity with a sense that goals and objective are achievable.

2. Interconnectedness-responsibility for the whole. The principle is extension of sense of responsibility to greater issues affecting the world that connects individual with the entire humanity.

3. The contradictory nature of things. It teaches about recognizing and respecting that contradiction occurs in people, their experience and circumstances.

4. Life is characterized by crises. Recognition that crises and conflicts are inbuilt of component of life and progress is achieved by incorporating them in the philosophy towards life.

5. Kinship with others. It stresses on building associations and help in realizing that every one is important and deserves equal respect from others.

6. The opposition. It teaches about taking opposition as contradiction, instead of viewing it in negative perspective.

7. Acknowledging other’s contribution. It stresses on frank and appreciative acknowledgment of success and achievements of others

Reference

Baron, R. A. (1990). Conflict in organizations. In K. R. Murphy & F. E. Saal (Eds.), Psychology in organizations: Integrating science and practice (pp. 197–216). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum

Bergmann T. J., and  Volkema R. J. ( 1989). “Understanding and managing interpersonal conflict at work: Its issues, interactive processes, and consequences”. In M. A. Rahim (Ed.), Managing Conflict : An inter-disciplinary approach (pp. 7-19). New York: Praeger

Brown DJ and  Lord, RG,  2004, Leadership Processes and Follower Self-Identity,  Lawrence Erlbaum Mahwah, NJ.

Champy J, Nohria N, 1999, The Arc of Ambition: Defining the Leadership Journey, Perseus Books (Current Publisher: Perseus PublishingCambridge, MA.

Day DV and Halpin SM, 2004, Leader Development for Transforming Organizations: Growing Leaders for Tomorrow,  (edit) David V. Day, Stanley M. Halpin, Stephen J. Zaccaro, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates,  Mahwah, NJ.

French, Jr., J.R.P., & Raven, B. (1959). The bases social power. In Dorwin Cartwright (edit.), Studies in social power (pp. 150-157). Ann Arbor, MI: Researc Center for Group Dynamics, Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan

Johnson, P.E and Short, P.M (1994). Exploring the Links among Teacher Empowerment, Leader Power and Conflict. Education. Volume: 114. Issue: 4. Page Number: 581+.

Laurie DL, 2000, The Real Work of Leaders: A Report from the Front Lines of Management, Perseus Books (Current Publisher: Perseus Publishing, Cambridge, MA

Riegel KF. Foundations of Dialectical Psychology. New York: Academic Press, 1979.

Rosenbach WE and Taylor RL, 1998, Contemporary Issues in Leadership, (edit) William E. Rosenbach, Robert L. Taylor, Westview Press,Boulder, CO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Free Essays

Leadership, Power and Politics

Leadership is the process of influencing others to act to accomplish specific objectives. Leaders are the key movers of an organization and they are able to inspire and motivate their members to work towards the attainment of goals. In the past, leadership have been thought of as a quality that only the elite managers possess, however reality is, each one of us possess and may develop our leadership skills.

Being a leader is not an easy job, it takes creativity, innovativeness, discipline, passion and an open mind. It is said that leaders emerge in times of change and turmoil; it is a fact that when the going gets tough, leaders are there to get things done.

Opportunities for change however must be sought out and seized by the leader. It is a necessary element in the exercise of leadership, for leadership is at its best when there is an opportunity to grow, innovate and to improve. A leader can accomplish this by treating every job as an adventure, by deciding that each day is an opportunity to learn something new or to discover better ways of accomplishing things, the leader is more able to initiate changes that would be for the greater good of the group.

When a leader seeks meaningful challenges, it allows the leader to work with passion and commitment that is personally gratifying and hence is able to effectively work for the group. With that, the leader also find and create meaningful challenges for others, when members feel that they are valued and trusted by their leaders to be able to accomplish realistic and challenging goals, they become more committed and become better workers. This means that the leader provides his/her members too become intrinsically motivated to rise to the challenge.

As a leader, it is important that he/she make the workplace fun, happy people are more productive and they like going to work everyday because it is a happy place. as such, when an organization is so used to doing things in the same way, it leads to complacency and even deterioration, thus a leader must be able to question the status quo, this would mean that as a leader he/she must actively look for systems or programs that have outlived its usefulness and be creative enough to provide new ideas.

Renewing teams in any organization is necessary in order to breathe new life to the team, a shuffling of departments or the movement of positions would reenergize the team and possibly generate new ideas and opportunities. Lastly, the leader should adopt an open approach to searching for opportunities. It is an acceptance of the leader that he/she does not have the monopoly of ideas and it is necessary to be aware of what is happening outside and inside the organization.

Being an effective leader also takes the ability to experiment and takes risks and to learn from mistakes. Leaders if for some twist of fate have always been thought of as someone who can transform any organization form the brink of death to greater heights. But in reality, it is the scientific and objective leader who is able to appreciate the importance of carrying out mini experiments of new processes that would in the end be more cost-effective than to rush and implement a program or process that have not been tested.

Experiments are for introducing new products while creating or developing models in specific departments of new processes will give the leader an objective assessment of the possibility of success or failure of the new process. The leader is not the sole experimenter, he/she must encourage other to experiment also, but at times it is faced with fear and apprehension, thus the leader should assure the members that it is safe to experiment. When a person is so set in his/her ways then it is difficult to initiate change, the leader therefore must be able to break the mind set of its people, to become more open to new ideas and change.

An enormous change may be anxiety provoking for members, the leader thus should break up the changes into small challenges that members can accomplish one at a time. People work better if they know that their ideas and feelings are respected and that if what they are doing is of their own choice, a leader should give each person the opportunity to make their own choices. A leader must learn how to say yes to the ideas and opinions of its members, by saying yes more frequently than but or no, it would be easier for the leader to also solicit the cooperation of its people. A leader is not a Greek hero who has supernatural powers, he/she can make mistakes and a true leader has the grace and humility to accept his/her mistakes and to learn from it.

Lastly, a leader should also be able to evaluate the effectiveness of the new programs or changes that he/she has carried out in the company and this exercise should be a collaborative effort with input from the different members of the organization. Knowing what may cause the failure of an innovation would go a long way in improving that product or process.

It is true that leaders emerge out of the difficulties or major changes in an organization, and being a leader is no easy job, and one can always make use of information that would help enhance or develop our leadership skills. I found this as the advantage of the concepts, it provides true-to-life examples of how a leader is able to seize opportunities for change and why it is important to experiment and learn from mistakes.

The disadvantages of the concepts however is that it is too abstract and sometimes it is difficult to relate to a job as mundane as selling cigarettes and that most of the examples involve large organizations wherein leaders are often the head of the department or the organization. Although the chapters do provide pointers on what an ordinary person could do to become a leader and it is a practical guide. The chapters present the concept as a series of things to do or things to learn, and not all could be applied at the same time to a single organization. In my experience as a cigarette store owner, I am limited by the products that sell the most; I may provide my customers with new brands or novel cigarettes but since smokers tend to stick to one brand.

I may be able to innovate probably in giving freebies to loyal customers or be creative by using bonus coupons that they could exchange for premium brands. Moreover, I do not have a staff and hence my leadership skills are not harnessed. On the other hand I work part time in a gasoline station and work with other people but again a gasoline station is one of the most normal and stable organization there is. Thus, unless if the gasoline station gets sold or merged with another store, then maybe it would be time for me to rise to that challenge.

On the other hand, learning about leadership has been exciting and very challenging, it tells me that I can be a leader someday; it also made me become aware of some of my personal characteristics that is akin to leaders. I would like to share to others what I have learned about leadership, sometimes we do not know that we possess the ability to be leaders if other people don’t acknowledge it, I would also tell them of the things that a good leader should be able to accomplish.

That said, there are different leadership styles which a person may favor and use in different situations. Leadership styles include autocratic leadership, bureaucratic leadership charismatic leadership, participative leadership, Laissez-faire leadership, relations-oriented leadership, servant leadership, task-oriented leadership, transactional leadership and transformational leadership.

Personally, I think that participative leadership is the best among the styles because although the leader has the final say in the decisions concerning issues on organizational change; it allows the members of the organization to contribute their ideas and thoughts. This communicate that the leader value and respects its members and thus increase job satisfaction of members and cultivates a culture of collaboration and cooperation that every organization needs to get things done.

Reference

Kouzes, J. & Posner, B. (2002). The Leadership Challenge.  California: Jossey-Bass

 

 

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Free Essays

Politics

Nowadays mass media plays significant role within the society structure and has grand influence on its development. Media already is tightly intervened with all the spheres of our everyday life. It is generally accepted that the press form public opinion and understanding. Media also has the power to shape even the country’s policy. Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Paul Waldman examine all these burning questions and give even more information in their book “The Press Effect: Politicians, Journalists and the Stories that Shape the Political World”. Their central thesis is that the stories the press tells are shaped not by a “liberal agenda” or a “right wing conspiracy” but rather by the desire, even pressure, to cast the news in a dramatic, easily packaged form.

Jamieson and Waldman produce an incisive analysis of political media coverage, and how the press and the people both fail to think critically about one of the most important components of our political process – politicized media. “The Press Effect” makes a nonpartisan, well-documented, and very persuasive case that the mainstream media doesn’t so much report the news as create it. Focusing mostly on the 2000 presidential campaign and its aftermath, and on coverage of 9/11, the book also touches on historical issues and their presentation as well.

Wide-ranging and accessible, “The Press Effect” is a must for news junkies and political buffs, and an excellent addition to any journalism, social studies, or government classroom. To illustrate more vividly the events the authors represent numerous recent examples, from media participation in spreading fabrications during the election campaign to the weight of journalists on the outcome of the 2000 presidential election in the United States.

Too often, authors argue, reporters merely analyze the strategies used by the opposing instead of sorting out the facts behind the issues. While acknowledging that the truth can be indefinable and very subtle, the authors cite a few exemplary cases of journalistic truthfulness and reliability and fact-finding. This important book, makes obvious the fact that media misrepresentation is far too complex and subtle to be explained by mere liberal or conservative bias, belongs in all journalism collections.

The authors of “The Press Effect” suggests that the media frames issues and political figures in a way that their future stories on the matters or subjects will tend to fit neatly inside the predetermined scene. In view of the fact that the media is a follow-the-leader game, once a frame takes hold it doesn’t let go very easily. Jamieson and Waldman utilize this speculation mainly to explore the 2000 Election between Gore and Bush.

Unfortunately, there are simply no trustworthy ways of establishing definite effects of media products on public, opinions, attitudes or behavior. There are few credible analyses of how different media events, or the outcomes of particular media organizations, produced particular perceptions in media audiences. Taking into consideration the conformity between media representations and public opinion considered within the work “The Press Effect” puts an interesting question and not an answer.

All in all, the title of the work is rather bold, for it speaks for itself and highlights how important the press is in shaping not only politics but also the society structure. But, apteral, it is not very understandable who is telling these “stories” that actually shape the political world and who in point of fact are the authors of them, or where they come from. Authors of this work also represent a critique of the media’s deep inclination for close psychological examination of foremost celebrities. In addition they review in brief some techniques of media effects research that are being used throughout the media world, at the same time emphasizing their confines and flaws.

They pay attention to the fact what qualities a story should possess to influence strongly the public opinion. But what they are describing is better viewed as connections, mediated in both directions through political characters, representatives of press and public, rather than as direct causal effects. Yet Jamieson and Waldman do try to build up a more detailed approach. They combine critiques of media content with analysis of political rhetorical strategies, including opinion and survey data, thus the authors build up a persuasive and disturbing illustration of media unfairness and of failure to tell the full story. In other words they what to communicate to the reader that not always the media is a liable source of getting true information.

Nevertheless, throughout the book the authors make references to praiseworthy exceptions and admit that there are still many professionals whose commitment to truth is undisputable. But we should mark that the prevailing idea of Jamieson and Waldman’s study is to raise deep concern about the state of health of American journalism.

Jamieson and Waldman outline six critical and very essential functions that the media and the press in particular perform in American society: storyteller, amateur psychologist, soothsayer, and shaper of events, patriot, and custodian of fact.

In a function of a storyteller driving by the natural desire to tell a consistent story, journalists have a natural inclination to omit information that is somehow at odds with the general scene. For example, social scientists tell that the media circles create a particular outline or a frame for an event or a person, and all the data that does not comply with this frame is very often tends to be neglected. As an example we make take the following fact from the analyzed book. During the 2000 election course Gore was represented, as a liar so any report he made that could not be verified at once was believed to be a misrepresentation.

Bush on the other hand appeared as an intellectually challenged person with a lack of knowledge. Consequently, we seethe confirmation to the statements relayed within the “Press Effect” the media can easily shape the character either true or misinterpreted but it is immediately is believed by the public and it is very difficult to change that formed image. Here we may firmly assert that the media failed to serve the public in way of representing vital and burning information.

As the Amateur Psychologist the media makes sometimes a monkey business. Rather than examining essential facts and characters the press instead analyzes the motives and strategies of moves made by a political figure sometimes irrelevant to the moment. The result is that an emphasis is made not on issues of importance, but on questions of technique and strategy. Very often the media seizes such facts as what one particular figure is wearing and how it moves rather than the aim he is trying to achieve.

Even today, if one political figure announces a new program or political agenda, the mass media is inclined to focus its attention on analyzing why he chooses this particular moment to make the announcement rather than to analyze the suggestion itself. Again we wee that the authors try to communicate to us that the media fails to serve the public especially when it attempts to attribute motives to politicians instead of analyzing their proceedings and their policies.

Taking into consideration the function of a custodian of fact imputed to the media it is important to say that it is a natural task of the mass media to explain or even uncover the data, hypothesis, and calculations behind declarations made by political figures in an election or officials in their offices. The media again fails to serve in relaying information to the public when it accepts the basically prejudiced accounts of a political actor and transfers them to the public without challenge.

The authors put the question whether it is a fault of media in its unsuccessfulness. In fact, it is the blunder of all three participants within the structure of political system: politicians, mass media, and the electorate. Jamieson and Waldman conclude by stating, “We believe that if democracy is to thrive, holding journalists to the highest standards is not only reasonable but essential”. It has been observed on many occasions that we “get the government we deserve”, Jamieson and Waldman make a strong statement that we “get the media we deserve” as well.

The key concept within the work is “framing,” which seeks to define what aspects of particular stories are given weight in their telling in the media. Analyzing print and broadcast media on a series of issues over elections 2000, the authors reveal how story may shape the whole attitude of the public. Media coverage of the 2000 presidential election campaign is often said to have assumed the outline of Gore-as-liar and Bush-as-stupid. In part, it is attributed to the media’s need for personality profiling. In describing how the media treated recent political chapters, Jamieson and Waldman are being neither exceptional nor exceptionable.

Jamieson and Waldman observe, reasonably, that the press highlights political strategy over policy and also how and why, rather than the what and who. But they are on icy ground when they claim that the responsibility of the press is to determine whose claims were correct. Policies, and any judgments on them, are matters of interpretation rather than statements of fact. The authors are definitely correct to say that media representatives play an essential role in serving the public make sense of policy choices, but that may as often involve judgments on motivation as arbitrations on fact.

Telling stories is a bulky part of how we cooperate and how we make sense of things. It is rather significant to take into consideration the specific role of the press and to measure its performance against stated standards. It is a different thing to dispute that the press is the strongest linkage in the story-generating chain or to argue that it is deviating from its primary responsibility in telling stories or to argue that it accommodates too comfortably to the politically dominant story-frames. Jamieson and Waldman are ambitious and daring in seeking to argue all of these schemes, and even more. In addition, they offer much helpful evidence that others will want to scrutinize too. But, on balance, their case is unproven.

As to investigate the issue further we should say that one of the most troublesome things about journalism nowadays is how normally and regularly lies and misrepresentations broadcasted on all sides of the political scale. To a great extent, this is the fault of journalists, whose primary job is or has to be to find out and report the truth about the most important issues of the day. Democracy is not supposed to function in well-organized manner if the public is constantly misinformed.

Simply giving account of few opposing views also does not help the public find out the truth. There is general tendency that truth telling has to be rewarded and deception has to be punished. Unfortunately, this is not happening now, it is just the goal we are trying to achieve. The task of a real journalist is not to repeat the “spin” but to find the truth of the particular event and communicate it to public.

Here we are bound to cite the authors of the “Press Effect” “Reporters should help the public make sense of competing political arguments by defining terms, filling in needed information, assessing the accuracy of the evidence being offered, and relating the claims and counterclaims to the probable impact of the proposed policies on citizens and the country”. Undoubtedly this is the hard work to do. It is much easier to make emphasis on the horse race and characters than to give a definite account and analytical information on the subject.

Concluding we may say that this book can be of use not only for amateur readers but also for all journalists and concerned citizens. It gives an interesting and new approach to the problem of mass media truthfulness. It makes one think it over again about the facts we see on the TV, read in newspapers and listen over the radio. It gives the food for meditation over the fact whether we should rely completely on the media sources. “Press Effect” is the right book for those readers who are just entering the subject of media and are freshmen to the topic.

In “The Press Effect”, Jamieson and Waldman carefully document the interaction between politicians or other political actors, such as press secretaries or campaign consultants and the media in the process of building up an overall message that is supposed to be communicated to the public. From the first sight it may probably come to one’s surprise that the media have actually failed in their task to both politicians and the public. But why and how it is still for us to decide.

In this scrupulously researched and documented work Jamieson and Waldman have represented a chain of problems that come about when the media let down the public. The most noticeable and evident effects of this malfunction embrace cynicism about political figures in general, distrust of the government, doubt in the objectivity of journalists, and actually overall voter indifference. In about 200 pages of prose Jamieson and Waldman describe the causes, history, and consequences of the mass media’s failures, including well-documented and unbiased examples.

Jamieson and Waldman show that when political campaigns evade or reject to engage the facts of the opposing side, the press often fails to step into the void with the information citizens require to make sense of. “The Press Effect” is, ultimately, a wide-ranging critique of the press’s role in mediating between politicians and the citizens they are supposed to serve.

Reference:

1.Brian Trench, reviewed. The Press Effect: Politicians, Journalists, and the Stories That Shape the Political World by Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Paul Waldman. Logos. Spring 2003

2.Eytan, Gilboa. Media and Conflict: Framing Issues, Making Policy, Shaping Opinions. Ardsley, NY: Transnational Pub Inc: 2002.

3. World In Crisis, Media In Conflict. Database on www.mediachannel.org.  (last accessed February 13, 2006)