Comparative Political Systems: Policy Performance and Social Change

By Charles F. Andrain | Go to book overview

1
Political Systems and the Economy

At the close of the twentieth century, renewed debates have arisen about the relationship among capitalism, socialism, and democracy. With the collapse of Communist Party rule in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, state socialist planners no longer dominate the policy process. They compete with free marketeers who claim that only capitalism, a market economy, privatization, and deregulation will produce the good life: peace, prosperity, personal freedom, and political democracy. These ideas have spread to Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Faced with fiscal deficits, trade imbalances, and declining growth, nations from Argentina to Angola lessen state control over the economy. Under pressures from the International Monetary Fund, governments reduce expenditures, especially for social services like health and education. Urban consumers, private businesses, and state enterprises receive lower subsidies. Public policymakers freeze wages but unfreeze prices. Government employees lose their jobs. State-owned firms become private enterprises. Competitive elections replace formal rule by the military elite or a single political party. All these policies signal a move toward weaker state control, greater international influence, and the growing importance of the informal economic sector. 1

Liberal pluralists and more radical democratic socialists remain skeptical about the inevitable association between a market economy and political democracy. According to pluralist Robert Dahl, no single political or economic model applies to all societies; instead, policymakers should pay more attention to concrete problems than to abstract ideologies. Rather than an unfettered model of pure capitalism, a mixed economy will better attain democratic values and economic well-being. From Dahl's perspective, "Market- oriented economies are necessary to democratic institutions, though they are certainly not sufficient."2 Taking a more radical stance, Immanuel Wallerstein

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Comparative Political Systems: Policy Performance and Social Change
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: Political Systems and the Economy 3
  • Part I - Political Systems and Economic Change 13
  • 2 - Folk Systems 15
  • 3: Bureaucratic-Authoritarian Systems 24
  • 4: Reconciliation Systems 43
  • 5 - Mobilization Systems 69
  • Part II - Transformations in Political Systems 89
  • 6 - Sociopolitical Crises and Systemic Change 91
  • Conclusion 100
  • 7: The Change to a Mobilization System 102
  • 8: The Change to a Bureaucratic- Authoritarian System 117
  • 9: The Change to a Reconciliation System 135
  • Conclusion 157
  • 10: Political Development and Social Progress 159
  • Notes 193
  • Index 229
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