Materialism and Idealism

October 14, 2020 by Essay Writer


  • 1 Particularized on Evaluating the Propagandistic and Explanatory Value of Two Perspectives: “Materialism” and “Idealism”
  • 2 Materialism and Idealism in Science
  • 3 Methods for Present Qualitative Analysis
  • 4 Some Hypotheses:
  • 5 Operationalization of the Hypotheses
  • 6 Results
  • 7 Conclusions and Speculations
  • 8 Bibliography
  • 9 Annex: Document System
  • 10 Text Groups
  • 11 Annex: Memo System Coding Memos
  • 12 Memo 6
  • 13 Code hypocritical pretensions
  • 14 Memo 7
  • 15 Memo 8
  • 16 Memo 9
  • 17 Memo 10
  • 18 Memo 11
  • 19 Memo 12
  • 20 Memo 13
  • 21 Memo 14
  • 22 Memo 15
  • 23 Memo 16
  • 24 Memo 17
  • 25 Memo 18
  • 26 Memo 19
  • 27 Memo 20
  • 28 Memo 21
  • 29 Annex: Variables
  • 30 Number of Coded Segments

Particularized on Evaluating the Propagandistic and Explanatory Value of Two Perspectives: “Materialism” and “Idealism”

Here I will combine the technique of qualitative data analysis with the theory of sociology of policy. I hope that I will be welcomed in my effort to present a combination of analytic abilities specific to one study matter with the insights of another matter – a bit of lateral thinking I think it is welcome in the university. A previous version of this paper was presented to prof.

C.J.M. Schuyt. Imagology For materialism: golden calf, universal Mammon, child-eating monster, red cattle, Empire of Evil, exploiters, despisers of culture, etc., etc. For idealism: dreams, poetry, does not count as science, rubbish, Nazism, communism, oppression, sexually frustrated people, collective complexes, hate mongering, doom prophets, anti-liberal, anti-democratic, etc. We are not concerned here with such truths about social reality, but we are concerned with what we may scientifically prove as accurate science. E.g., the operational definition of what is real belongs to Gustave Le Bon: “La véritable réalité des choses, c’est l’idée qu’on s’en fait”, this is: “The very reality of things is the idea we have thereof”, my own translation, according to Denis Touret’s quote. This idea was further developed by W.I.Thomas’ conjecture: “things” defined as real have real effects.

Materialism and Idealism in Science

Economic sciences, as long as they measure flows of money and consumer satisfaction, they are bounded by their argumentative apparatus to plead for the most grossly materialism, e.g., in terms of marketable efficiency and producing new styles of consumption. This mathematical apparatus is inherited from a few thoughts of Adam Smith’s and the idea to operationalize them, an idea which came to the mind of Walras. Bourdieu seems to say that Walras is some kind of fire-spitting monster which seeks to subject everything to materialistic calculus and a utopian dream of worldwide consumerism, which would ensure peace and prosperity for all, against all manifestations of social reality. I personally consider that Walras was a brilliant man, with a positive and necessary contribution to the sciences, but that his followers all-too-literally took his methods and assumptions, simply applying them within their narrowest scope, instead of seeking to operationalize other types of costs than those materially-economical. I think there is an economy of intelligence, an economy of the desirable level of law and order, an economy of foreign policy, and here by economy I mean weighing the “costs” and “revenues” due to some actions which individuals and collectivities seek to enterprise them (e.g. a revolution can politically cost more than simple loss of money and/or loss of material things). Of course, there is the now famous brilliant mind of John Nash, and the minds of many others, who showed that economical calculus is not in the sole ownership of the economics of the material things, but they sought ways of rationalizing decision making and even worldwide strategies, as in prof. Abram de Swaan’s example with MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction), which was derived from game theory. They render honor to the field of economics, and their approach is worthy of being followed, again, not in a literalistic interpretation, but in their courage to operationalize what has never been operationalized before. I will try to appreciate the value of the materialistic paradigm and of the idealistic paradigm, by comparing the explanations which they provide for a relevant recent phenomenon, namely the feelings of insecurity of the Dutch population, and the conclusions each of them seem to offer. I understand that is a reductionistic method, for there are many materialisms instead of one materialism, and many idealisms instead of one idealism. But I hope that such reductionistic comparison of the worth of two paradigms won’t be taken in its literalistic narrowness, but it will be further developed as a measure of the quality of intellectual claims to utter the truth. It is, of course, only a truth, and not The Truth, but we may still say that there are truths and lies, science versus opinions. When Marx said “religion is opium for the people”, he was idealistic, not materialistic, as defined herein, for he did not quantify economical efficiency of religious followership (which Weber did, through pondering some imponderables), but he was offering an elaborate philosophical view on his concept of ideology. My gut feeling seems to indicate that, although it may be that one of these two monistic views of science is the true one, till our knowledge will become complete and absolute, we will be forced to rely on kind of Lukacsian dualism, which integrates both perspectives in its asymptotical seek of the highest quantity of truths available at a given moment. That means that materialistic and idealistic analyzes will have to coexist and complement each other with the aspects which one’s complement ignores them. For example, it would be very nice that the cafeterias of the UvA be paved and plated with gold bullion, and we may still allow for poor people to get relief for their adversities by removing and ounce of that pavement, yet this is completely unrealistic in respect to the material costs which are to be involved in paving the cafeterias with bullion. For example, only the security needed to protect that place from a wave of vandalism, the costs for would surpass UvA’s budget. So, the material costs give an indication of what is possible and what is not possible to be done at a given moment, in a given place. And, the idealistic perspective is very important in comprehending why, although some countries have the resources to alleviate hunger in this world; it won’t simply get done, because their ideals do not allow for that becoming to happen. For example, USA won’t sacrifice its military budget to many millions of starving people, be it for the reason that it would annihilate thus its defensive abilities, which is not allowed by its ideals. A cynical joke I read on Internet says: What would happen it the Palestinians put down their arms? Peace. What would happen if the Israelis put down their weapons? There would be no more Israel. The moral of this story is obviously asymmetrical, thus it does not satisfy the Western ideal of universalism. But, it nevertheless says a truth: that until some alien civilization removes all the weapons from the Earth at the same time, people will continue to kill each other, for there is no shortage of reasons to kill someone, but only a shortage of humaneness to refrain from it. This is of course a statistical view on the collectively aggregated individual human nature. But, since truths are helpful to those who think, we may say that it is simply not cynical but a phlegmatic joke; phlegmatism is thus way a mask of cynicism adopted in order to further the good.

Methods for Present Qualitative Analysis

Enough being said on philosophical questions, and we may turn to the methods of performing such study: Qualitative data analysis upon the (apparently) most relevant documents in respect to public policy, namely Queen’s Speeches (which are written by the government, with the exception of her Christmas Speech). Although I do not believe in the value freedom of science, I enjoy the style of Machiavelli, who renders empirical truths upon the state of facts, providing those eager for political insights to tweak their governance according to a palette of available effective techniques of control and domination. I simply note what prof. DumitruLepadatu noticed in University of Bucharest, namely that Machiavelli is no genius of evil, but he is simply a political scientist who performed an empirical analysis of some problems of statesmanship. If he came to be pictured as such a monster it is because (i) the masses dislike truths and (ii) truths are not only helpful for some, but they are able to produce considerable damage to others (especially to the ignorant). This alethophobia is a judgment of fact pertaining to empirical science (that is, it is a fact that human nature has a propensity towards lie, and it pertains to both metaphysical theology and its operationalization inside mass psychology, according to GustaveLeBon’s description of collective behavior), and such a scientific description has been empirically verified with many occasions. Based on the availability on Internet, I selected some recent documents: Queen’s Speeches (Throne Speeches 1999-2004 + Christmas Speech of 2001) and Government Declarations (1998, 2002 and 2003). I analyzed these texts employing hermeneutics when needed. The following qualitative fuzzy coding was employed: Problem: evaluating the value of two perspectives: materialism and idealism, in respect to public discourse. I will analyze how these two perspectives are used, as meant to influence the public opinion. So, the theme of this analysis is public reaction, as observable in tweaking these documents for being received. Its purpose is evaluating materialism and idealism in their interplay. Question is: which point holds: Dutch government finds that in its address to the citizens (i) materialism is far more valuable than idealism (ii) idealism is far more valuable than materialism (iii) both are valuable, or, at least none can miss therein. Motivation thereof is my philosophical interest: materialistic economical analysis is a fairly convincing and developed argumentative tool, as it is highly formalized mathematically, it employs the essences of huge amounts of data, and it cannot be so easily bashed by one who is not of enough education; we mean that, in general, arguments based upon this Walrasian mode of argumentation pertain to “materialism”, i.e. measures of customer survey is a measure of satisfaction with a given product, and opinion polls are measures of citizens’ satisfaction with a political product. So “materialism” means the quantitative analysis of the most grossly observable data and its subsequent interpretation in such a mind frame. By “idealism” I mean a preference for elaborate thinking arguments, values, moral options, claimed and evident political interests, which are not easily deductible by quantitative-empirically analyzing some flow of money, customer feedback or electoral vote bulletins. So, materialism and idealism herein resemble the distinction between quantitative and qualitative analysis, but not wholly – for example a quantitative analysis of imponderable values (if there is such a “thing” as metaphysical statistics) is treated as idealistic and a philosophical analysis of easily-observable flows of goods, money, people, etc., it pertains to the same meaning of idealism. The operational definition of idealism and materialism (inside science and public discourse) is presented in the following variation table: Nature of analysis Ponderabilia Imponderabilia Quantitative Materialism Idealism Qualitative Idealism Idealism (They are ideal types, instead of absolutely clear and distinct ways of making distinction. The expression “pondering the imponderables” in not uncommon, see ). For example the sentence “liberal democracy is the best regime” pertains to qualitative imponderabilia, while counting apples is an example of most ponderable elements, and weighing apples is an example of ponderable stuff. This way, percentages in respect to empirically observable data pertain to materialism, while an appeal on unquantifiable religious values pertains to idealism. But, is idealism irrelevant today? According to prof. Berend-Jan Mulder, the Dutch elite has been educated in its own version of Hegelian thinking, namely that one has to follow his/her own time, rejecting thus at the same time unrealistic rationalizing of society and obstinate conservatism. Kees Schuyt mentioned in his courses that the Dutch people see themselves as a nation of commercialists, though, according to him, analyzing the percentage of the Dutch people busy with commercial activities, the case for it being true is less than in the past.

Some Hypotheses:

We want to appreciate, what we may infer from the documents analyzed, that it is the determining factor or factors which produced the present political unrest in The Netherlands. We think on the patterns presented in the on the following page. 1st hypothesis: a=Pim Fortuyn, b=present unrest, c=economical conditions (i.e. Fortuyn apparent cause, economy real cause); 2nd hypothesis: a=economy, b=unrest, c=Fortuyn (i.e. economy apparent cause, Fortuyn real cause); 3rd hypothesis: a=911, b=unrest, c=economy (911 apparent cause, economy real cause); 4th hypothesis: a=economical conditions, b=unrest, c=911 (911 real cause, economy apparent cause); 5th hypothesis: d=Fortuyn+911, e=economy, f=unrest (both ideological causes and material causes, in their overlapping, they produced the present situation).

Operationalization of the Hypotheses

In order to operationalize the hypotheses, we produced three Boolean variables: being either a text of an individual or a document representing a group; either before or after September 11th; and either before or after Pim Fortuyn. The old axiom of mass psychology “Senatus bestia, senatori boni viri” (The Senate is a beast, while senators are good fellows) says that a message representing a group should be tougher (in its wording) than the expression of an individual. We will see below in how far this axiom is empirically verified. Then, in order to create the other two Boolean variables, we added a field with the date of each text. Then we computed the synthetic category as 4*group+2*sept11+PF. Then, we noticed there are only four categories, for there are only four values of the synthetic category, so we recoded: syn2=1 for syn1=4, syn2=2 for syn1=6, syn2=3 for syn1=2 and syn2=4 for syn1=7. Then we will check for the hypotheses 1-4 if one cause seems much prominent than the other, so that if wholly cancels the other one (this being thus an apparent cause). If this does not hold, hypothesis 5 would be verified, provided that it is enough supported by texts and relevant therein.


In the Declaration of 1998 (only document for syn2=1 concerned with the aliens), the tone of speech is mild and gentle, offering comfort to the aliens, and seeking at the same time to handle those rotten apples which trouble the public image of the aliens: Op een aantal terreinen eist de maatschappelijke positie van etnische groepen echter onze bijzondere aandacht op: de werkloosheid is hardnekkig hoog en de vorderingen in het onderwijs blijven soms achter. Bij de bestrijding van de hoge werkloosheid zullen de overheid, de organisaties van werkgevers en werknemers en de minderhedenorganisaties nauw moeten samenwerken. Daarnaast zal extra ruimte worden geboden voor het jeugdbeleid en voor inburgeringsmaatregelen. Steden zullen beter in staat worden gesteld om de leefomgeving in wijken en buurten die achterblijven te verbeteren. Maar er zijn ook probleemjongeren, zowel onder autochtonen als onder allochtonen. Een beperkt deel van de allochtone jongeren in ons land is verantwoordelijk voor een relatief hoog aandeel in de jeugdcriminaliteit. Ook hierop is het antwoord: wat niet mag zal niet worden toegestaan. We notice that even since then, the political discourse accorded to the words “wijken” and “buurten” different reception values, namely that one of the words “secretly” applies to habitats dominated by the Dutch people and the other word applied to the habitats dominated by aliens, as B.J.Mulder once noticed. We notice that for both the values syn2=2 and syn2=3, there is little reference to the shared vision upon the immigrants; the only text piece that seems to address this issue is in Queen’s Speech to the Parliament of 2001: Eerder dit jaar is de nieuwe vreemdelingenwet in werking getreden. Door de vereenvoudiging van procedures verkrijgen vreemdelingen eerder dan voorheen duidelijkheid over de vraag of zij tot ons land kunnen worden toegelaten. Alleenstaande minderjarige asielzoekers zullen sneller weten of hun verblijf in speciale opvang gericht wordt op integratie of op terugkeer. Vreemdelingen die hier niet mogen blijven, zullen ons land tijdig moeten verlaten. This passages points towards a will of making the fate of the immigrants clearer for themselves. It also proves a hardening of heart towards those who are rejected, forcing them to leave, which we know from the media that it was never easy in The Netherlands, due to the concerns of many bleeding hearts. The problematic of aliens is a theme of Fortuyn. So, little attention was given to him or his ideology at that time. This is after September 11th and before Fortuyn being killed. After his death, we notice an abundance of arguments which refer to the aliens; the language became harsh, merciless: Geschokt vertrouwen … geen antwoord geeft op de moeizame inburgering van vreemdelingen in onze samenleving. (Declaration 2002) Meedoen slaat zeker ook op immigranten in ons land. Iemand die zich blijvend wil en mag vestigen in ons land, kan zich niet als toeschouwer in onze maatschappij opstellen. Daarmee doet hij niet alleen zichzelf tekort, maar ook zijn kinderen en de hele samenleving waarin hij leeft. Het kabinet stelt daarom scherpere eisen bij inburgering. De eigen verantwoordelijkheid van de immigrant staat daarbij voorop. Wie deel wil uitmaken van onze maatschappij moet daar ook zelf iets voor doen. En mag op die basis ook verwachten dat onze samenleving hem of haar volwaardig opneemt. Leven in Nederland is niet vrijblijvend. (Declaration 2003). But, how about the economy, was this only due to Fortuyn, or, because the cake got less, less people got welcomed to share in it? For syn2=1 we have: De financiële uitgangssituatie van waaruit dit kabinet start is veel gunstiger dan vier jaar geleden. (Declaration 1998). Na een aantal opeenvolgende jaren met een gunstige internationale conjunctuur mag de mogelijkheid van een periode met een wat minder voorspoedige economische groei niet worden uitgesloten. De ontwikkelingen in Azië kunnen een negatieve uitstraling hebben op de groei in de rest van de wereld. Het begrotingsbeleid is derhalve opnieuw gebaseerd op behoedzame aannames voor wat betreft de te verwachten economische ontwikkeling. De kans op tegenvallers wordt zo verkleind. (Ibidem). For syn2=2 there is an acute concern for the state of state finances: Ondanks een tragere groei van ons nationaal inkomen zal volgend jaar in totaal 8 miljard gulden, ofwel ruim 3,5 miljard euro, extra beschikbaar komen voor kwaliteitsverbetering in vooral de gezondheidszorg, het onderwijs en de veiligheid. Het werken in de publieke sector wordt aantrekkelijker gemaakt. Het begrotingsoverschot zal in 2002 naar verwachting 1 procent van het bruto binnenlands product bedragen. (Throne Speech 2001). For syn2=3, there were no concerns about economy. Maybe Christmas is not the time to speak about money and reducing costs. For syn2=4, the following harsh measures are being advanced: We moeten de staatsschuld in één generatie aflossen. Dat is de route naar een sterkere economie. (Declaration 2002). Evident pessimism is there: Maar ons land dreigt uit de Europese kopgroep te vallen. Onze concurrentiepositie is de afgelopen jaren verslechterd. De arbeidskosten zijn te sterk gestegen. De inflatie is te hoog. De winstgevendheid en de investeringen van bedrijven lopen terug. De arbeidsparticipatie van vrouwen, oudere werknemers en laaggeschoolden is te laag. Het begrotingsoverschot blijkt helaas nog niet duurzaam. Het besef dat het economisch tij is gekeerd is nog steeds onvoldoende doorgedrongen. Een dure dollar, hoge aandeelkoersen, forse stijging van de huizenprijzen en omvangrijke meevallers bij de overheidsinkomsten hebben het zicht op de reële ontwikkeling in de afgelopen jaren vertroebeld. Veel signalen staan op rood, het kabinet sluit daar niet de ogen voor. (Ibidem). De Nederlandse economie is in een cruciale fase beland. Er is een risico dat we meer en meer op achterstand komen te staan. Er zijn kansen om de weg naar herstel in te slaan. Ten opzichte van de recessie van begin jaren ’80 zijn de economische fundamenten en de overheidsfinanciën beter. Maar de toekomst heeft ook duidelijk meer risico’s dan destijds. (Declaration 2003). So, in respect to the variable syn2, the timing of Fortuyn’s death coincided with a deterioration of national economy, which became aware in public discourse. So we cannot say that one of these two causes cancels the other one out. Hypothesis 1 and 2 are thus rejected as untrue. Same analysis of the economy holds for the comparison with events of September 11th as cause of radical change in Dutch politics. For syn2=1, there is, obviously, no reference to the events of September 11th. But, there is a concern for military cooperation with United States, based on the following reasons: Voor ons veiligheidsbeleid zijn een effectieve NAVO en een sterke transatlantische band onontbeerlijk. De Nederlandse krijgsmacht levert met de inzet van geoefend en gemotiveerd personeel en van moderne middelen een hoogwaardige bijdrage aan vredesoperaties. Daarnaast verleent de krijgsmacht humanitaire hulp en wordt steun gegeven aan wederopbouw. Voor de inzet van allen die daaraan bijdragen, bestaat grote waardering. (Declaration 1998). For syn2=2 we have: De afschuwelijke aanslagen één week geleden in de Verenigde Staten hebben vele duizenden onschuldige mensen van het leven beroofd. (Throne Speech 2001). Deze aanslagen tegen de menselijkheid doen ons beseffen hoe kwetsbaar ons aller bestaan is. Zij sterken ons in de overtuiging dat iedere vorm van terrorisme met kracht moet worden bestreden. (Ibidem). Nauwe internationale samenwerking is noodzakelijker dan ooit om de fundamentele waarden van vrijheid, democratie en rechtvaardigheid te verdedigen. (Ibidem). For syn2=3 we have a defensive way of putting the argument, making appeal to the basic Christian values of love and compassion, specific to the Christmas, yet a strong theme is developed under the protection of these values (Christ and the Caesar were never good friends with each other, says the Scripture): Het menselijk bestaan is intens kwetsbaar. … Niettemin heeft de geschiedenis geleerd dat geen enkele religie gevrijwaard is tegen misbruik en valse verkondiging. Wanneer ideologieën en geloofsinterpretaties aanzetten tot onverdraagzaamheid, haat aanwakkeren en agressie voeden, houdt tolerantie op. (Christmas Speech 2001). Fanate haat en de vernietigende kracht van het kwaad troffen de westerse wereld dit jaar met een schok die gevoelens van geborgenheid aantast en diep ingrijpt in vermeend welbehagen. Het menselijk bestaan is intens kwetsbaar en de samenleving broos, juist waar onze moderne maatschappij met al zijn luxe en gekoesterde zekerheden een gevoel van onaantastbaarheid heeft gebracht. (Ibidem). For syn2=4 we have: Politici moeten, net als iedere burger trouwens, zeker zijn van lijf en leden … ze, zoals Pim Fortuyn, slachtoffer worden van geweld. Het is onacceptabel als politici moeten onderduiken. (Declaration 2002). Een kabinet dat voortkomt uit een omwenteling in het politieke klimaat. Burgers hebben uiting gegeven aan een onderstroom van onvrede, van onbehagen en van geschokt vertrouwen. Onvrede over een politiek die de problemen waar burgers dagelijks mee te maken hebben te vaak onbenoemd laat, zoals overlast en onveiligheid. (Ibidem). Mede met het oog op de bestrijding van terrorisme zullen voorstellen worden gedaan voor een verdergaande Europese samenwerking op het gebied van buitenlands en veiligheidsbeleid. Bijzondere aandacht gaat daarbij uit naar het continueren van de hechte relatie met de Verenigde Staten. (Throne Speech 2003). Fanatieke groeperingen trachten met terroristische daden, waarvan onschuldige burgers en zelfs kinderen het slachtoffer worden, over de hele wereld samenlevingen te ondergraven. Ook Nederland is niet gevrijwaard van deze dreigingen. Om onze democratische rechtsstaat en onze pluriforme samenleving te beschermen tegen terreur, heeft de regering aangekondigd op korte termijn ingrijpende maatregelen te treffen. De bestrijding van terrorisme zal worden versterkt door een betere organisatie, de mogelijkheid om snel maatregelen te nemen en door bepaalde opsporingsbevoegdheden te verruimen. Tevens zal, mede met het oog op adequate voorlichting, een waarschuwings- en alerteringssysteem in werking worden gesteld. (Throne Speech 2004). The change from the good intentions of international solidarity, under Kok’s leadership, to the recognition that the new cabinet appeared from the collective frustrations, and that operational measures are attached to this description of facts, it marks the power of the September 11th theme in the Dutch politics. So, the hypotheses 3 and 4 are rejected. There is left the hypothesis no. 5, which is enough supported by the quotes above, and at least it is provable that for the Dutch decision makers both the material theme and the ideological theme are relevant, so no term of such a duality can be reject as insignificant in explaining the recent evolutions: Voor een duidelijk herkenbaar Europees en internationaal profiel is een pragmatische, realistische, slagvaardige en ook idealistische aanpak nodig. Idealistisch als het gaat om onze beginselen en doelstellingen. Pragmatisch als het gaat om het bewaken van de Nederlandse positie en belangen. Realistisch als het gaat om haalbaarheid en het zetten van concrete stappen. Slagvaardig als het gaat om het tempo waarin en de overtuigingskracht waarmee wij opereren. Onze inspanningen in internationale organisaties en de samenwerking met de Europese partners zijn onlosmakelijk verbonden met onze bilaterale betrekkingen. Wij zullen doorgaan met de versteviging daarvan. (Declaration 1998). We noticed that these themes did not contain ideas in utter contradiction to the quotes above, when the ideas therein did not straightforwardly support these quotes, the ideas were not denying them either. The idea that individual expressions are milder than messages from a group is verified by these documents: when the Queen had freedom over her own speech, despite of harsh motivations, the language was noticeably milder. An alternative explanation is that harshness does not fit into the picture of the Christmas. The theme of September 11th is much more poignant and developed than the theme of Fortuyn and LPF. In order to prove this we sought for the following search filter: “fortu”OR “lpf”. There is appallingly little reference to Fortuyn and LPF. For the search filter “leefb” (as is “leefbaar” and “leefbaarheid”, etc.) there are four brief references (filters are employed without quotes). This proves a way of making things look small. But, with the recognition as facts of human irrationality and of human inequality, in the Declaration of 2002 (belonging to the government including LPF), many clichés haven been broken, and political correctness is affirmed as being true to the facts and true to the necessary solution, instead of remaining an exaggeration of political politeness in respect to marginal interest groups: Nog daargelaten dat mensen vaak tegenstrijdige wensen hebben. … Niet dogmatisch uitgaan van uniformiteit. Verscheidenheid in aanpak en oplossingen zijn niet langer taboe. On empirical-analytical grounds it is difficult to decide which of the two perspectives works the best in making sense of the state of fact, for each of them is able to immunize itself against verification, by claiming that the causality in one of the hypotheses 1-4 is indeed apparent causality. On grounds of theoretical elegance and explanative completeness (see Wallace and Woolf), however, it holds what we have shown above: no factor therein is strong enough to make us completely ignore the other factor as relevant. Idealistic Evaluation In brief, “materialism” says that due to a diminishing of general welfare, states have to take harsh measures in order to cope with the lack of satisfaction which results from economical unwell. “Idealism” says that because of the neocons in Washington, it happens what it happens. We may guess that both perspectives are herein true, so the Lukacsian dualism named above is verified. All of September 11th, Pim Fortuyn and the economic stagnation were necessary to produce what happens now in the Netherlands. A special case of their propagandistic value has been analyzed by Alvin Gouldner, who wanted to make social scientists aware of why they choose for this or that type of theory (kind of pre-existing theoretical taste). We may guess that this applies too, mutatis mutandi, and that the amount of education of the individual receiving such input is also relevant in such a question. This is of course a subject for further research.

Conclusions and Speculations

Speeches remain an important element of policymaking. They are meant to influence the behavior of the population, by convincing it to accept the policy, and informing it of further changes in such policy. E.g., the majority, which is bereft of a higher education, is by its nature unable to consult the evolution of legislation, due to inability of making sense of such talk, therefore it shows little interest in the texts of law. It gets informed of major changes in the law by way of more or less official political utterances, those which are highly popular in the media. Of course, there is an alternative circuit of information, namely when people who try to solve a problem they have (e.g., maximizing the revenues they get from social help) meet their peers and exchange what worked and what did not work in a certain situation. We guess that this is circuit of information which is preferred by the lower classes and by the ethnic minorities, who are mostly unable to follow highly literate official discourse. But it is also, seemingly, the preferred circuit of the old boys’ network. The institution of the King (as in the Dutch Constitution), it is an institution with a tradition which goes back in times wherein little quantitative calculations were being performed, and political reasoning was mostly intuitive-qualitative. This, of course, with the exception of the Chaldeans in the antiquity, who were said of doing certain esoteric mathematical calculations in order to support the policymaking of some empires. And, indeed, some architectonic marvels of that age prove advanced mathematical knowledge, which it is a wonder that it existed then. We think that the public relations (read: propaganda) specialists of the Dutch government took such tradition into account when writing Throne Speeches. (Propaganda simply means: making something known and raising support and/or adepts for such a viewpoint. It is a concept which I use bereft of considerations of moral worth, as simply a political technique among many other tools a government has at its command.) To those who think that propaganda is exclusively lying, we may answer that the quantity of factual descriptions is far greater than the quantity of hypocritical expressions. But, it seems that in such times people pay more attention to being cheated (this is why we paid so much attention to the hypocrisy and antiquated promises and expectations inside Dutch propaganda) than to them being told truths, therefore the concern for not turning propaganda belonging to statesmanship into a statesmythomanship is a real concern, seen that there are always cynics who enjoy destroying popular illusion, while they are unable to put something better in the place (inside the collective mental) thus emptied. Overseas, the considerations are different, and all the truth loving zeal of a Michael Moore and his like is able to do little to prevent the Straussian mythmaking machine from utterly distorting all sense of reality in US public discussion. Le Bon’s thesis that the progress element is for the masses not the truth, but the lies, the illusions, it is here verified. One could only warn against excesses one either side: either alethophile or alethophobic extremism, they both damage society. This idea explains the preponderance of “idealistic” arguments in recent Queen’sSpeeches. Another idea was expressed above, mainly the incompetence of the mass to understand science as such. We cannot all be teaching in University, some have to make clean on the streets. Because of the frustrations one has while performing activities under his/her manifest intellectual competence, one would recommend that the idea of selecting people according to such competence be really followed, instead of being formally propagated. For, according to B.J. Mulder, “the best man in the best place” is a hypocritical myth meant to legitimize the power elite. It is a naïve image that a government has only tax cuts, punishments, subsidies, changes of legislation and such, in order to perform politics. The power of persuasion should not be underestimated. Words have power (think of Marx’s Capital). So, speeches will remain a way of performing politics, even in the specialized meaning of policymaking, and they are an inseparable part of it. While speeches cannot do everything in matters of state policy, at least they are able to do something, and they cannot be missed therein. Speech rituals are, in Durkheim’s meaning, a substitute and/or supplement for the now decaying religious participation, and, while they cannot replace the “real thing” (religious zeal), they are nonetheless able to further group unity and give to some a meaning in a disenchanted world, wherein the “gods” have flown, or at least humans are no longer able to contact and follow them. Such a nonviolent source of power has thus certain effectiveness and it corresponds to the image the Western people have of civilized behavior, and at least it is necessary in maintaining the relationship between the population and the government, and we guess that bereft of such communication, population would alienate itself from the political purposes of their government, resulting in lack of control, anarchy, with worst consequences. So, this apparently utterly banal, ritualistic and antiquated phenomenon is of utmost importance in getting to perform a politics. In a final remark, Malinowski’s functionalism claimed that a social phenomenon happens because people think it is functional. According to Parsons’ functionalism, it exists because it is functional. And Merton asks: is it functional or dysfunctional? Its functions, are they manifest or latent? And: is it functional for whom? In a society which works with symbols, it is naïve to think that the symbols are there because they are thought to work. They possess a hidden power, which often escapes the comprehension of the human beings. Weighing between Malinowski and Parsons is a complicated theoretical discussion, anyway, we may point that the civilizations who derided the power of words, the power ideas, either by repressing freedom of speech, or by an overindulgence in respect to the pathology of free speech, they decayed and disappeared. We see that although the category materialism was underrepresented, it cannot miss therein. West is not as materialistic as religious fundamentalists everywhere (including USA) claim that it is. It simply has its own laymen’s idealism and its own laymen’s transcendence (as a discussion is openly going on in French Masonic circles and around these circles). Prof. Schuyt said that more important that what is being said, it is what is not being said. This is an example of anti-logocentrism. The purpose of the University is to put order into the available heap of facts, to subject them under the logos. Materialism implies that, because of the diminishing of general welfare, hard measures are needed, in order to turn the attention away from the economical interests of the power elite. Idealism says that the actual crisis of liberal democracy has ideological reasons, mostly the disenchantment of the Western citizens in respect to their own system. Materialism says that Fortuyn’s attack on the welfare state had material reasons, or, at least, it represented the material interests of certain groups. Idealism says that the depreciation of the material conditions is the result of cultural decay, from loosing the Calvinistic hard work and falling into the trap of sweet yet deceiving hedonism. For the materialistic standpoint, there is available a fairly convincing (from the rational viewpoint) formalism, namely through measuring monetary and para-monetary flows, there follow “hard” conclusions upon the desirability and capacity of making true some purposes of policy. In such respect, the idealistic standpoint is shallowly empirically operationalized; therefore we may say it is “softly” formalized. But, the state of facts proves that the metaphysical-theological thinking is again up to date, seen that it now (factually) has control over the world system. So, as least in its capacity of convincing people, it is superior to Weber’s bureaucratic rationality. On a complicated manner (way), the above named anti-logocentrism has cancelled the subsistence conditions of rationalized politics. So, we are witnessing incipient symptoms that the thinking of the Enlightenment is beginning to become inadequate to social reality. As Allan Bloom says, the project of the Enlightenment is outdated, and also the political system imposed by the Enlightenment. From the perspective of influencing mass behavior, rationality remains an intellectual oddity, most probably a whim of some unrealistic thinkers. We may in all assurance admit that the Dutch elite decided that it is again the moment to follow the times, and the elite made a selection among politicians, selecting those who were prepared for these new times. This explains why the sentences which were politically incorrect five years ago, they are now official policy: not because politicians are mean and evil-minded, but because the new times do not allow for the continuation of multicultural welfare state.


Bourdieu, P., The Essence of Neoliberalism, ; Brunt, L., [Adventure of Research, Colleges], University of Amsterdam, 2003; De Swaan, A., [Sociological Theories 1A, Guest College], University of Amsterdam, 2003; Droogleever-Fortuijn, E., [Guidelines for Tasks and Associated Documents], Blackboard of University of Amsterdam, 2004-2005; Le Bon, G., The Crowd, ; Le Bon, G., The Psychology of Revolution, ; Mulder, B.J., [Colleges], Educative Faculty Amsterdam, 2002-2003; Rutten, M., Azië van binnen en van buiten, Oration at University of Amsterdam, June 6th, 2003; Schuyt, C.J.M., [Sociology of Policy, Colleges], University of Amsterdam, 2004; Touret, D., Une psychologie sociale réaliste, ; Van Heerikhuizen, B., [Sociological Theories, Colleges], University of Amsterdam, 2004; Wallace, R.A., Woolf, A., Contemporary Sociological Theory. Expanding the Classic Tradition. 5th edition. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, 1980-1999.

Annex: Document System

Text Groups

Queen’s personal speech Kerst 2001 Government declarations Regeringsverklaring 1998 Regeringsverklaring 2002 Regeringsverklaring 2003 Throne speeches Troonrede 1999 Troonrede 2000 Troonrede 2001 Troonrede 2002 Troonrede 2003 Troonrede 2004 Sets Syn2=1 Government declarationsRegeringsverklaring 1998 Throne speechesTroonrede 1999 Throne speechesTroonrede 2000 Syn2=2 Throne speechesTroonrede 2001 Syn2=3 Queen’s personal speechKerst 2001 Syn2=4 Government declarationsRegeringsverklaring 2002 Government declarationsRegeringsverklaring 2003 Throne speechesTroonrede 2002 Throne speechesTroonrede 2003 Throne speechesTroonrede 2004 Annex: Initial Code System The first code system is the following: Code System antiquated dualistic factual descriptions hypocritical pretensions idealistic qualitative insights values (or appeal thereupon) materialistic quantities percentages synthesis of quantitative analysis economy management of public issues quantitative ecology need for strong policy purposes verbal incentives and admonitions Annex: Final Code System The developed code system is the following: Code System dualistic ecological insights factual descriptions human irrationality human inequality hypocritical pretensions antiquated idealistic qualitative insights political science ecology the Dutch specific values and feelings aliens civilization West and Western democratic decentralization individualistic globalization market ideology national rational behavior religious security 911 Pim Fortuyn need for strong policy solidarity international national redistribution state of law materialistic synthesis of quantitative analysis economy management of public issues quantitative ecology quantities percentages purposes verbal incentives admonitions Annex: Code Matrix Textname Queen’s personal speechKerst 2001 Government declarationsRegeringsverklaring 1998 Government declarationsRegeringsverklaring 2002 Government declarationsRegeringsverklaring 2003 Throne speechesTroonrede 1999 Throne speechesTroonrede 2000 Throne speechesTroonrede 2001 Throne speechesTroonrede 2002 Throne speechesTroonrede 2003 Throne speechesTroonrede 2004 idealisticvalues and feelingsdemocraticindividualistic 0 2 4 0 0 2 0 2 1 2 idealisticvalues and feelingsdemocraticdecentralization 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 dualistic 0 9 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 dualisticecological insights 0 3 0 0 2 1 0 1 1 0 factual descriptions 4 5 8 9 27 16 9 0 1 0 factual descriptionshuman inequality 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 factual descriptionshuman irrationality 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 hypocritical pretensions 1 4 3 3 7 2 4 0 0 1 hypocritical pretensionsantiquated 0 1 1 2 1 1 1 0 0 0 idealistic 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 idealisticqualitative insights 0 0 4 2 2 2 2 3 3 2 idealisticqualitative insightspolitical science 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 idealisticqualitative insightsecology 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 0 0 0 idealisticqualitative insightsthe Dutch specific 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 idealisticvalues and feelings 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 idealisticvalues and feelingsaliens 0 5 2 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 idealisticvalues and feelingscivilization 3 1 3 0 2 2 1 2 0 1 idealisticvalues and feelingscivilizationWest and Western 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 idealisticvalues and feelingsdemocratic 2 6 9 2 3 2 0 1 3 2 idealisticvalues and feelingsglobalization 0 11 3 3 5 6 7 3 4 4 idealisticvalues and feelingsmarket ideology 0 8 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 idealisticvalues and feelingsnational 0 3 1 0 0 2 2 2 1 3 idealisticvalues and feelingsrational behavior 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 idealisticvalues and feelingsreligious 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 2 idealisticvalues and feelingssecurity 2 8 5 2 2 4 7 7 1 5 idealisticvalues and feelingssecurity911 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 idealisticvalues and feelingssecurityPim Fortuyn 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 idealisticvalues and feelingssecurityneed for strong policy 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 idealisticvalues and feelingssolidarity 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 idealisticvalues and feelingssolidarityinternational 0 2 0 1 2 0 1 0 0 1 idealisticvalues and feelingssolidaritynational 2 5 3 6 4 2 1 1 2 3 idealisticvalues and feelingssolidaritynationalredistribution 0 4 3 1 0 2 3 0 4 2 idealisticvalues and feelingsstate of law 2 5 5 2 4 3 2 3 3 1 materialistic 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 materialisticsynthesis of quantitative analysis 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 materialisticsynthesis of quantitative analysiseconomy 0 4 4 3 1 1 2 5 8 7 materialisticsynthesis of quantitative analysismanagement of public issues 0 5 4 3 0 0 3 0 2 0 materialisticsynthesis of quantitative analysisquantitative ecology 0 4 2 0 2 1 2 1 0 1 materialisticquantities 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 materialisticpercentages 0 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 purposes 0 10 12 10 14 11 14 2 5 1 verbal incentives 0 2 4 2 1 1 1 1 0 0 verbal incentivesadmonitions 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Annex: Memo System Coding Memos

This annex is intended to offer further detail into how texts were coded. The philosophical argumentation is meant of giving a deep idea on how this happened, since, for example, we could not research in detail every claim of the empirical wrongness of all stances coded as hypocritical. This also gives an example of idealistic method.

Memo 6

Code hypocritical pretensions

Author tg Creation Date 01/16/2005 1. From Wallace and Woolf, p.173: Habermas says: the formally democratic system wants and allows for no genuine participation, because they would become aware that costs are collective (all have to contribute to general production) and profits are private (very few enjoy the true benefits of such collective production). So, Habermas basically restates Pareto’s 20-80 law, which Habermas confirms that it is empirically true. This way, Pareto’s 20-80 is not limited to the elitist discourse of the right wing, but it is also a relevant instrument for the critique of the (now old) New Left. 2. Small states have little choice. They did not create such a historical evolution, but they had to join such evolution in lack of a better choice, for the alternative is international isolation. It is sad that there is no middle way, and those who are not for a political position, they are automatically counted as being against it. I think there is no formal proof that globalization will bring worldwide peace. There is simply an appeal to some optimism gathered in the last fifty years, and the hope the social reality won’t contradict this dream of unity. 3. In an economic state-of-facts which is characterized by fierce concurrence, it is an illusion to think that people, because they are told so through radio and television will welcome collaboration and cooperative behavior in place of the highly stressing concurrence which they have already internalized, and it is inside their everyday life. 4. One cannot eliminate all unemployment, for there are people who see the social aid as a form of trustworthy income (cf. Wallace and Woolf, p.…) which allows them to pursue their private initiatives in relative freedom from social-economical responsibilities. 5. I have heard many things in my life, but that UWV is client-friendly beats them all! Hilarious. 6. A Dutch parliamentary complained that before all ultra-modern medical advances, there was a “happy ignorance” in respect to what illness would this individual get at the age of 40-45. So, medical advances are not necessarily for the good of the patients. E.g., euthanasia absolutely prevents them from getting soul salvation; this is the meaning of St.Paul’s attack on voluntary ending one’s own life. In Christianity, life is not a favor, but a duty. It is not to be lived only as long it rests cool, happy, or lacking severe pain. It is a terrible duty which God imposed on everyone, regardless of his/her faith and his/her religious opinions. 7. Inside medical care, it is the medical system which is central, not the patient. This is proved by the defining social values in light of the medical science (see Wallace and Woolf’s example for Parson’s evolutionary model). 8. “We live peacefully with each other” does not correspond to social reality. See Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh. 9. “The Euro strengthens Europe economically”, it is not easily objectionable (falsifiable). But, that it strengthens it socially is very badly in need of some proof. Social rights are the most threatened by this freedom of capital and merchandise. There is little evidence that the European community supports the forming of a regional welfare state. Now, that the welfare state is much under threat, almost everywhere, and it is almost wishful thinking to image that it would be a real objective of the EU. Some powerless and reassuring affirmations may be formalized in European treaties, but the social care aspect rests, factually, one of the most ignored by present European policymaking. Marx’s analysis of the length of workday is quite up to date, and Europe cannot afford to action in ignorance of developments overseas. 10. Initiatives of work for immigrants is a perhaps newsworthy but not a relevant phenomenon, due to its (i) small scale in respect to socially desirable position (desirable, according to the Dutch people) (ii) when large scale, it means undesirable social positions, i.e. jobs which humiliate the cultural and intellectual value of those who perform such jobs (e.g. Kurdish immigrants with B.A. degree or higher academic degree who had no choice but making clean for people with intellects far inferior to their own). 11. Casting a vote is pretended as highly important, but it has an extremely low importance, seen that the inner life of an individual gets expressed in pushing a few buttons, with little creativity and personal participation. It is more a pretense of participation (a reassurance ritual, according to Alvin Toffler’s Third Wave), than a real participation of the individual in public matters. 12. Globalization brings more affluence to only a part of the world. Other parts get wars, famines, exploitation of natural resources, (factually) slave labor, sex tourism, child abuse, etc. 13. Social partners were humiliated, err, disbanded by the same government. 14. While no one wants to be poor, the culture of poverty is one of the best things this Earth knew. Welfare for all citizens of this world? God forbid! It would mean making this planet inhabitable in fifty years time. One has to stop dreaming about what is nice for an individual belonging to the masses. One should get real and understand there can be no talk of sustainable growth. At most, we may talk of sustainable underdevelopment, for all countries of the Earth, provided there is still something sustainable on this planet. Finance has to say its word and crash the dreams of industry! Consumption should bear again all the religious stigma it once had. We are not talking about nice things, for we may no longer talk of nice things. We may only talk of what is necessary. An alien civilization visiting Earth may one day write in its history books: the Blue Planet was inhabited by intellectually retarded beings who kept dreaming all the day long, and even tried to make their awkward dreams true. Their planet could not bear that, and this is why they are an extinct specie. I’d wish it is science fiction! 15. Give progress a chance? No, no, Malthus is turning in his grave when hearing it! 16. Introduction of the Euro money was a quite bitter cake for all consumers in the Netherlands, especially for those of low incomes. Due to some ex ante information imbalance between buyers and sellers, there happened a factual nation-wide cartel formation of the sellers, who replaced the sign of gulden with the sign of Euro, otherwise keeping the same ciphers for their prices. Maybe this sounds cynical, yet this cynicism is widely shared by the Dutch population, who noticed that the words “us all” in the logo for the introduction of the Euro, these words did not apply to the whole of the Dutch people, but only to those who profit from their consumption, thus from their work. Another proof that political optimism is a malformation of making sense of social reality. If we start from the assumption that people are rational, then we should put in mandatory psychiatric care the following (i) everyone who consents to the contents of even a single advertising spot (ii) everyone which allows himself/herself convinced by the speeches of the politicians. It is empirical evidence that, almost always and everywhere, the small letters of a commercial contract wholly contradict its big letters. Lodewijk Brunt, in his course “Adventure of research”, mentioned his hobby of counting how many errors of logic are there in a public speech or public document, and he said that if such a speech or document has less than 30 or 40 errors of logic, then it is admirable in its high thinking quality, because it is rather uncommon that politicians and bureaucrats be capable of such logical accuracy. We see from (ii) that, if people were rational and pursuing their own interests, they would not allow themselves being convinced by the political speeches, so they would become insubordinate and chaos would result. Rational beings (as in the homo oeconomicus model) are therefore ungovernable. Thanks are given to the Lord, Who did not allow much intellect to the many! 17. The discussion about the environment ignores what seems to me a certain fact: that, in the present cultural, economic and political system of the West and other parts of the world, the problematic of ecological deterioration rests without a valid (effective) answer. I think more is being done about getting an image of environmental concern and responsibility than it is being done to prevent the ecological decay, in itself. It is more of a war of different ways of paying lip-service, either against or for green policy, and greens and their opponents alike seem to ignore that at this time there exists no real solution which is able to prevent a worldwide ecological disaster. Somebody said on an internet list, that, if we were not ourselves concerned therein, what humans do to this earth would look extremely funny, e.g. to an alien civilization who would visit this planet and would see what we are doing to it and to ourselves. 18. From the viewpoint of the political propagandist, refraining from letting the masses sink into hopelessness is a real and grounded concern, for worst is to be expected if the masses become desperate. Therefore, the political speech has to take care not to break their shallow optimism, to respect the illusions they have, in order not to turn everything into a chaos. But, as far as we are concerned, as scientists, we have to become aware that optimism is dwelling in shallow illusions, that reality is not necessarily comforting, even on the contrary, reality is fierce and merciless, and that it is reactive to stupid behavior (i.e. behavior controlled by illusions). Science is being aware of reality. A vision of dread ensues for the scientist, the dreadful vision of reality, of doom. E.g., in the Christian thinking, Daniel chapter 2 postulates cultural and ecological pessimism, and the Revelation tried to warn those responsible that, from the invalid start of the human scientific enterprise (what Heidegger names Gestell), only worst is to be expected, as a natural consequence. Knowledge has its laws, even if we ignore such laws. And, knowledge has real effects. Human nature being a constant, it is no wonder that disaster could be predicted with accuracy by those aware of the reality of human nature and of that invalid start. The very proof of the expertness of those who wrote the Holy Scriptures, it is in the fact that a few awkward people of the antiquity could produce ideas which drive billions of people, while us, in all our pride of knowing something about the humans (as individuals and as collectives), we are not able to produce. If we want to stand any chance, we have to recover the knowledge that such writers had. 19. In mass psychology, there is proven empirically that humans are alethophobic. This way, science, knowledge, truth, are more often than not object of collective and individual despise, therefore paying such awkward lip service to the importance of science is not going to help much. This despise is proven by the proposed marketization of the higher education. This would make all-to-short term interests dominate, and deep science and long-term fruitfulness would decay. Besides, according to Köbben, such despise is systemic: capitalism and democracy do not value science, but they have repeatedly shown their contempt for it. For, when big economical and political interests dominate, it is convenient (for some) to corrupt scientists, instead of corrupting state officials. E.g., there is a growing concern in respect to the danger of using mobile phones, but the negative TNO research thereupon has been bashed by a Dutch minister. He does not care of paying the bill for millions of brain damaged patients, fifty years from now on. He only sees, myopically, the short term interest of economic growth. It is not growth, but disaster! 20. According to prof. Schuyt, rules create new rules, less rules is not possible. 21. Because of individualization, older people got abandoned by their offspring; they die alone, in care of homes for the elder, financed by the state and particular organizations. 22. Who gets rich from globalization, it depends on how many are the “velen” therein.

Memo 7

I think it is obvious that an appeal to being part of a longer historical evolution, it is not an appeal to religious values as such, but it is an appeal on the civilizing role which the West bestowed upon itself. The Western civilization, it is true, it had its origin in Christianity, but now it is simply a laymen’s civilization. In this respect, the path which US chose, namely return to Christian fundamentals, it deviates from such historical evolution. One will have to wait and see which of the two is stronger: the civilizing zeal of the laymen or the conquering zeal of Christian fundamentalists. I think the neoconservatives realized that the zeal of laymen is far weaker than the zeal of religious fanaticism, and they, being so despaired of being confronted by an alien religious fundamentalism, they tried to counter-attack it with their own religious fundamentalism. It was, of course, a choice between two evils: either being conquered or recovering the oldest themes of world politics: conquest and religion. This is a course an “idealistic” argument, for it makes, in order to convince, an appeal to some imponderabilia, which, although we cannot properly quantify, they are yet evident in a very long term retrospective view on world events.

Memo 8

The “reserve army” (the unemployed) have to exist in every field, in order to allow such field enough flexibility in respect to those already at work, and provide a necessary reserve of competent workforce. Milton Friedman underlined that unemployment is a necessary safety valve which cares that economy keeps on track. It is scientifically very questionable that lowering the mandatory schooling age has positive results. An English psychologist proved that very early education (day care) increases the individual propensity for violent behavior. So, this well meant measure is dubious from such an empirical truth. I hope that making distance diminishing happen; it does not pertain to giving the individuals more power over the business of their government, but that it pertains to gathering the required science and intelligence in order to master their behavior. Gustave Le Bon scientifically proves that masses are anarchical, always ready to destroy what is left of civilization; therefore control is a must, not a whim of power-crazy political wannabees. Learn to learn, for everybody, means that politics considers that simply allowing citizens with school education and whatever education may they further pursue, it is not enough. People are stimulated, and some even obliged, to internalize knowledge and abilities. Therefore, by making the connection with the accent on norms and values, we infer that the government bestows upon the state an ideological role, namely that the state has to educate the population into the necessary ideological frame of mind. This way, the liberal theory of state remains antiquated, and so does the concept of individual autonomy, in respect to public interference, and of freedom to say and to believe whatever, regardless of government intercession. Perhaps these concepts did not become law texts, but anyway they are evident in the political will of the government. Therefore, propaganda and reeducation are allowed to play a role far more important than the liberal theory of state would allow them. This is a fact, not an ideal or value. It is being done right now: the state has become ideological, in a manifest way. For those believers in liberal democracy, who are disappointed to hear it, I have to say that such a development was inevitable, for a mere allowance for the citizens to believe things at will did never factually exist. “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson says here: a civilized nation can be neither free nor ignorant. Thomas F. Powers “Welcome to the omnipticon” review of Jeffrey Rosen’s The Naked Crowd, Reclaiming Security and Freedom in an Anxious Age, quotes Larry Ellison: “I really don’t understand [the critics]. Central databases already exist. Privacy is already gone.” And he adds: “By itself, the private sector has means, motive and opportunity to invade privacy in a way, and to a degree, that in the past even totalitarian governments, with all their centralized power, could only dream of. Yes, the danger that government and police will get this on this act (and, yes, especially so after September 11) is real. But a simpler point is that the tsunami of technology, capitalism and democracy now rolling over privacy will not easily be stopped.”

Memo 9

The morality of the Tribunal in The Hague is one-sided: what about Putin, Bush and Blair? Did they not commit crimes against humanity in Iraq and Chechnya? The whole Western civilization got humiliated by the brutish and abusive behavior of the US prison guards in Abu Ghraib and many other such places. The profession of military doctors seemed to get at the level of lowest and most despicable human behavior, see StevenH.Miles’ study. Dr. Mengele would be proud of such physicians as there!

Memo 10

Second World War, First World War… what about the big optimism about the League of Nations? If optimism means an altered perception of reality, and if reality is reactive to actions resulting form its misperception, we (scientists) don’t have to be optimistic about the future! It would be too nice that all good intentions produce good results. Conservative thinking is quite aware of such fact.

Memo 11

Economy has here two meanings: (i) an empirical study of the social infrastructure which ascribes real effects to real actions and/or virtual realities; (ii) the dominant ideology which has to do not with empirical science, but with an incorrect generalization of some economic concepts, which is presented in a form of ideology which is being imposed without opposition (see P.Bourdieu’s study of the neo-liberal utopia). Keynes’ saying that most practical men are often slaves of a dead economist, it is true here. Each economist provided more than an empirical analysis; most of them also did (maybe without being aware of it) a political metaphysics, using as building stones of such system some economic laws. A Nobel Prize rewarded two scientific opponents of economical rationalism. So, if economy seems to be irrational, what about society in general, and what about human nature in particular? The thesis of human rationality proves empirically incorrect.

Memo 12

Category “national values” also comprises these two contradictory elements: (i) a long tradition of tolerance in respect to immigrants (e.g. Spinoza wanted to hang a poster with the words “Ultimi barbarorum” – with all Dutch tolerance, it would have been fatal for him, had he not been locked in his room by the inn owner – anyway, otherwise he was fairly well tolerated). (ii) the feelings of being a foreigner in one’s own country (cf. mutatis mutandi MarioRutten’s oration), of being disadvantaged in respect to immigrants, of perceiving a threat to national solidarity and national culture, and outright hate expressions in respects to other cultures and nationalities. Be these feelings unreal, even then they produce real effects, according to W.I. Thomas’ lemma.

Memo 13

Moderation of top incomes did not come true; on the contrary, top incomes rose much further than before. People consume more in recession times, writes a dentist in Metro. Perhaps because there is much more advertising in those times, it being meant to stimulate the economy. If we care for not totally screwing up this planet, maybe the state should consider the prohibition of advertising, since advertising stimulates consumerism, and consumerism will kill this planet, says counter-advertising.

Memo 14

Le Veau d’Or est vainqueur des dieux… (Gounod’s Faust). Includes technical advances and ICT, as ideology, not as empirical insights.

Memo 15

National as well as international solidarity. “Also for newcomers”, the word “also” therein shows a quantity which can easily be ignored, therefore we conclude that newcomers are seen as an expendable category. This shows despise of the government for such category. If cultural exclusion is behaviorally more relevant than social and economical exclusion (think of Ulianov and Schicklgruber, one a poet and the other a painter, who both became dictators), if this then it follows that showing despise to marginal categories is a thing one dearly pays, due to reactive character of social reality of those marginalized categories. One may guess that the murder on Theo van Gogh was no organized terrorist deed, but the anarchical reaction of an unstable individual, who felt after all the same feelings that all the members of his groups feel in respect to being culturally marginalized and despised. Just as Merton analyzed rebellion in order to enable the criminologists, therefore the police, with an operational instrument for comprehending criminal behavior, the same way, understanding the rebellion which ensues in the human soul, when confronted with systematic cultural exclusion of himself/herself and his/her peer group, it enables the policy maker to make better policies, provided he/she is of enough intellect. So, the declaration of Purple II introduced two themes in the political debate: respect for the republican theory of law and the role of the government in respect to public norms and values.

Memo 16

“One step behind, two steps ahead” – Lenin’s and Stalin’s official policy of the Communist Party. Politically correct behavior is a problem, according to the Dutch population, so the government has to obey the collective will and break with the standards of political correctness. Besides, this judgment is an example of individualistic mindset, for individuals are allowed to break the rules of political politeness in order to express their often cynical motivations, just as if everybody turned into a sociologist in the last five years (according to Schuyt, sociologists are cynics by their nature). Political correctness, in its fundamental meaning, means being true to the facts, and refraining from thinking errors and propagating such errors. It is different from political politeness, i.e. being cool towards everybody and nobody in particular, in each utterance an individual makes in respect to other social and political groups. Political politeness is a luxury product, for politics, e.g. per Machiavelli, is a business which allows for no such luxury. Truth has to be said, even if this hurts the feelings of others. People should mind that, and rather feel offended by lying elogies rather than by nasty truth. However, if we examine the history of humankind, we notice what Hegel already knew, i.e. that people mind nothing from their own history. The text starting with “De overheid kan de nieuwe uitdagingen en problemen niet alleen aan.” is the turning point in the discussion between the liberal theory of state and the republican theory of state, which are the concepts of Habermas. We see that in this passage, besides rights and individual liberties and opportunities, there appears the notion of collective responsibility and the notion of the individual responsibility for the collective good and wellbeing. The later governments stressed very poignantly that there are no liberties without responsibilities. This is part of the neoconservative ideology, as well as part of the milder communitarian ideology. While neoconservative ideology stresses overseas interests and the role of ideological conflict (“good” vs. “evil” countries) which gives meaning to the lives of the citizens, the communitarian ideology allows the local group to determine the fate of the individuals belonging to it. So, neo-conservatism is macro-political republican theory, while communitarianism is micro-political republican theory, see Habermas’ distinction between liberal and republican law theory.

Memo 17

Social ecology is a form of ecological thinking.

Memo 18

Code factual descriptionshuman inequality The government recognizes that the thesis of equality between humans is nothing else than political dogma.

Memo 19

The following paragraph is excellent for being quoted in this context: “Voor een duidelijk herkenbaar Europees en internationaal profiel is een pragmatische, realistische, slagvaardige en ook idealistische aanpak nodig. Idealistisch als het gaat om onze beginselen en doelstellingen. Pragmatisch als het gaat om het bewaken van de Nederlandse positie en belangen. Realistisch als het gaat om haalbaarheid en het zetten van concrete stappen. Slagvaardig als het gaat om het tempo waarin en de overtuigingskracht waarmee wij opereren. Onze inspanningen in internationale organisaties en de samenwerking met de Europese partners zijn onlosmakelijk verbonden met onze bilaterale betrekkingen. Wij zullen doorgaan met de versteviging daarvan.”

Memo 20

Code idealisticvalues and feelingssolidaritynational Remarkable, this central place mentioned for social cohesion. Also, mentioning having big concerns for it. “You” therein means both people’s representatives and the citizen who hears/reads the declaration. It is therefore an ambiguous word.

Memo 21

Code verbal incentivesadmonitions There are no admonitions as such (literally). However many utterances are able to be seen as threats in respect to groups defined as misbehaving, since the language used therein is tough; they were mostly coded under security and state of law, and some were specifically addressed to the aliens. Theory Memo

Annex: Variables

Text Name

Number of Coded Segments

Date PF sept11 group Syn1 Syn2 Regeringsverklaring 1998 110 25-08-1998 0 0 1 4 1 Troonrede 1999 84 21-09-1999 0 0 1 4 1 Troonrede 2000 64 19-09-2000 0 0 1 4 1 Troonrede 2001 69 18-09-2001 0 1 1 6 2 Kerst 2001 23 25-12-2001 0 1 0 2 3 Regeringsverklaring 2002 95 26-07-2002 1 1 1 7 4 Troonrede 2002 38 17-09-2002 1 1 1 7 4 Regeringsverklaring 2003 62 11-06-2003 1 1 1 7 4 Troonrede 2003 43 16-09-2003 1 1 1 7 4 Troonrede 2004 44 21-09-2004 1 1 1 7 4 10

Read more

Politics Dissertations – Radical Feminist Argument

October 14, 2020 by Essay Writer

Feminist theory provides more than just a discourse on the interactions of the male and female, within the public and private sphere. In fact feminist theory has considered the core problems in the legal and political systems, resulting in a discourse on the inherent inequalities of these systems that favor men over women . Therefore this discussion will consider two key areas of feminist theory which are; equality of rights; and the equality in the law.

In order to understand the contributions that feminism has made to political and legal theory the inequalities and injustices that feminists are aiming to eliminate must be considered. The main area of feminist theory that this discussion will consider is liberalist and Western feminism; however it is important to note that there are non-liberalist and Eastern theories of feminism but to explore these feminisms is beyond the scope of this essay. This essay will discuss the theory provided by theorists such as MacKinnon , Scales and Stanley . It will consider radical feminism and the concept of rape; and the next section will discuss the use of women’s bodies either through rape law or visual norms as a way to control women. It will then consider the case study of feminist theory and the blurred distinction between the public and the private in general and then consider whether the approach taken by radical feminists goes too far and reduces the accountability of feminist theory. The following section will consider an alternative approach within feminist theory to ensure that equality and accountability is brought into the theory and then the approach to legal, social and political problems such as the state’s approach to rape as a means of control is taken seriously. Finally this discussion will conclude in answering the title question – does radical feminism theory offer an explanation and solution to women’s inherent inequality in the political and legal systems, in areas such as rape?


  • 1 Feminist Theory:
  • 2 Radical Feminism’s Approach to the Body and Men:
  • 3 Feminist Theory and Women’s Bodies:
  • 4 Case Study – Women in the Public & Private Spheres:
    • 4.1 Nozick’s Entitlement Theory
    • 4.2 Accountability:
    • 4.3 Conclusion:

Feminist Theory:

MacKinnon approaches feminism from a standpoint that the laws that evoke equality between men and women are not enough, because they rely on the sameness principle between men and women and tries to compensate women by saying that men and women should be treated the same. However this is not enough because of the physical and biological differences which causes a problem, because the social construction of these differences that have caused an inherent inequality between men and women in the current social, cultural, political and legal system. Mackinnon also indicates the current theoretical approaches to equality and rights are not sufficient enough because they fail to recognize that the legal and judicial system is entrenched in a male domination. Hence trying to make women the same as men, rather than recognizing that men and women are different but should have basic rights that protect this difference. MacKinnon also supports leveling the playing field by giving women advantages over men in order to counter the male dominated system . In short MacKinnon argues that the creating of laws to make women equal to men will not compete with the inherent inequalities in Western legal systems, in fact these laws will entrench the inequalities further and support the power men have in society .
Scales also endorses the problems with the inherent social inequalities between men and women. She therefore sets forth the inequality approach in order to combat the structural injustices that face women in the legal system. The central area that Scales explores is the notion of stereotypes which illustrate the structural inequalities between men and women. One such set of stereotypes are the images of the breadwinner and the housewife – the breadwinner, traditionally, is the husband who can successfully have a career and a family because he is not the primary carer. On the other hand, the wife stays at home and commits to childrearing and domestic duties, she can be in employment but not have a successful career because of the responsibilities she has at home. Hence this results in a scenario akin to the case of Phillips v Martin Marietta Corp “where the company hired males with preschool-aged children but would not hire women in that category” . The other key factor of the inequality approach in addition to recognizing that there are inherent structural differences between men women, it also recognizes the extent of injustice that the system affords to women. Scales takes MacKinnon’s basic theory and expands it into an approach that can be adopted into legal theory and thinking in order to eliminate the structural inequalities between men and women in the legal system. Therefore making equality more achievable for women as well as leveling the playing field for women by balancing out the inherent power men have over women in the legal system. If one also considers the work of Stanley who argues that the academics of feminist theory should be made accountable and not fall foul of academic standards or just use the mainstream methods that are inherently biased. This form of accountable methodology will create a serious and challenging feminist theory of politics and law, which will not be scrutinized as zealous ranting or settling for the biased methods of the male hierarchy:

The intellectual location from which debates and arguments are assembled and presented constitutes ‘a point of view’ – and the point of view critic is inevitably different from that of the proponent… Recognizing this is important, because ‘a point of view’ is both unavoidable and also indicates the existence of perspective: a particular way of seeing which highlights and brings into focus some thing as salient.
Therefore as Stanley points out it is not only important to create a distinct feminist theory that is based upon a methodology that is accountable and not a part of the male hierarchy, as this is the only way to ensure that a feminist theory that will ensure substantive equality.

Radical Feminism’s Approach to the Body and Men:

The general approach of radical feminism to rape is that it is a form of control and the approach of the justice system to rape and the victimization of the victim when testifying. The key factor that radical feminists argue is that this is indicative of an unequal society, where rape and other factors of male violence are examples of re-enforcing the patriarchal system. Rich argues that rape and violence against women are central to the control of women and their bodies, especially when the advancement of women in the public sphere is de-stabilizing this power base:

Patriarchy is… a familial-social, ideological, political system in which men – by force, direct pressure or through ritual, law and language, customs, etiquette, education, and division of labour, determine what part women shall or shall not play, and in which the female is everywhere subsumed under the male. It does not necessarily imply that no woman has power, or all women in a given culture may not have certain powers.
When considering other feminist theories there is an indicator that there is inherent discrimination in the legal, social and political system. Helena Kennedy in her expose of the English legal system’s approach to women in rape trials seems to re-enforce this notion, where a respectable women, i.e. subservient wife or vulnerable career woman can be raped but the aggressive, assertive, sexually active woman will be exposed and not be seen as a victim:
A no may be taken forgranted when a respectable woman is attacked by a total stranger in a dimly lit street, but since a vast majority of rapes are committed by men known to the victim, consent in rape trails has always been an issue that makes men nervous… Getting women to submit is an acceptable part of the sexual game plan… That women who dressed sexily were contributory negligent or that women who did not want sex just had to keep their legs shut.

Therefore the inherent discrimination pervades even violent crime against women, which has been also the case in respect to domestic violence where the justice system would shrug it off as private disputes. The problem with radical feminism is not its findings but the lack to use acceptable academic research from an objective method; it does in fact portray the reality of inequality and control. The action of rape is not about sex but control and power and the more that women threaten the patriarchal system the approach to rape and domestic violence seems to be dismissed; unless the victim falls inline with the ideal picture of a good girl. Campaigning in recent years have brought these problems to the forefront but there are problems with the attitudes of police to rape victims that may not have the purest sexual background then there is little action taken. This is closely tied to the approach of modern media and its onslaught of enslaving women to body image and the perfect Hollywood body, as well as the slow progress in respect to sexual harassment in the workplace, i.e. all are tied to patriarchal control of women. There is a problem with academics’ and policy makers’ approach to radical feminist theory is that it is considered to ignore the traditional approaches to academic research and theory; therefore as Stanley suggests there needs to be an accountable approach to feminist theory, which will be discussed later in this discussion. The following sections will investigate how the theory of radical feminism that pressure and control of patriarchy over women can be seen as inextricably tied to women’s sexuality.

Feminist Theory and Women’s Bodies:

Carla Rice states that [w]henever we as women look at ourselves through the lens of culture, we… end up engaged in a war with our bodies, one that we cannot win. Society has inhibited our bodies and we have absorbed into our skin and bones (1999, 317)

Rice introduces an interesting connection between women’s bodies and culture; however the modern restraints on women and the body are not new, i.e. history has restrained the body in differing ways. The modern restraint is the attaining the body of the supermodel and not looking older than thirty years old; whereas in history it was being the chaste and innocent daughter and then the dutiful wife and nurturing mother. After the 1960s and the civil rights movements women became a dominating force of change in the workplace and educational arenas, no longer did women have to get married after high school and start a family; rather the avenues of higher education and careers beckoned women from this form of dominance in culture. In order to remedy these advertisements no longer held the 1950s perfect mother image; rather it was replaced by underfed models, such as Twiggy. This escalated to the modern era of fighting natural processes of aging and the hatred of differing body shapes. This has led to women starving themselves, damaging their body by binging and purging, paying thousands of dollars to have their skin stretched, fat pumped and bones broken and replaced. The modern era has heralded freedom in the sense of the mind; however culture has enslaved women using their body again, i.e. the reproductive functions were the prison of the past, superficial beauty is the prison of today.
This imprisoning of the mind by using the body is a very old weapon used by the dominating male hierarchical system in fear that women can no longer be so easily controlled. If one considers cultures, such as the Middle East, being too fat or having a big nose is not a thing of consequence; because women are still imprisoned by their reproductive functions. The male dominated system of the West has been forced to alter cultural images and notions to further dominate women; therefore culture has had to alter by forcing women into a new box, i.e. an underfed, tall, big busted woman.
The war waged on women’s bodies is first a conflict over shape and size, over the terrain of our bodies, played in a deeply entrenched cultural taboos and a powerful dictate against women taking up space and claiming room of our own.
This statement of Rice’s sums up the conflict between the advancement of women and the restraints constructed by the male dominated culture, which has to adapt to the advancement of women in the late 20th and 21st Century. Rice is correct in her evaluation of the male dominated culture adapting to imprison women from declaring their own rights and space.

Case Study – Women in the Public & Private Spheres:

“Occupational segregation is being reproduced by cyclical practices which are the outcome of past conventions regarding ‘proper’ relations between the sexes… Occupational segregation is itself a source of stability and conventional gender identities will be reinforced by work in sex-typed occupations. The orthodox division of labour between men and women in the public and private spheres will also be reaffirmed by jobs that offer the opportunity to combine domestic – with paid work – that is, flexible conditions of working, part-time hours and so on”.

The situation of creating the level playing field has not been achieved by legal policies of equal opportunities, because the higher paid jobs usually require a large amount of commitment and inflexible working hours. This makes it very hard for mothers to enter these professions. In the case of mothers the barrier to higher employment in the professions of law, accountancy, the stock market and business is the hours are not always nine to five; because a crisis or a client may need advice at anytime. Therefore women in these professions are usually kept to the lower levels, because the fact that they may have a family will impede the commitment these employers expect from a partner or CEO. This is not necessarily the case with the actual possible employees, because the traditional role of mother and housewife is no longer the key driver for the identity of women. It is this perception that is prevalent within liberalist democracies where the structure is entrenched with male dominated thinking. Therefore it is this mode of thinking that needs to be changed, which means that the adoption of policies that relay equal-opportunities is not enough. This has been emphasized through the theory of thinkers, such as MacKinnon and Kymlicka . Both these thinkers advise that rights need to be afforded to disadvantaged groups that ensure that the balance the playing field against the dominant group(s) in society. Therefore this introduces policies such as quotas, whereby a certain percentage of women and other disadvantage groups must be represented at all levels of employment. For example within political parties throughout Europe and in certain sectors of Canada a quota system is used, in order to get a representative amount of women into politics . However this has been rejected by the UK and certain sectors of Canadian polity as reverse discrimination . Rejecting the quota systems and labelling them as reverse discrimination illustrates how the current political and legal structures are only playing lip-service to the principles of equal opportunity and anti-discrimination. Institutions of business and government in the who argue against so-called reverse discrimination have failed to recognize that women are more than their traditional role of housewife and mother, because their entrenchment in traditional liberal theory views the labour market as supply and demand; where traditionally the largest supply of cheap labour is found to be women, whereby this labour is traditionally unskilled or related to the caring and domestic sectors. However in the recent years the number of women university graduates has rapidly increased, therefore provides a wealth of skilled female labour. The number of women in the skilled sectors has increased, but the higher one gets in the hierarchy there are fewer women, because of the concept of the glass ceiling for women. This barrier is not recognized in the institutions by equal opportunity policy or within the law because it is so entrenched into the social structure of the present legal and political system that is invisible, hence being called the glass ceiling. Feminism has provided a discourse that has gone farther than just making women equal to men, because in making the law gender-blind it fails to recognize the inherent power of men over women in the legal system, as well as the inherent structural inequalities.

Not all feminists take the approach of MacKinnon and Scales, however their theories do recognize that there is a structural inequality of power between men and women. There is definitely a feminist political and legal theory which has recognized the structural inequalities between men and women and has tried to eliminate these inequalities through various different approaches. However feminism has provided a very important analysis of the legal system and theory by recognizing that power is inherent in the ruling group; where the only way to balance this power is to identify and eliminate the inequalities that afford the ruling group power. This is also applicable to class, caste and race inequalities and if an approach can be made in legal theory to ensure that there is a redistribution of historical burdens and benefits to disadvantaged classes then there would be an effective law of equality. Therefore feminism has provided a new dimension to liberalist legal theory is; a re-evaluation of its structure; and a consideration of its inherent power and inequalities. This argument ties closely into the arguments presented by Stanley. Stanley argues that there is a need for accountable feminist methodology to ensure that this feminist theory is challenging the academic norms; as well as freestanding as an academic school of knowledge.
Alternative Approach Necessary for Equality and Reduce Violence against Women:

Nozick’s Entitlement Theory

Inequality is a reality for women at all levels of life, in the home, in the labor market and as a citizen of the state. The laws of liberal democratic states have set up value neutral laws that are based in an androgynous view of the sexes; however this is not the reality of situation, because the state, family and labor market is based on systemic discrimination of women, i.e. men have created the system and have inherently based the position of women, at best as second class citizens and at worst as the property of men. This has made the theory of re-distribution key to creating equality economically, socially and politically for women. Therefore this discussion will consider the theories of re-distribution and then apply them to women’s social and political situations, which then should cause changes in women’s social image and therefore create a situation of equality in the family. It will do this by considering Nozick’s entitlement theory and adapt it in respect to feminism to create an inherently indiscriminate state and a more objective approach by the justice system to rape.
The core thinking of Nozick is the entitlement theory whereby there are three principles which are; the transfer principle; the acquisition principle; and the rectification principle. It must be stressed that Nozick’s liberalism is entrenched in the theory of natural and core rights as set out originally be Locke. Therefore all men are created equally as derived from the state of nature but in order to create a civil society men contracted for a just system of governance with essential human rights. This is the traditional theory of the relationship between the market and the state; however this value-neutral approach fails to create equality for women. The problem of inherent inequality is because such a theory based on the free market would view re-distributive actions by the government as unjust. The main problem for this thinking is the original premise whereby Nozick assumes all people began as equals, because the present Western society has been created primarily by white men, therefore for there to be equality.

Inequalities within the home and views on women’s sexuality have been the focus for theorists that emphasize the need for a level playing field . However, on the other hand, the focus on labour market inequalities arguably may be deteriorating within the UK, due to the introduction of legislation from the early seventies to the nineties, this legislation; whereby two of the key concepts were equal pay for equal jobs and the freedom from discrimination regardless of race, religion, gender or creed. For women there was also the introduction of maternity rights, making it impossible to dismiss women or not hire women solely on the grounds of pregnancy (actual or future). This has been strengthened in the last few years with carers leave for children under five and the introduction of flexible working for parents. Therefore the current legal atmosphere promotes equality in the workplace, especially between the genders. The law in general follows from the Human Rights Act 1998; however these equal rights are based on treating men and women the same and do not combat the inequities that are inherent in the system, which are illustrated by the fact that there are problems with sexual harassment and the prosecution of such acts. In fact in some jurisdictions such as Canada there was no legal action of sexual harassment until 1989 with the case of Janzen v Platy Enterprises . If there are problems in defining and prosecuting sexual harassment because of the traditional views of women this illustrates the problem with the Therefore it is necessary for this systemic discrimination to be tackled by re-distributive justice, which feminists such as Mackinnon purport.

Therefore inequality is the key term that needs to be discussed when contemplating the validity of re-distributing resources. Re-distribution can be done by either handing out state benefits of money, housing or material items or by providing more opportunities to those that are in disadvantaged positions. Nozick and Rawls are examples of two extremes in liberalist thought; Nozick represents the true laissez-faire liberals whereby redistribution is against equal opportunities and the only way to present a just government is to follow free-market principles. Rawls, on the other hand, argues that re-distribution can be fair as long as it is just, but would not suggest quota systems or the socialist democratic state of the Scandinavian nations. This section will end by comparing the two theorists. There are other theorists such as Kymlicka who argue that re-distribution is the only manner of ensuring that inherent inequalities are eradicated in the political system. Such lines of arguments come from feminist thinkers, such as MacKinnon . Therefore this approach would tackle rape and the current approach of the court as an example of this inherent inequality, ensuring that rape is treated seriously and a matter under an objective court rather than a court that is biased against women, using their sexual backgrounds against them when all there should be is a question of consent.


Stanley’s accountable feminist knowledge and how this approach might address methodical problems of gender, these are the problems that radical feminism hold and many ward of unwarranted ranting, rather than a theoretical argument.
Gender is not an a priori characteristic of social life or of people or of the content of documents; it is not ‘in’ these as a ‘by definition’ component of them, but instead a construction, one capable of being construed differently in different times and places, by different commentators, using different (or in deed the same) evidences.
Stanley’s approach to feminist knowledge is very important because it sheds the inherent methodologies of society, which are entrenched with biases of the male dominated society. In addition Stanley argues that gender is not an a priori characteristic rather it is the construction of society and dominated by male dominated methodologies, i.e. one’s sex refers to the simple a priori characteristic whether one is male or female; whereas gender is the construction of how this sex should function in society, such as the Victorian and 1950’s image of the male (husband) is the breadwinner and the female (wife) is the nurturer and housewife. This is a very important distinction because for too long have all academic disciplines mistaken gender and one’s sex for one in the same thing. What Stanley is proposing will take a closer look at how gender is constructed and whether a feminist methodology will ensure that equality and substantive justice will be meted out fairly. One such example is the use of quantitative and hard scientific methods; whereby the only manner to ensure equality is from a value neutral approach, i.e. men and women are considered androgynous and without sex; therefore creating a system of equality. On the other hand, a more modern approach denies this value neutral approach as an example of inherently sexist methodology because it does not combat the differences between the sexes; as well as the value neutral approach being steeped in gender stereotypes that does not truly combat the male dominated academic biases of methodology. Stanley uses the work of Rich to create and exposition of this approach and focuses on the differences in perspective, i.e. no scientific method can truly be value neutral as they are being conducted by humans and humans are inherently biased:

The intellectual location from which debates and arguments are assembled and presented constitutes ‘a point of view’ – and the point of view critic is inevitably different from that of the proponent… Recognizing this is important, because ‘a point of view’ is both unavoidable and also indicates the existence of perspective: a particular way of seeing which highlights and brings into focus some thing as salient.

Stanley, therefore, proposes that in order to combat these biased perspectives, where the male dominated perspective is inherent in the societal structure, there needs to an accountable feminist methodology that will provide a feminist perspective that will provide a realistic and challenging opponent to the inherent male dominated perspective. Accountability is the key because it allows for the methodology to be considered as an equal to the current academic methodologies, without accountability it will be dismissed as mere zealous ranting as opposed to a new academic method. As Stanley argues:
A real debate about feminist methodology has not yet happened… in particular because of the use of binaries… What is needed now is an actual, real, debate, involving an exchange of ideas and the thoughtful interrogation of alternative approaches.


At the moment because the state and economic situation is only playing lip service to equality this re-enforces the inequality in the family, work and justice system where the good girl gets justice the wife who is not only a career women, but also a cleaner, caretaker, nanny and a personal servant to her husband. Therefore the argument of radical feminism is not too far from the truth; however its methods and accountability raises questions and it gets regarded as biased and un-objective. In order for this attitude in society to change feminist theory needs to be incorporated in the state and the economy further, with re-distributive justice; the reason why feminist theorists have only been partially successful is that either the theory has no accountable basis or it is falling prey to mainstream academic methods. In order to do this feminist theory must incorporate an accountable feminist methodology , in order for feminist theory to be held as a valid theory of the state and economics with valid aims to create equality through realistic systemic change. By bringing true systemic change it will cause a change in social views and policy, which will bring true equality to the family home, women’s sexuality and in the workplace and most importantly in the justice system for victims of rape .

Read more

The Simple Plurality System

October 14, 2020 by Essay Writer

In Brittan the Simple Plurality System (FPTP) is used for general elections. However, the need for an electoral reform has been argued and a referendum on changing the electoral system from First-Past-The-Post to the Alternative Vote will be held on any day before the end of October 2011. This essay will include the problems of First-Past-The-Post and will discuss whether the Alternative Vote would be fairer. First-Past-The-Post or the Single Plurality System is an electoral system in which a candidate only needs the plurality of votes to win i.e. more votes than any other candidate, and doesn’t need an overall majority. That is why this system is sometimes called the ‘winner-take-all-system’. However, it is possible to win with an overall majority and when a party regularly does so in a specific constituency; the seat of that constituency is called a ‘safe seat’. Whereas, when a party wins with a small margin in a particular constituency, the seat would be called a ‘marginal seat’ and that could be easily changed. The main argument against FPTP is that it is disproportional, i.e. the percentage share of the popular vote of parties does not reflect the percentage share of seats. This means that candidates can be elected on a small amount of public support. For instance, in 1997 Labour won 419 out of 659 seats, which is 63% of seats, although it only won 43% of the votes. In addition, it has been argued that this system promotes tactical voting, that is people voting against the party they dislike rather than for the party they support. As well as that, a common argument against FPTP is that it wastes a huge amount of votes, since votes of the losing candidates and the ‘surplus’ votes of the winning candidates are counted for nothing. Also, people who are against FPTP claim that it limits the choice of voters, as they can only vote on a package of policies and if they are dissatisfied with some of the policies that the party’s manifesto contains they cannot express their opinions at the ballot box. Furthermore, it has been argued that FPTP dismays turnout, because many voters are reluctant to vote as they think their vote will not make a difference. This can be illustrated by the fact that turn out in European countries where PR and mixed systems are used is higher than in the UK. For these reasons many people want an electoral reform. The Liberal Democrats Party is the party, who included a pledge of a reform of the voting system. However, the Liberal Democrats wanted to change the system to the Single Transferable Vote system which is a PR system, but as a part of the coalition consensus with the Conservatives, they had to settle for the Alternative Vote. The AV is a majoritarian system, in which “preferential voting” is used. The referendum was supposed to be held on the 5th of May 2011, but the government lost by 195 votes to 199 on the 6th of December. Therefore, the referendum will be held anytime before the end of October 2011. The main argument for the AV system is that it produces MPs, who have the majority support of the voters i.e. more than 50% of the vote. Moreover, it is argued that this system will lessen tactical voting, as voters can vote for the party they support no matter how small it is while knowing that their vote would still determine the winner. In addition, the division of constituencies under AV is the same as FPTP, so there would be no need for redrawing boundaries and each constituency will still have an MP who represents it. As well as that, supporter of AV believe that it excludes extremist parties which are unlikely to win second-preference votes. Whether or not the AV system is fairer than FPTP depends on individuals’ interpretation of fair. If fair is seen as more proportional, then some people argue that AV is a fairer system as they claim it is less disproportional than FPTP. Nonetheless, many people disagree and even believe that it could lead to a less proportional representation than FPTP and it is a “winner takes all” system as well. On the other hand, fair might be considered as a system in which the winner is more supported, in that sense, supporters of AV claim that it is fairer since the winner has more than 50% of the votes. Whereas, supporter of FPTP argue that FPTP produces a winner that is the voters’ first choice rather than their second or third preference. As already mentioned, AV is not the system that the Lib-Dems want; in fact Nick Clegg called it a “miserable little compromise”. Fiji, Australia and Papua New Guinea are the only three countries that use AV in their national general elections, and two of them are considering leaving it. Moreover, it’s argued that AV reduced the turnout in Australia, that’s why they had to make voting mandatory. President of the no AV campaign Beckett, M (2010) said “AV doesn’t help democracy, it stands in its way, and I will be urging people to vote no next May”. In conclusion, I think electoral reform is a decision that needs a lot of consideration. Therefore, it is not a good idea to change the voting system to one which wasn’t even included in the manifestos of either coalition parties, to choose between two majoritarian systems, to select a system which is more complicated and maybe more disproportional than the current one. In my point of view, even if the country needs an electoral reform, it should consider a different system rather than AV.

Read more

Should Economic Efficiency Be the Primary Consideration for Competition Law?

October 14, 2020 by Essay Writer

Q.3 should economic efficiency be the primary consideration and priority for the enforcement of competition law? It is widely accepted that economic efficiency is the primary consideration and legitimate doctrine when contemplating the goal of competition law. This is agreed upon by both legal and economist scholars. [1] Economic efficiency brings about monumental benefits; it stimulates the economy, reduces the prices of products, and improves development innovation and creativity, creating new sources of capital.[2] Schweitzer has argued that competition law can never stand alone with just economic efficiency in a democratic society.

The inclusion of public policy choices is inevitable.[3] This implements an idea that competition law is a myriad of broader national and public policies, strategies, priorities and interests. This suggests that it may not be such a good idea to place economic efficiency as the prime consideration of competition law. Merger regulations provide a good example to foster the idea that the governments’ goal for competition law goes beyond the maintenance of market competitiveness and towards a more social one.[4] Governments may find themselves inclined to prefer non-efficiency motivators due to pressure by interest groups accounting for their social needs.[5] Since there is influence from these non-economic objectives then it would seem that suggesting a framework to accommodate for these objectives would be necessary. However, although this would seem to show that non-efficiency objectives are indeed integrated into the internal part of competition law, this doesn’t mean that such objectives are followed by the judiciary or the competition law enforcement bodies.[6] This idea brings to life the understanding that although non-efficiency objectives are mentioned and voiced, it may only be done to please the many voices for it, as at the end of the day the enforcers have the discretion to pursue the objective which they see more suitable. More often than most being an economic one. In order to be able to appreciate the objectives of competition law, it is important to look at the specific legal system in question, as different systems have different priorities.[7] In less developed countries the focus of competition law policy falls on mostly social objectives. They usually have a liking in the protection of small businesses and decentralization of political & economic power. [8] This would mean then that the idea of economic efficiency being the prime focus of competition law is frustrated. With that being said the question over the objective of competition law policy would be whether to achieve moral goals or to insure that the promotion of competition and economic efficiency is maximised.[9] Government intervention also has an important role to play in indentifying the priority of competition law policy in a country. Conservative and libertarian views are in favour of minimal government intervention and thus would opt for the objective of competition law to be based on economic efficiency.[10] Contrary to that, the more liberal views are more prone to support non-efficiency objectives such as the welfare of small businesses and the dispersion of power, in consequence, they are suspicious of corporate power.[11] When focusing on the economic efficiency, there is a usual disregard for the distribution or equity implications involved.[12] This is why we have the liberals who endeavour to protect those rights. There appears to have been a shift and focus on the objectives taken by different jurisdiction. This change has been towards a more economic efficiency base.[13] This was demonstrated by the UN conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which indicated, ‘the trend is towards relatively greater emphasis upon competition, efficiency and competitiveness objectives.’[14] It has been stated that the allure of economic efficiency may have taken a global turn by different jurisdictions following under the same steps but this does not mean that other non-economic objectives don’t need to be considered.[15] Michael Porter argues that construing an entire body of law solely on consumer welfare theory could result in the overlooking important benefits for society. Competition law would not perform at its best and to its full promise if it did not account for society’s benefit.[16] Porter is not the only believer that a solely economic efficient objective would not be appropriate for competition law policy. Professor Robert Pitofsky, supports this stance and adds that an entirely economic approach would lead to market domination by few corporate giants.[17] As a soltution, Maurice Stucke suggests that different objectives of competition law should be accepted ‘because these multiple goals reflect the various stakeholders’[18] interests and concerns, which they want addressed.[19] It must be noted that judicial and legislative approaches towards non-efficiency goals are troubling. We have mentioned that economic efficiency is the preferred objective. However, it must also be determined that if the judicial and legislative bodies where against non-economic efficiency all together, they would enact or amend so as to provide primacy to economic analysis. This demonstrates that non-economic considerations should play a role within competition law.[20] On top of that, it is maintained by John Flynn that ‘although economic analysis provides valuable insights into business dynamics and the probable effects of a commercial practice in the market place, economics is not law.’[21] The competition policies are passed by politician and not by economists. In order to fulfil the aspiration of the people competition law ought to take into account all the peoples aspirations.[22] Professor Harry First also states that in pursing consumer welfare we inevitably satisfy the desire of citizens as a consumer only and that we ignore the inclination registered politically which consequently does not show up in the analysis of market place efficiency.[23] In focusing on economic efficiency or the ‘market efficiency’ there is the issue that there is a failure to express people’s preference beyond their dollars.[24] So a preference for more expansive opportunities for a small business or preventing concentrations of economic power in private hands cannot be prevented.[25] It does not make sense to ignore these preferences as the politics would point out that the public places value on these objectives.[26] The disregard of the peoples voice means that democracy is being forgone and in the process people may lose faith in competition law policies.[27] So many people are affected by competition law policies, therefore it would make sense that the consideration of both economic and non-economic objectives are accounted for in order to promote fairness. Stucke comments that ‘competition policy in democracy will never be captured by a single economic goal.’[28] The best way to overcome this once again to accommodate the self-interest of the people and lodge their hopes and fears I regards to competition.[29] By looking at what different jurisdiction have adapted we can have an idea of what has been working best. And by understanding what works best then we can determine whether we should focus on economic efficiencies. We can do this by using the merger control analysis.[30] The US courts have proven to focus their objectives on economic efficiency in their merger policies. The merger guidelines of 1992, demonstrate this as it has lowered the standard of proof for efficiency arguments.[31] Canada also provides an efficiency defence in their competition Act under Section 96. In the Act they set out a test to check the effects of the merger and balance it against the efficiency gains.[32] The producer and consumer’s losses and gains are reviewed.[33] The Canadians approach factor non-economic considerations and consider the protection of small and medium enterprises, and the balancing of such mergers against efficiency gains of the merger.[34] In the UK, the objective is on the ‘increase rivalry in the market into account in assessing whether a merger gives rise to any risk of a substantial lessening of competition.’[35] The Office of fair trading which deals with the matter is allowed to use its discretion into these cases. The US holds the leading role of promoting the economic-efficiency objective whereas the European countries demonstrate a state of the mergers of both economic and non-economic efficiency objectives.[36] There has been a rise in the Chicago school of thought, which are fervent believer on the ‘economic approach.’ The Canadian competition law is like Europe in that it has managed to find a relative balance between the two objectives within a statutory framework. However, there is a penchant towards the economic efficient objective in practice.[37] The UK has shown to have preferred the economic efficient approach and has in consequence slowly give less weight to the importance attributed by statute to public interests concerns.[38] The task for a jurisdiction to accommodate non-economic efficiency is extremely difficult. Countries such as Israel are still in quest of a method to implement non-efficiency concerns in the Israeli competition law.[39] It has been found by Areeda and Hovenkamp that two approaches should be followed if economic-efficiency objectives should be applied. a) absence of collision with ambiguous statutory language.[40] b) institutional capability of ‘managing the information and decision-making process necessary’ to implement such approach.[41] It has been pointed out however, that if too much attention is given to non-economic efficiency objectives when decisions are made then in the long run the economy will become less efficient, which will eventually affect the consumers negatively.[42] There seems to be a great need to combine both economic and non-economic efficient objective together. Blake and Jones have cited that the same rule of law may promote both objectives.[43] It is believed that non-efficiency objectives may be reached by ensuring market efficiency. In fact, what is believed is that economic efficiency is the ‘direct goal’ of competition, while the socio-political and other non-economic concerns are considered ‘ultimate goals’.[44] The concern which many have with the Chicago school of thought is that the economic approach they eagerly defend brings about short term benefits. The merger guidelines that defend such thought[45] fails to take into account the social and political impact of mergers , which in the long run may lead to loss or transfer of jobs or an increasing political influence.[46]

[1] Organisation for economic co-orperation & development COECD, competition policy & efficiency claims in horizontal agreements (Paris,) 1996), p.5. [2]O. Green.(2008). Integration of non-efficiency objectives in competition Law. LL.M.Thesis.Faculty of Toronto: Canada. P2 [3] H. Schweitzer. “Competition law and public policy – reconsidering an uneasy relationship: the example of Art. 81” (2007), p. 13. Available at SSRN : [4] A. Ezrachi, “The role of voluntary frameworks in multinational cooperation over merger control”, 36 Geo. Wash. Int. L. Rev. 433, 438, n. 16 (2004). [5] O. Green.(2008). Integration of non-efficiency objectives in competition Law. LL.M.Thesis.Faculty of Toronto: Canada. P.3. [6] K.G Elzinga, “The goals of antitrust: other than competition and efficiencies, what else counts?”,125 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1182, 1203 (1977). [7] 6 ICN, Advocacy Working Group, Advocacy and Competition Policy (2002), p. 32; available at: [8] M. Trebilcock et al., The Law and Economics of Canadian Competition Policy (Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 2nd ed., 2003), p. 39. [9] P. Slot & A. Johnson, An Introduction to Competition Law (Oxford, UK: Hart Publishing, 2006), p. 4. 35 Gal, “Reality bites (or bits): the political economy of antitrust enforcement”, in: Hawk, ed., International Antitrust Law and Policy (Huntington, NY: Juris Publishing, 2001), p. 605, Part IV; available at SSRN: [10] Fox, “The modernization of antitrust: a new equilibrium”, 66 Cornell L.R.. 1140, 1155 (1981). P.1156 [11] E. Sullivan & J. Harrison, Understanding Antitrust and Its Economic Implications (Newark, NJ: Bender & Co.: 4th ed., 2003), p. 2-3. [12] O. Green.(2008). Integration of non-efficiency objectives in competition Law. LL.M.Thesis.Faculty of Toronto: Canada. P.19. [13] C. Ehlermann & L. Laudati, eds., European Competition Law Annual: The Objectives of Competition Law (Oxford, UK: Hart Publishing, 1998), p. ix [14] UNCTAD, The Basic Objectives and Main Provisions of Competition Laws and Policies (1995), p. 2; available at: [15] O. Green.(2008). Integration of non-efficiency objectives in competition Law. LL.M.Thesis.Faculty of Toronto: Canada. P.21. [16] 6 M.E. Porter, Competition and Antitrust: A Productivity-Based Approach (2002), p. 2; available at: [17] R. Pitofsky, “The political content of antitrust”, 127 U. Pa. L.R 1051, 1056ff (1979) [18] M. Stucke, Better Competition Advocacy (2007), p. 51; available at: [19] O. Green.(2008). Integration of non-efficiency objectives in competition Law. LL.M.Thesis.Faculty of Toronto: Canada. P.22. [20] Id., p.23. [21] 1 Khemani, “Objectives of Competition Law”, in: World Bank-OECD, A Framework for the Design and Implementation of Competition Law and Policy (Paris, 1997), p. 5; available at: [22] J. Flynn, “Antitrust jurisprudence: a symposium on the economic, political and social goals of antitrust policy”, 125 U. Pa. L.R. 1182, 1186 (1977).p.1186. [23] H. First, Book review of Posner, Antitrust Law: An Economic Perspective, 52 NYU L. Rev. 947, 947 (1977).p.966. [24] O. Green.(2008). Integration of non-efficiency objectives in competition Law. LL.M.Thesis.Faculty of Toronto: Canada. P.25. [25] H. Hovenkamp, “Antitrust policy after Chicago”, 84 Mich. L. Rev. 213, 242 (1985).p.241. [26] Ibid.,p242. [27] J. Burns, “Vertical restraints, efficiency and the real world”, 62 Fordham L. Rev. 597, 628 (1993) [28] M. Stucke, Better Competition Advocacy (2007), p. 26. [29] D. Dewey, “Antitrust and economic theory: an uneasy friendship”, 87 Yale L.J. 1516, 1525 (1978) [30] Competition Bureau (Canada), Treatment of Efficiencies in the Competition Act: Consultation Paper (2004), Appendix C. [31] W. Kolasky & A. Dick, “The Merger Guidelines and the integration of efficiencies into antitrust review of horizontal mergers”, 71 Antitrust L.J. 207, 208 (2003),p.209. [32] O. Green.(2008). Integration of non-efficiency objectives in competition Law. LL.M.Thesis.Faculty of Toronto: Canada. P.29. [33] J. Holsten, “The Commissioner of Competition v. Superior Propane – the Tribunal strikes back”, 2002 Canadian Competition Record 26, 31 (2002). [34] 1 Economic Council of Canada, Interim Report on Competition Policy (Ottawa: Queen’s Printer, 1969), p. 22. See Competition Bureau (Canada), Merger Enforcement Guidelines (2004), 8.19 [35] Office of Fair Trading, Mergers – substantive assessment guidance (OFT 561, 2003), par. 4.30 [36] O. Green.(2008). Integration of non-efficiency objectives in competition Law. LL.M.Thesis.Faculty of Toronto: Canada. P.43. [37] Ibid., p.43. [38] Ibid.,p.43. [39] Ibid.,p.43. [40] P. Areeda & H. Hovenkamp, Antitrust Law (New York, NY: Aspen Law and Business, 2002), vol. I (rev. ed.), p. 127. [41] Id., p.119. [42] B. Foer, “The goals of antitrust: thoughts on consumer welfare in the U.S.” (American Antitrust Institute, Working Paper 05-09), p. 24 [43] H. Blake & W. Jones, “Toward a three-dimensional antitrust policy”, 65 Colum. L. Rev. 422, 424 (1965). [44] C. Ehlermann & L. Laudati, eds., European Competition Law Annual: The Objectives of Competition Law (Oxford, UK: Hart Publishing, 1998), p. 30. [45] U.S. Department of Justice, Merger Guidelines (1984), reprinted in 4 Trade Reg. Rep. (CCH) ¶13,103 [46] Sullivan, “Post-Chicago economics: economists, lawyers, judges, and enforcement officials in a less determinate theoretical world”, 63 Antitrust L.J. 669 (1995)

Read more

Feminist theories don’t add to the study of international law. Discuss.

October 14, 2020 by Essay Writer

Feminism is a political movement that seeks to overturn gender inequalities between men and women (Blunt and Wills, 2000: p. 90). It is concerned with the power relations that influence not only how individuals relate to each other, but how spheres of life are gendered in particular ways.

Feminism is therefore, inherently linked to international law and is one of the ways in which it can be theorised. While the international legal system may be broadening in scope, it remains narrow in perspective. In particular, the boundaries and limits of international law can be seen from a critical and feminist perspective. Feminist legal theory is comprised of two broad strands. The first is to analyse and critically interrogate the implicit and masculinist assumptions of international law in theory and in practice. The second is to reform international law such that it might better serve the interests of women across the world. It has been argued that ‘feminist theories have nothing to add to the study of international law’ (Hunter-Williams, 2009). However, despite this criticism, feminist theories have much to contribute to the study of international law. The importance of feminist theories in international law can be seen through the inadequacies of traditional theories of law and also in the application of feminist theories in areas such as human trafficking and refugee law. The absence of women in international law has distorted the discipline’s boundaries and “produced a narrow and inadequate jurisprudence that has, among other things, legitimised the unequal position of women around the world rather than challenged it” (Charlesworth and Chinkin, 2000: p.1). Feminist theory acts to challenge this situation and thus offers a significant contribution to the study of international law. Traditional theories of international law have seriously failed to address the situation of women worldwide (Charlesworth and Chinkin, 2000: p.25). Feminist theories, however, contribute to our understanding of international law and the global inequality of women. As such, the remainder of this essay will refute the claim that ‘feminist theories have nothing to add to the study of international law’. It should be stressed that there is no single school of feminist jurisprudence and the categories do overlap in some respects. Liberal feminists typically accept the language and aims of the existing domestic legal order. Charlesworth and Chinkin explain how liberal feminists “insist that the law fulfil its promise of objective regulation upon which principled decision-making is based” (2000: p.39). Their primary goal is to achieve equality of treatment between women and men in public areas, such as political participation and representation, and equal access to and equality within paid employment, market services and education (Charlesworth and Chinkin, 2000: p.39). Liberal feminism therefore, has something to add to international law in that it seeks to achieve equality between men and women. Charlesworth and Chinkin define cultural feminism to be “concerned with the identification and rehabilitation of qualities and perspectives identified as particular to women” (2000: p.40). Epistemologically, it is a standpoint theory in that it emphasises the importance of knowledge based upon experience and asserts that women’s subjugated position allows them to formulate more complete and accurate accounts of nature and social life (Harding, 1986: pp.24-29). In this area, the work of Carol Gilligan is particularly relevant. Gilligan investigates whether there is a distinctively feminine way of thinking or solving problems (Gilligan, 1982). She identifies a ‘different’ voice which bases decisions on the values of caring and connection in contrast to a style of decision-making based on abstract logic (Gilligan, 1982: p.24). The former is associated with women and the later with men (Charlesworth and Chinkin, 2000: p.40). Gilligan’s work has been useful to the critical analysis of legal reasoning, which lays claim to abstract, objective decision making. Accordingly, “if legal reasoning simply reproduces a masculine type of reasoning, its objectivity and authority are reduced” (Charlesworth, et al., 1991: p.615). This illustrates the contribution of cultural feminism to international legal theory. Radical feminism explains women’s inequality as the product of domination of women by men. Catherine Mackinnon has been a consistent exponent of this view. Her view is that the law keeps women ‘out and down’ (Mackinnon, 1987: p.205) by preserving a hierarchical system based on gender and sex. Radical feminism has paid attention to the public/private dichotomies that also feature in liberal thought. The public realm of the workplace, the law, economics, politics and intellectual and cultural life is regarded as the natural province of men; while the private world of the home, the hearth and children is seen as the appropriate domain of women (Charlesworth et al., 1991: p.626). This dichotomy has led to a debate amongst feminist scholars over whether this distinction often operates to obscure or legitimate men’s domination of women. This dispute could be seen to weaken radical feminist theory. However, the awareness it raises of the domination of women by men and particularly the hierarchical system of international law outweighs its flaws. Feminist campaigns have not only been restricted to women from the Global North. The term ‘third world feminisms’ refers to approaches developed by women from the Global South and women of colour in the Global North. These approaches explore the differences among, as well as between, men and women. For instance, Alice Walker coined the term ‘womanism’ (1984, quoted in Blunt and Wills, 2000: p. 114) because many black feminists prefer the term ‘womanism’ to ‘feminism’, as the later has been largely white and largely uncritical of its whiteness. Charlesworth et al. assess third world feminisms in terms of the notion of a ‘different voice’ (1991: p.615) in international law. The authors argue that third world states have challenged international law as either disadvantageous to them or inadequate to their needs (Charlesworth et al.: p.616). However, they also suggest that although the challenge of the ‘different voice’ of the developing nations to international law has been fundamental, it has focused on disparities in economic position and has not questioned the silence of half the world’s population in the creation of international law, or the unequal impact of rules of international law on women (1991: p. 618). Despite the limitations of third world feminisms, it still provides an important contribution to international law in that it highlights the application of Western feminist theories to third world communities and societies (Charlesworth and Chinkin, 2000: p.46). The importance of the contribution of feminist theories to international law can be seen in practice in relation to human trafficking. In December 2000, over 80 countries signed the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (the Trafficking Protocol), (Doezema, 2002: p.20). The Trafficking Protocol works to conceptualise an international problem; it established the first definition of trafficking in international law and put in place a set of measures for international co-operation to address this problem (Sullivan, 2003: p.68). The Trafficking Protocol defines trafficking in persons as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion” (United Nations, 2003: p.2). Trafficking in women for the sex industry is highly profitable for those running the trade. The UN estimated that 4 million people were trafficked in 1998, producing a profit of USD 7 billion for criminal groups (Sassen, 2002). Feminists and feminist organisations were particularly involved in discussions about the text of the Trafficking Protocol (Sullivan, 2003: pp.67-68). Feminist lobbying regarding the Protocol was split into two ‘camps’ espousing differing views on prostitution. One group, the Human Rights Caucus, viewed prostitution as legitimate labour. The other, represented by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), considered all forms of prostitution to be a violation of women’s human rights. Differences about the possibilities of distinguishing between free and forced prostitution divided feminists. Consequently, the definition of trafficking incorporated in the Protocol has some important weaknesses. Furthermore, the debate amongst feminists on this topic has fuelled claims that ‘feminist theories have nothing to add to the study of international law’ (Hunter-Williams, 2009). However, the Protocol does have its strengths. The Trafficking Protocol has had significant worldwide impact on the status of women. As such feminist theory should be seen as making an important contribution to the study of international law. A further area in which feminist theories are viewed as important in international law is that of refugee law. Carving out territory for refugee women within mainstream legal realms has been one way that feminists have successfully redressed their invisibility within refugee discourse (Oswin, 2001). Efforts have largely focused on eliminating the male bias within the legal definition of ‘refugee’ in order to incorporate the experiences of refugee women into refugee status determination processes. Emphasis has also been placed upon the recognition of violence against women as a ground of persecution. Those feminists who have sought to incorporate women’s experiences into refugee law can claim success on a variety fronts. For instance, the UNHCR’s Guidelines on the Protection of Refugee Women, adopted in 1991, emphasises the fact that gender-based persecution exists and should be recognised by ‘refugee-receiving’ states as a basis for asylum (Oswin, 2001: p.350). In this way, feminist efforts have been instrumental in putting refugee women’s experiences on the agenda of international refugee law. However, it could be proposed that feminist theories have not had a substantial involvement in refugee law as feminists “have only been granted a small portion of what is already extremely finite territory” (Oswin, 2001: p.347). A final example of the significant impact that feminist theory has had on the study of international law is that of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. SC1325 is an eighteen-point resolution that develops an agenda for women, peace and security. It calls for the prosecution of crimes against women, increased protection of women and girls during war, the appointment of more women to the UN peacekeeping operations and field missions and an increase in women’s participation in decision making processes at the regional, national and international level (Cohn, et al., 2004: p.130). The resolution was unanimously adopted by the Security Council on 31 October 2000. SC1325 is highly significant because it is the first time the Security Council has devoted an entire session to debating women’s experiences in conflict and post-conflict situations. The resolution was influenced by feminist campaigners and the case highlights the growing influence of feminist theories on international law. Women are on the margins of the international legal system (Charlesworth and Chinkin, 2000: p.48). Charlesworth and Chinkin comment that: “Women form over half the world’s population, but their voices, in all their variety, have been thoroughly obscured by and within the international legal order” (2000: p.1). Feminist excursions into international law have been reproved for criticising the male-centredness of international law while at the same time invoking the international legal order to improve the situation for women (Charlesworth and Chinkin, 2000: p.59). The implication of this is that “feminists forfeit the right to invoke international law if they point out its biases” (Charlesworth and Chinkin, 2000: p.59). Such claims have led to assertions that ‘feminist theories have nothing to add to the study of international law’. However, the development of feminist jurisprudence in recent years has made a “rich and fruitful contribution to legal theory” (Charlesworth, et al., 1991: p.613). This is highlighted by the inadequacies of traditional theories of international law, and the important contribution of feminist ideas both in theory and in practice, such as in the Trafficking Protocol and refugee law. Consequently, feminist theory can be used to “reshape the way women’s lives are understood in an international context, thus altering the boundaries of international law” (Charlesworth and Chinkin, 2000: p.337).


Blunt, A. and Wills, J. (2000) Dissident Geographies: An Introduction to Radical Ideas and Practice, Harlow: Prentice Hall. Charlesworth, H. and Chinkin C. (2000) The Boundaries of International Law: A Feminist Analysis, Manchester: Manchester University Press. Charlesworth, H., Chinkin, C., and Wright, S. (1991) ‘Feminist Approaches to International Law’, American Journal of International Law, 85(4), pp.613-645. Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) (1999) ‘Prostitutes Work, But Do They Consent?’, available at https://www.uriedu/artsci/wms/Hughes/catw Cohn, C., Kinsella, H. and Gibbings, S. (2004) ‘Women, Peace and Security: Resolution 1325’, International Feminist Journal of Politics, 6(1), pp.130-140. Doezema, J. (2002) ‘Who Gets to Choose? Coercion, Consent and the UN Trafficking Protocol’, Gender and Development, 10(1), pp.20-27. Gilligan, C. (1982) In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development, MA: Harvard University Press. Harding, S. (1986) The Science Question in Feminism, Milton Keynes: Open University Press. Hunter-Williams, S. (2009) Feminist theories have nothing to add to the Study of International Law. Available at: Mackinnon, C. (1987) Feminism unmodified, Boston, MA: Harvard University Press. Oswin, N. (2001) ‘Right Spaces’, International Feminist Journal of Politics, 3(3), pp.347-364. Sassen, S. (2002) ‘Women’s Burden: Counter-Geographies of Globalization and the Feminization of Survival’, Nordic Journal of International Law, 71, pp.255-274. Sullivan, B. (2003) ‘Trafficking in Women’, International Feminist Journal of Politics, 5(1), pp.67-91. United Nations (2003) ‘Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime’, available at

Read more

Discerning New Forms of Solidarity that Go Beyond Nation, Religion and Social Class

October 14, 2020 by Essay Writer


  • 1 Discerning New Forms of Solidarity that Go Beyond Nation, Religion and Social Class
    • 1.1 Bibliography

Discerning New Forms of Solidarity that Go Beyond Nation, Religion and Social Class

One thing that is clearly evident is that human beings have consistently developed new forms of solidarity as we have evolved from roaming bands of hunters and gatherers to a digital society with swiftly eroding national borders. Organisations such as Médecins sans Frontières, The Red Cross, and Amnesty international were created as platforms of international solidarity (Baglioni 2001, p. 224).

For these organisations, all that mattered was helping people in need, wherever they were and utilising individual expertise for global benefit (Baglioni 2001, p. 227). Today, the primary basis of solidarity is nationalism—i.e. the recognition of a special duty to one’s own nation, although this notion is eroding in Europe and Asia. Although there are certainly extremists for nationalism, most support for these movements is moderate, and moderate nationalists would say that the individual does have a moral duty to treat others fairly (Wilde 2004, p. 137). Nevertheless, nationalist sentiments preclude global identification as prioritising one’s national group still allows discrimination to flourish. Of course, the next logical step of human solidarity is that of the global level—where through the creation of international bodies, people strive to articulate universal values that are common to all cultures and come together on that basis. The aforementioned organisations do play a role in helping us advance to that point, but there are still many things that need to happen before the cosmopolitan ideal can be put in place. For instance, there needs to be a development of a universal system of ethics, a common language for business, science, and politics, and a change in consciousness from being a citizen of Nation A to citizen of the world. In a sense, this has happened as local movements for equal rights have influenced other people around the world to campaign for their own interests as well. As more organisations and governmental bodies are recognising the inherent worth of the individual, it is reasonable to expect that the development of a broader form of solidarity will emerge. In the scholarship of international relations, an increasing number of writers agree that the ‘old international order’ is insufficient for dealing with the current threats to human survival, such as resource shortages (oil and potable water), increased population growth, and chaotic climate patterns (Wilde 2004, p. 137). Therefore, it is recommended that a form of global governance and stewardship should emerge (Hardt & Negri 2005, p. 161). Now, more than ever, the primacy of the nation-state is in question, especially as new ways of identification continue to be explored. While some lean to embracing a more local identification—with one’s city or cultural group, others believe that identification on the continental or global level would be more relevant (Waterman 2001, p. 200). In the mid-twentieth century, there has been some movement to creating bodies that possess international oversight such as the International Criminal Court to try war crimes, the Geneva Convention, which dictates international provisions for the treatment of prisoners of war, and the United Nations which dictate standards and prohibitions for weapons proliferation and international trade agreement (Tarrow 2011, p. 2). Although this does present a positive advance toward a system that promotes global accountability and global collaboration on certain commercial and environmental issues—there is still a strong tendency to identify nationality before anything else, and in some circles, tribal identity is most important. Social change toward a more global perspective will likely be slow and painful because of the tendency of the ruling class to view all collective action with suspicion—i.e. as a conspiracy or an infection that must be extracted (Melucci 1996, p. 42). One piece of evidence that supports the conclusion of social change as a contagion was the opposition’s past reliance on terrorism or guerilla warfare to achieve particular ends (Clark 2009, p. 1). In 1605, Guy Fawkes and his compatriots sought to blow up Parliament in order to kill the king and restore England to Catholicism. On September 11, nineteen hijackers seized control of four US planes and killed more than 3,000 people in order to force Americans from Muslim lands and decrease support for Israel. In both cases, that led to increased persecution of English Catholics and American Muslims and in the latter case, an even larger American presence in the Middle East. This was especially true of governments where any form of verbal dissent meant exile to a prison colony or execution. As violent reactions often backfire, nonviolent protests may succeed where armed resistance has failed in the past. Even though nonviolent protest was always an option as a tool of social change, it was not until the 1940s that it had been thrust into global consciousness (Tarrow 2011, p. 102). Since the movement for Indian Independence in the 1940s, the concept of the nonviolent protest has gained ground, and the results have been astonishing. To those on the outside, the protestors look like champions of social justice while the government looks repressive for violently putting down the protests rather than simply letting them make a statement. This has worked not only to successfully ensure Indian independence in 1947, but also helped to pass Civil Rights laws in the United States in 1965 and ultimately end the state of apartheid in South Africa (Tarrow 2011, p. 216). The world was moving toward a stance of inclusion and tolerance, stressing an appreciation of all cultures. Thus, governments could no longer maintain a racist status quo without global condemnation, nor could it inflict acts of cruelty on its own citizenry without censure (Tarrow 2011, p. 217). ‘The point here, however, is that global politics will slowly penetrate the domestic agendas and there will be a need for articulation of old and new politics’ (Wilde 2004, p. 150). Several movements from women’s rights to anti-war movements and other independence movements have used nonviolent protests to gain their objectives and the current democratic movements in the Middle East and the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US shows that it continues to be seen as a viable tool. One critique of the global mindset is that it would, on the micro-level lead to increased unhappiness, mental ill health, and distrust of others. This was especially true as the demands of an industrial society had split up neighbourhoods and created a world where people did not automatically know what their ‘place’ was (Spencer & Pahl 2006, p. 10). Yes, there are more options than ever as people are more free to emigrate to whichever nation would suit them best, but the discontent would more likely be attributed to the consumer-capitalist ideal of defining the individual by the sum of their purchases. This mindset has also been exported around the globe, which makes it difficult to form communities along anything other than product lines. Yet Spencer and Pahl are optimistic that the old communities can be re-established through the virtual communities of the Internet. While the old cities and towns were grouped around people performing a particular occupation, today, a teacher can go online and correspond with other teachers to discuss the challenges of moulding young minds. A doctor could contact other doctors to learn about treatment modalities they have not tried yet. Only in this case, the community of like-minded people is global rather than local in nature. ‘First, while rightly crediting communities for developing our sense of right and wrong, a universal moral sense, it overturns the universality of the moral sense by asserting the priority of a particular communal obligation’ (Wilde 2004, p. 137). One defining characteristic of the modern Western state is that it is rich in racial, religious, and cultural diversity. Another is that many of these states are relatively peaceful in spite of this heterogeneity. Part of the reason for this is that states have begun to protect the rights of those historically considered to be an Other based on race, religion or gender. One critique of the liberal policies of cooperation is that it encourages people to think of themselves first as members of religious or ethnic groups rather than members of a society. According to Touraine & Macey (2000): ‘What the liberal conception lacks is a principle of unity that can facilitate communication between different actors. This is why we see so many individuals fleeing into communities, which ensure a high level of communication but also enforce a homogeneity that is potentially intolerant and authoritarian’ (p. 137). One way to avoid this kind of self-segregation is to ensure that society recognises and appreciates the contributions of all member cultures and teaches a mutual valuing of cultures within its educational system (Mason 2000, p. 149). If the dominant society insists that only its own contributions are relevant, minorities would not feel as though they belong to that nation and would continue to behave as strangers in a strange land. If the dominant society is not prepared to acknowledge the needs and interests of minorities, then change often comes slowly through local action. Even though movements such as the one for African American Civil Rights and the one to expel the Chinese from Tibet started out on a local level, they would eventually be able to exert influence on an international level (Pleyers 2011, p. 41). Another example of this is the women’s movements. Starting primarily in Western nations, the quest for the rights of women had taken on global significance when taken to nations that had allowed women little to no agency over their lives (e.g. Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan). While there was some success in the sense that women around the world were able to gain increased agency over their lives, they still remain entrenched in inequalities (Lyons 2010, p. 101). Although Eric Fromm wrote with the intention of recognising the tenets of authoritarian regimes and analysing the tendency to get caught up in mass movements, he was pessimistic in the human capacity to establish a global society of peace and love because even as they adopt new ways of thought, the social structures still support the old ways. In this, he uses the example of the European conversion to Christianity. While the old pagan myths showed a strong male protagonist conquering adversaries, Christianity advocates turning the other cheek and practicing love for one’s neighbour. However, the history of Europe for the past five hundred years has been steeped in war, conquest, and greed. As Fromm (2007) says: “European-North American history, in spite of the conversion to the church, is a history of conquest, pride, greed; our highest values are: to be stronger than others, to be victorious, to conquer others and exploit them” (p. 116). This shows that even though a society may choose to embrace certain values, there is a problem of human nature and its slowness to align with their philosophical ideals. However, adaptation does take place because even though racism and sexism are still problematic, the Western world is significantly less sexist and racist than it was one hundred years ago. Progress is slow, but it is inevitable. Global solidarity is possible, but it would be a long time in coming. Curiously, the national socialist movements that were quite prominent in the twentieth century had drawn society together with the premise that they faced a common enemy in the existing social structure (Wallerstein 2002). For some nations, it involved becoming independent of a colonial ruler—for others, it was a war of the working class (proletarians) with the middle classes and aristocracy (the bourgeoisie). Usually, the existing structure only served the interests of a very small, wealthy minority and those in charge of the movements sought to create a society where almost every citizen stood to benefit. State governments, such as the People’s Republic of China and Soviet Russia had taken the position that religion was to blame for widespread inequity and rendered the practice of any faith illegal, even though it provided a sense of community among groups of people. In any case, Wallerstein described the socialist movement in two steps: the revolutionary phase, where the existing government would be overthrown and the transformation phase, where the former revolutionaries are now members of the legitimate government. Wallerstein (2002) argued that this two-part movement was problematic because the government would now have to contend with the fact that they are members of a wider international community whose requirements may get in the way of a particular agenda. On the left, there was also the problem of balancing the interests of women and minorities, as movement leaders have often promised that they would be solved ‘after the revolution.’ Working to restore most inequities may be a viable first step for socialist revolutions, but the needs of each supporting group need to be considered. In summation, there is evidence that we are heading toward an expanding view of solidarity. While some European nations were caught in the grasp of nationalism during and after World War II, in 1958, six states established what would become the European Union—which would create a larger economic community and dismantle obstacles to travelling between member states. While member states have more autonomy than members of a federation (e.g. the US) with respect to the maintenance of the military or foreign policy, all member states must agree to support a democratic free market and the rule of law. Considering the sheer diversity of language, religion and culture, this was a remarkable achievement. This was what Honneth (1996) had in mind when he said that genuine solidarity was created not out of passive tolerance for one another, but with active concern for each citizen on to a degree, which encourages them to contribute their gifts and talents to abstract societal goals (p. 129). This does not mean that people should have a symmetrical level of esteem on a personal level, but instead cultivate a desire for people to develop their best positive attributes, even if it seems foreign. Yes, progress has indeed been made but the global community still has a long way to go before it reaches the point where the vast majority of people consider themselves to be citizens of the world rather than a member of a certain nation or race. According to Wilde (2004): ‘there needs to be a “more heroic” version of universalism that attaches no intrinsic significance to national boundaries… Cosmopolitanism [should be] the “ideal of the future”, which could not yet be realised because of the strength of national sentiments was too great’ (p. 138). Given the level of existential issues such as food and water shortages in a time of unchecked population growth, humanity can only travel one of two paths: global warfare or cooperative management of resources. Since humanity now has the capability to destroy itself, cooperation and global citizenship is the only realistic solution to these problems, otherwise the scope of felt solidarity would once more degenerate to the level of nation, race, religion, or social class. Perhaps Fromm is right in that while human beings can adapt to the reality of a new situation, the fundamentals of human nature can never change enough to ensure the development of a peaceful global society.


Baglioni, S. (2001) ‘Solidarity Movement Organizations: Towards an Active Global Consciousness’ in M. Guigni and F. Passy (eds) Political Altruism: Solidarity Movements in International Perspective, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Clark, H. (ed.) (2009) People Power: Unarmed Resistance and Global Solidarity, London: Pluto Press Fromm, E. (2007) To Have or to Be?, New York: Continuum Publishing Group Hardt, M. & Negri, A. (2005) Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire, New York/London: Penguin Honneth, A. (1996) The Struggle for Recognition: The Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts, Cambridge: Polity Press Lyons, L. (2010) ‘Framing Transnational Feminism: Examining Migrant Worker Organizing in Singapore.’ In Dufour, P., Masson, D. and Cauette, D., eds. Solidarities Beyond Borders: Transnational Women’s Movements. British Columbia: UBC Press Mason, A. (2000) Community, Solidarity and Belonging, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Melucci, A. (1996) Challenging Codes: Collective Action in the Information Age, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Pleyers, G. (2011) Alter-Globalization: Becoming Actors in the Global Age, Cambridge: Polity Press Spencer, L. & Pahl, R.E. (2006) Rethinking Friendship: Hidden Solidarities Today, Princeton: Princeton University Press Tarrow, S.G. (2011) Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Touraine, A. & Macey, D. (2000) Can We Live Together? Equality and Difference, Stanford: Stanford University Press Wallerstein, I. (2002) “New Revolts Against the System” in New Left Review, Vol. 18 (available electronically) Waterman, P. (2001) Globalization, Social Movements and the New Internationalisms, New York: Continuum Group Wilde, L. (2004) Erich Fromm and the Quest For Solidarity, New York: Palgrave Macmillan

Read more

Characteristics of Developing Countries

October 14, 2020 by Essay Writer

The theme of this essay is: the importance of a study of other semi-developed countries as they struggle for economic growth, the elimination of mass poverty and, at the political level, for democratisation and the reduction of reliance on coercion. New countries are finding their voices in all sorts of ways and are managing to interest an international audience.

South Africa is not least among them; contemporary international consciousness of the travail of our particular path towards modernity testifies at least to a considerable national talent for dramatic communication and (for those who care to look more deeply) a far from extinct tradition of moral conscientiousness. One aspect of this flowering is a rapidly growing crop of social scientific studies of semi-developed countries of which this university is fortunate to have a substantial collection, contained mainly in the library of Jan Smuts House.

From this literature, one can extract five themes of particular interest. The first is the problem of uneven development and effective national unification, especially in deeply divided societies. Capitalist development has impinged on semi-developed countries from outside rather than transforming slowly from within, incorporating different groups in different ways. Particular problems arise when differential incorporation coincides in substantial measure with boundaries between ethnic groups.

If Donald Horowitz’s remarkable study of ethnic groups in conflict is right, more energy goes into attempting to maximise differences in the welfare of in groups and out groups than into maximising their joint welfare, with adverse consequences for the possibilities of building the national political and economic institutions required for development. Gordon Tullock has argued that this is an additional reason for preferring market-based rather than state-led economic growth in deeply divided societies. In itself it is, but the secondary effects of different paths on distribution have to be taken into account.

In so far as they lead to worsening differentials between groups, the possibility of heightened conflict is created. The only long-term hope is to make ethnic boundaries less salient; the happiest outcome would seem to be when ethnicity becomes decorative in a high income economic environment. This is likely to be the work of decades, perhaps of centuries; even so, appalling retrogressions always seem to remain possible. The consequence of deep divisions is that there is likely to exist an unusually large number of prisoner’s dilemma situations. The prisoner’s dilemma arises when partners in crime are apprehended and held separately. The prisoners will be jointly better off if they do not inform on each other, but each prisoner will be better off if he informs on the other, while the other does not inform on him. Attempts at individual maximisation may lead to both prisoners informing on each other which leads to the worst joint outcome. The dilemma arises because of the absence of the opportunity for co-operation. ) Under such conditions, negotiation skills are at a premium.

There are also advantages in the acceptance of a deontological liberal philosophy which (in the shorthand of political philosophers) places the right over the good. This involves seeking to regulate social relations by just procedures while leaving individuals as free as possible to pursue their own, diverse conceptions of the good life. Such an enterprise has a better chance of success if its conception of justice implies that attention should be paid simultaneously to the reduction of poverty. The analytical Marxist, Adam Przeworski has analysed analogous problems which arise in the case of severe class conflict.

In his view, social democratic compromises are held together by virtue of the propensity of capitalists to reinvest part of their profits with the effect of increasing worker incomes in the future. Class compromise is made possible by two simultaneous expectations: workers expect that their incomes will rise over time, while capitalists expect to be able to devote some of their profits to consumption. In conditions of severe class conflict, these expectations about the future become uncertain, time horizons shorten, workers become militant, capitalists disinvest and political instability results.

Three forms of resolution are available: stabilising external intervention, negotiation or renegotiation of a social contract or the strengthening of the position of one or other class by a shift towards conservatism or revolution. Przeworski’s sternest warnings are to Marxists who assume that revolution and the introduction of socialism is the inevitable outcome of a crisis. The second theme in the literature on semi-developed countries has to do with their position within the world economy. Three related sub-themes can be identified.

Firstly, there has been a debate about the forms and limits of the diffusion of industrialisation. Dependency theory – now somewhat out of fashion, since its predictions of severe limitations on industrialisation in developing countries have been falsified – asserted that relationships between developing and developed countries are such as to keep the latter in perpetual economic subordination. The contrary thesis – that advanced industrial countries have had to deal with increased competition arising from quite widespread diffusion – now seems more plausible.

Lester Thurow, for instance, has argued that the increase in inequality in the United States since the late 1970s is not to be attributed either to the Reagan administration’s tax welfare policies nor to demographic change, but to intense international competitive pressures coupled with high unemployment. Secondly, some theorists have asserted that a process of the “globalisation of capital” unprecedented opportunities for international movement of short-term and long-term capital – has removed the possibilities of national reformism (i. e. lass compromise reached at the level of the nation state) and is ushering in a period of global class conflict. If there is any truth in this hypothesis at all, it would have to be qualified both by a careful study of precisely how the capital (and trade) flows of the 1980s differed from those of earlier periods and the sorts of changes in national policy choices capable of delivering a broadly-based rise in living standards which follow from these differences. Even if some options may have disappeared, it does not follow that new ones are not available.

Finally, there has been a preoccupation with the problems of structural adjustment (in both developed and developing economies) necessitated by a changing international environment. Structural adjustment is a subject for both economic and political analysis. At the economic level the issues of maintaining macroeconomic balance, changing industrial and manpower policy and protecting the poor against a period of deflation which is – or seems to be – necessary in many cases, all have to be considered. Political problems arise when it comes to the distribution of the burdens of adjustment and the creation of new capacities for development.

Lack of ability to handle structural adjustment problems can lead to a variety of outcomes, from the shifting of a large part of the burden of change to future generations (as both the United States and Brazil have done in recent years), to loss of control at the macroeconomic level leading to rapid drops in living standards, hyperinflation and/or defaults on international obligations, political instability and even regime change. Identification and study of the capacities available to avoid undesirable outcomes are of considerable interest.

The third theme in the semi-developed country literature is that of the relationship between economic inequality and political conflict. Characteristically, semi-developed countries have more unequal distributions of income between households than developed countries. It used to be thought that inequality peaked at the intermediate stage of development, partly because of limitations of the spread of education (and therefore of human capital) and partly because low-paying sectors continued to account for a substantial proportion of employment.

Recent evidence has thrown doubt on the view that inequality necessarily increases during the early stages of development; it is much clearer that it tends to decrease during the later stages. The relationship between economic inequality and political conflict is also complex: studies of cross-national correlations between indicators of the two phenomena have led to unclear, even contradictory results. One reasonably robust result is that revolutions at a relatively early stage of development have much to do with inequality in land holdings. But coherent fmdings in semi-developed countries are virtually non-existent.

Part of the reason for this is mindless number-crunching with insufficient attention paid to the theoretical tradition dealing with conflict and revolution. There is probably quite a lot to be said, for instance, for the Hobbesian view that the proximate cause of violent conflict is itself political in the form of the weakening of the power of the state. Economic factors may also matter, but among these, income distribution may be relatively unimportant and improvements may play as significant a role as deterioration. Rational actor models of regime change have recently appeared in the political science literature.

John Roemer, for instance, conceives of revolution as a two person game between the present ruler (whom he calls the Tsar) and a revolutionary entrepreneur, whose name is Lenin. In his attempt to ovethrow the Tsar, Lenin can propose redistribution of the fixed pie of income. The Tsar can announce a list of penalties which define what each agent who chooses to join Lenin will forfeit, should the revolution fail. Each possible coalition of the population has a probability of succeeding in making the revolution, depending on its size and composition.

Lenin chooses the income redistribution which maximises the probability of overthrowing the Tsar and the Tsar in turn chooses the list of penalties which minimises this maximum value. The solution to this minimax game defines the instability of the regime, i. e. the probability tht it will be overthrown. From game theoretical results, Roemer is able to draw conclusions about the strategies of the players according with experience. For instance, the Tsar will treat the poor harshly and let off the rich lightly if the conditional probabilities of revolution by coalitions are the least bit sensitive to the penalties announced.

Lenin, on the other hand, will only propose a progressive redistribution of income as his optimal strategy under some circumstances. Highly probable revolutions are highly polarised revolutions. Lurking in this literature is also the issue of whether a coherent distinction can be made between revolutions and other forms of regime change, but exploration of that issue would require a lecture of its own. The fourth theme in the semi-developed country literature concerns the bearers of the capacities for economic development. In no society are these likely to be located wholly within the state or within the private sector.

Instead, rather complicated networks able to mount major initiatives may straddle both the public and private sectors. In some semi-developed countries described as “bureaucratic authoritarian”, it may even be the case that some parts of the state continue to act with leading components of the private sector to manage economic development, while other parts of the state induce periodic crises by losing macro-economic control. Two debates in political science are relevant here. The first concerns the nature and functions of civil society.

In its classical use by Adam Smith and Hegel, civil society refers to a social system sufficiently productively advanced and regulated by morality and law to be able to support both the division of labour and the institution of private property. Hegel throws in the police and the civil service as regulators of last resort for good measure. The term “civil society” has been taken up in recent South African debate, sometimes in a rather quaint fashion – one contributor to a recent seminar defined it as consisting of the trade unions, civics, the SA Council of Churches and the Kagiso Trust!

Marxists have criticised liberals for representing the interests of a part as the good of the whole; liberals, it seems, are not the only people capable of making that mistake. A more interesting redefinition of the term has been proposed by Michael Lipton who reserves for it institutions forming neither part of the state nor part of the market, but whose influence may make both state and market function more efficiently. The original definitions are probably the most useful; in terms of them, the strengthening of civil society is indeed a prerequisite for development.

It amounts to developing new specialisations, to building institutions with new capacities and to creating the attitudes and legal framework necessary to support these endeavours. Much of the time, these changes will evolve from existing resources and capacities. But there are also periods of rapid and discontinuous change in which the positions of major groups within societies are fundamentally changed. This amounts to a social and economic revolution, which may or may not be accompanied by a political revolution.

At the analytical level, the classical Marxist conflation of the social, economic and political processes is a serious distortion. At the political level, versions of the Marxist formulation have been used to represent the most grinding political oppression as inaugurating social and economic emancipation. The second political debate is about corporatism. This refers to a situation in which powerful organised interests play a major role in political life as opposed to individuals organised into political parties in a liberal democratic system.

Indeed, to the liberal ear, the term “corporatism” has an authoritarian sound about it. Powerful organised interests, of course, exist in liberal democracies but these function as interest groups with no formal political status. Corporatism emerges when political institutions are shaped to include them. An important distinction needs to be drawn between democratic corporatism where these arrangements are subject to choices made by the electorate in regular elections and authoritarian corporatism where they are not.

Fascist Italy and some Latin American countries provide examples of the latter and the European democracies examples of the former. The mildest form of corporatism is probably tripartite institutions comprised of trade unions, employer organisations and state departments. These participate in the determination of macroeconomic and/or labour market policy in advanced industrial countries, the whole process being described as that of a “social contract”.

Democratic corporatism is subject to changes depending on changes of opinion within the electorate; particular forms put together by left of centre governments are often modified or dissolved by succeeding conservative governments. Authoritarian corporatism, on the other hand, produces an oligarchical system based on deals between elites which sometimes deliver stability and economic growth, quite possibly for long periods of time, but which are not subject to popular approval. Indeed, they are characteristically accompanied by a substantial degree of repression.

In this way they contain divergences of interest which would rip liberal democracies apart. Even in democracies, corporatist arrangements display a degree of inertia; it appears from the recent literature that the welfare state has been more resistant to conservative dismantling in European countries in which corporatist arrangements have been well developed. They also deliver control; it has also been suggested that corporatist structures (as well as a highly competitive configuration) in the labour market result in lower real wages than collective bargaining between employers and industry-wide trade unions.

Democratic systems in which linguistic, religious and ethnic identities perform the function of corporations are referred to as consociational and have some of the same authoritarian logic as corporatist systems. The final theme of interest in the literature on semi-developed countries is that of the transition from authoritarian to democratic rule, the subject of a major scholarly enterprise directed from the Woodrow Wilson International Centre at Princeton University about a decade ago.

Alfred Stepan pointed out that there are a number of distinctive paths leading to democratiastion: in some, warfare and conquest play an integral part, as in Europe after the Second World War. Here, three sub-cases can be distinguished: internal restoration of democracy after external conquest, redemocratisation after a conqueror has been defeated by external force, and externally monitored installation of democracy. In others, the termination of authoritarian regimes is initiated by the wielders of authoritarian power themselves.

In yet others, oppositional forces play a major role in terminating authoritarian rule via diffuse protests by grass-roots organisations, general strikes and general withdrawal of support for the government, by the formation of a grand oppositional pact, possibly with consociational features, by organised violent revolt co-ordinated by democratic reformist parties or by Marxist-led revolutionary war (though the latter has usually led to the installation of an authoritarian successor regime).

These are all ideal types with rather different dynamics; any actual process is likely to contain elements of more than oue ideal type. In a companion piece, John Sheahan observes that economic policy in support of democratisation must meet two conflicting requirements. On the one hand, economic growth requires the ability to limit claims which would seriously damage efficiency or outrun productive capacity. On the other, policy must deliver sufficient fulfilment of the expectations of politically aware groups to gain and hold their acceptance.

Both external economic circumstances and internal political conflicts are capable of rendering impossible the striking of a viable balance between these requirements, with the result that the process of democratisation aborts. The position is complicated in countries which have a long history of import substitution resulting in high levels of protection but which now need to re-orient themselves in order to promote exports. In such cases, the timing of structural adjustment and increases in domestic demand pose tricky problems of economic management.

The overall objective must be to permit the most rapid and broadly based rise in domestic demand while maintaining external balance, subject to the constraints arising from the structure of the domestic labour market. Part of successful management must involve the greatest possible exploitation of new willingness to co-operate induced by the democratisation process itself. Adroit proposals are needed which reduce initially high risks and increase incentives to support economic growth among the principal parties at each stage in the process. Some reconceptualisation of interests is essential.

Intelligent international support allowing constraints to be relaxed at crucial junctures is also of considerable importance. It is sometimes supposed that the transformation of an authoritarian regime into a democracy is a fragile process, for the success of which a range of necessary conditions has to be present. In particular, it is argued both that a democracy has small chance of survival if it does not deliver social and economic improvements for the population at large and that democracies are unable to administer the economic medicine required by crisis conditions.

A recent study of Latin American countries since 1982, however, finds that democracies not only handled economic crises as effectively as authoritarian regimes; they also achieved a far better record of avoiding acute crises in the first place. The puzzle turns out not to be the fragility of democracy, but its vitality. The suggestion is that both the behaviour of political elites and their followers has been misdescribed. On the one hand, democratic governments that displace highly repressive or widely discredited authoritarian regimes may count on a special reserve of political support and trust to carry them through economic crises.

On the other, elected officials may understand the self-defeating nature of enhancing their legitimacy by delivering material payoffs to the bulk of the population, even at the cost of financial disaster. So far, this lecture has not been about South Africa, but has been concerned to identify intellectual resources which might be used when thinking about South African problems. Time permits only a sketchy application of some ideas to our present circumstances. Let me start from the economic side.

One of the more encouraging features of our economic evolution in the last few years is that, although real per capita incomes have declined, the evidence suggests that the distribution of income has improved to such an extent that the proportion of households in poverty did not increase in the years between 1985 and 1990 and probably declined slightly despite a drop in real per capita incomes. The burden of the decline has been borne by the relatively well-to-do if not by the very rich. This trend is unlikely to be sustained in the face of further economic decline.

On the contrary, the prospects for the poor will be served by rapid economic growth; far from there being a conflict between growth and equality in South Africa, the two processes will reinforce each other, especially given appropriate policies. In the light of the importance of a widespread improvement in standards of living to the sustenance of the process of democratisation, it is in the interests of all parties who desire a negotiated settlement to support developments which increase growth. But where is this growth to come from?

All the contemporary evidence suggests that the balance of payments is critical. It is possible to argue in theoretical terms that there ought to be no such thing as a balance of payments constraint. But there is no policy purchase to be had from a static comparison between our present situation and a superior one. A path from the one state to the other has to be specified. There are two difficulties in doing so. Firstly, the path to a better state depends on what other countries are doing. Prisoner’s dilemmas certainly exist at the level of international trade as the very existence of the GATT system testifies.

Secondly, since the process has to be supported politically, the distribution of the costs of adjustment borne by domestic actors has to be taken into account. Either the costs have to be imposed unilaterally by the exercise of political power or compensation has to be negotiated, assuming sufficient gains from liberalisation have been captured domestically. Studies of interest group battles over the determination of the various aspects of balance of payments policy is certainly a topic in political economy.

Another major determinant of macroeconomic policy in recent years is the desire of the state not to make itself vulnerable to international sources of political pressure through loss of control over external balances. This would have meant risking the loss of control over the timing and extent of concessions. Monetary policy, for instance, has been mainly discussed in terms of domestic variables, notably the rate of inflation. But avoidance of adverse developments on the short-term capital account must always have been a major consideration.

Here, analysis of domestic interest groups does not help at all; it will take favourable developments on international markets or purposeful risk reduction to permit a more expansionary policy. The second issue involves efficiency gains from improved taxation and expenditure policy. So far, a discussion of the economic role of the state has largely consisted of old-fashioned arguments over size and ownership, which have been driven by (often imaginary) conceptions of political interest.

But a determined effort to raise popular living standards will require quite a different approach. Its principal component will be a restructuring of government expenditure, particularly that relating to social services, urban infrastructure and rural development in order to create new opportunities for formerly discriminated against or excluded groups. As Professor McGrath has observed, there are more gains to be had from restructuring the expenditure side of government economic activity than from changes on the revenue side.

There are both normative and positive approaches to this question. The positive approach would observe that the restructuring of state expenditure is already under way and would seek to relate it to two developments, significant from the point of view of public choice theory: first, the lowering of the income of the median voter associated with the introduction of the tricameral parliament and secondly, the rise in power of the extraparliamentary movement.

The latter has led to a growing expectation of its political incorporation via the universal franchise leading to an anticipatory set of adjustments. A normative approach could be based on an investigation of what is required to minimise an appropriate measure of poverty. At the political level, an advance in the positive account of what our political system is becoming is most urgently needed. Accounts of competing normative positions and the similarities and differences between them abound.

So do narrative accounts of particular political episodes. But a deeper analysis of fundamental concepts – power in its various aspects, the nature and dynamics of transition, the incentives facing various actors and their strategic choices, the real scope and prospects for legality and, above all, whether steering capacities are being lost or gained by the political system – virtually all remain to be carried out in a convincing fashion.

On the quality of the terms on which the new public order is created will depend the efficacy with which the private sector can function and evolve. For this reason and because it requires rather more than animal spirits, it is the quality of what goes on in the public sector that is the test of the degree of civilisation achieved in any society. History may be servitude, history may be freedom. Liberalism is nothing if not the defence of freedom. The South African liberal tradition has two components, borne by two rather different social groups.

Business liberalism presents a robust, generally optimistic face (though subject to a degree of affective disorder during the recessionary phases of the business cycle); all things considered, it has done quite well during the past decade, playing a considerable role in the dismantling of coercive political structures. But business liberalism represents only a part – essentially the material progress part – of a rich tradition. It has been left to an always fragile – and now almost extinct – missionary and philanthropic liberal tradition to try and interpret its cultural aspects.

The clearest defences of this part of the liberal tradition in South Africa have been the most poignant contrasts of visions of freedom with the imposition of new forms of servitude – a missionary bishop denouncing colonialism in its most brutal, shortsighted form, a professor of philosophy foreseeing with harsh clarity the consequences of the political rise of Afrikaner nationalism. Against the intolerant, coercive forces in our midst, liberalism would do well to take its stand on the two central concepts of Immanuel Kant’s moral philosophy: individual autonomy and universalisation.

Unshackling individual fates from state-imposed racial identities is a great step forward to the achievement of individual autonomy. But the liberal programme will not be realised if social structure continues to dominate individual capacities in determining what people may become. The creation of an open political system and attending to poverty are both central. There are many who claim that the denial of the former is an essential requirement for achieving the latter. Neither international experience nor a close reading of our domestic circumstances support such a view.

Universality – equality of respect – is always and everywhere a greater problem, since, unlike autonomy, it is not an interest but an acknowledgement of the interests of others. Great cultural heterogeneity makes it even harder to achieve; in South Africa, moreover, the destructive logic of ethnic conflict (which militates against the habit of counting “each person as one”) has not yet come to an end. There are many fields of action, many forms of life; the prospects for liberalism now depend on people coming to see attachment to their own fields of action in a broad enough perspective not only to tolerate others, but to enjoy them.

Read more

What New World Order

October 14, 2020 by Essay Writer

Joseph S. Nye^ Jr. WHAT NEW WORLD ORDER? he 1991 Persian Gulf War was, according to President Bush, about “more than one small country; it is a big idea; a ^ h new world order,” with “new ways of working with other nations . . . peaceful settlement of disputes, solidarity against aggression, reduced and controlled arsenals and just treatment of all peoples. ” Not long after the war, however, the flow of White House words about a new world order slowed to a trickle. Like Woodrow Wilson’s fourteen points or Franklin Roosevelt’s four freedoms, George Bush’s grand rhetoric expressed the larger goals important for public support when a liberal democratic state goes to war. But after the war, when reality intruded, grand schemes turned into a liability. People were led to compare the war’s imperfect outcome with an impossible ideal. The proper standard for judgment should have been what the world would look like if Saddam Hussein had been left in possession of Kuwait. The victory lost its lustre because of an unfair comparison that the president inadvertently encouraged, and recession shifted the political agenda to the domestic economy. The White House thus decided to lower the rhetorical volume. U The administration faces a deeper problem than mere political tactics. The world has changed more rapidly in the past two years than at any time since 1945. It is difficult to keep one’s conceptual footing within such fundamental shifts in politics. Familiar concepts fail to fit a new reality. It is worth recalling that it took Americans several years to adjust to the last great shift in the late 1940s. But the Bush administration, famous for eschewing “the vision thing,” added to the confusion because it had never really thought through what it meant by the concept it launched. Neither the administration nor its Joseph S. Nye, Jr. , is Director of the Harvard Center for International Aiiairs and author of Bound To Lead: The Changing Nature oj American Power. T 84 FOREIGN AFFAIRS critics were clear about the fact that the term “world order” is used in two very different ways in discussions of world politics. Realists, in the tradition of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, see international politics occurring among sovereign states balancing each others’ power. World order is the product of a stable distribution of power among the major states. Liberals, in the tradition of Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter, look at relations among peoples as well as states. They see order arising from broad values like democracy and human rights, as well as from international law and institutions such as the United Nations. The problem for the Bush administration was that it thought and acted like Nixon, but borrowed the rhetoric of Wilson and Carter. Both aspects of order are relevant to the current world situation, but the administration has not sorted out the relation between them. From the realist perspective there is definitely a new world order, but it did not begin with the Gulf War. Since order has little to do with justice, but a lot to do with the distribution of power among states, realists date the new world order from the collapse of the Soviet empire in eastern Europe in the autumn of 1989. The rapid decline of the Soviet Union caused the end of the old bipolar order that had persisted for nearly half a century. The old world order provided a stability of sorts. The Cold War exacerbated a number of Third World conflicts, but economic conflicts among the United States, Europe and Japan were dampened by common concerns about the Soviet military threat. Bitter ethnic divisions were kept under a tight lid by the Soviet presence in eastern Europe. A number of Third World conflicts were averted or shortened when the superpowers feared that their clients might drag them too close to the nuclear abyss. The various Arab-Israeli wars, for example, were brief. In fact some experts believe that a stronger Soviet Union would never have allowed its Iraqi client to invade Kuwait. If so Kuwait can be counted as the victim rather than the cause of the new world order. Some analysts see the collapse of the Cold War as the victory of liberal capitalism and the end of the large ideological cleavages that drove the great international conflicts of this century. There is no single competitor to liberal capitahsm as an overarching ideology. Rather than the end of history, the post-Cold War world is witnessing a return of history in the WHAT NEW WORLD ORDER? 85 diversity of sources of international conflict. Liberal capitalism has many competitors, albeit fragmented ones. Examples include the indigenous neo-Maoism of Peru’s Shining Path guerrilla movement, the many variants of Islamic fundamentahsm and the rise of ethnic nationalism. 7’his does not mean that the new world politics will be “back to the future. “‘ There is an enormous difference between the democratically tamed and institutionally harnessed nationalisms of western Europe and the revival in eastern Europe of untamed nationalisms whose ancient animosities were never resolved in the institutional structure of state communism and the Soviet empire. Moreover national boundaries will be more permeable than in the past. Nationalism and transnationalism will be contending forces in the new world politics. Large transnational corporations distribute economic production according to global strategies. 7 ransnational technological changes in communications and transportation are making the world smaller. Diplomacy occurs in real time; both George Bush and Saddam Hussein watched Cable News Network for the latest reports. Human rights violations and mass suffering in distant parts of the globe are brought home by television. Although Marshall McLuhan argued that modern communicaEions would produce a “global village,” his metaphor was misleading because a global political identity remains feeble. In fact nationalism is becoming stronger in most of the world, not weaker. Instead of one global village there are villages around the globe more aware of each otber. That, in turn, increases the opportunities for conflict. Not all transnational forces are benign any more than all nationalisms are malign, ‘f ransnational drug trade, terrorism, the spread of AIDS and global warming are cases in point. With time, technology spreads across borders, and the technologies of weapons of mass destruction are now more than a half century old. The collapse of the Soviet Union removes two of the factors that slowed the spread of nuclear weapons in the old world order: tight Soviet technological controls and influence over its client states. The United States cannot escape from these transnational problems, and few of them are susceptible to unilateral solutions. Like other countries in the ‘See John Mearsheinier, “Baek tu the Future: Instability in Europe . After the Cnld War. ” Intemalional Senirily, Summer 1990. 86 FOREIGN AFFAIRS new world order, the United States will be caught in the dialogue between the national and the transnational. in The United States will need power to influence others in regard to both transnational and traditional concerns. If the old world order has collapsed, what will be the new distribution of power? Over the past few years of dramatic change, different observers have claimed to discern five alternatives. Return to bipolarily. Before the failure of the August coup and the final collapse of the Soviet Union, some argued that a newly repressive Soviet or Russian regime would create a harsh international climate and a return to the Cold War. But even if the coup had succeeded, it would not have restored bipolarity. The decline of the Soviet Union stemtned in large part from overcentralization. Stalin’s system was unable to cope with the Third Industrial Revolution, in which flexible use of information is the key to successful economic growth. The return of the centralizers tnight have created a nasty international climate, but rather than restoring Soviet strength, recentralization would have continued the long-term decline of the Soviet economy. The same would be true for a centralizing Russian dictatorship. MulttpolarUy. This is a popular cliche that drips easily from the pens of editorialists, but if used to imply an historical analogy with the nineteenth century it is highly misleading, for the old order rested on a balance of five roughly equal great powers while today’s great powers are far from equally balanced. Russia will continue to suffer from economic weakness, and its reform is a question of decades, not years. China is a developing country and, despite favorable growth, will remain so well into the next century. Europe is the equal of the United States in population, economy atid human resources. Even after the December 1991 summit at Maastricht, however, Europe lacks the political unity necessary to act as a single global power. Japan is well endowed with economic and technological strength, but its portfolio of power resources is limited in the hard military area as well as in the cultural and ideological appeal that provides soft power. Japan would have to make major changes in its attitudes toward military power as well as / WHA r NEW WORLD ORDER? 87 in its ethnocentricity before it would be a challenger on the scale of the United States. Three economic blocs. Those who devalue military power argue that Europe and Japan will be superpowers in a world of restrictive economic blocs. An Asian bloc will form around the yen, a western hemisphere bloc around the dollar and a European bloc (including remnants of the former Soviet Union) will cluster around the European Currency Unit (according to optimists) or the deutsche mark (in the view of pessimists). Others foresee a European versus a Pacific bloc. ‘”^ There are three problems with this vision. First, it runs counter to the thrust of global technological trends. While regional trade will certainly grow, many firms would not want to be limited to one-third of the global market and would resist restrictive regionalism. Second, restrictive regional blocs run against nationalistic concerns of some of the lesser states that need a global system to protect themselves against domination by their large neighbors. Japan’s Asian neighbors do not want to be locked up in a yen bloc with Japan. There will continue to be a constituency for a broader international trade system. Most important, however, this vision is too dismissive of security concerns. With large nuclear neighbors in turmoil, both Europe and Japan want to keep their American insurance policies against uncertainty. The second Russian revolution is still in its early years, and China faces a generational transition. It is difficult to imagine the United States continuing its security guarantees in the context of trade wars. The end of the Cold War was not marked by European and Japanese calls for withdrawal of American troops. European and Japanese security concerns are likely to set limits on how restrictive the economic blocs become. Unipolar hegemony. According to Charles Krauthammer, the Gulf War marked the beginning of a Pax Americana in which the world will acquiesce in a benign American hegemony. ‘^ The premise is correct that the collapse of the Soviet Union left the world with only one superpower, but the hegemonic conclusion does not follow. Eor one thing the world economy is tripolar and has been since the 1970s. Europe, Japan and the -Jacques Attali, Lignes d’Horizon. Paris: Foyard, 1990. •’Charles Krauthammer, “”Fhe Unipolar Moment,” in Ri’lhitikiii}; . ‘imciiani . SVriovVi; Bf^oiid Cold War lo Nnv World Order, Graham I. Allison and Ciregory F. “i reverton, eds.. New York: Norton, 1992. 88 FOREIGN AFFAIRS United States account for two-thirds of the world’s product. In economics, at least, the United States cannot exercise hegemony. Hegemony is also unlikely because of the diffusion of power through transnational interdependence. To cite a few examples: private actors in global capital markets constrain the way interest rates can be used to manage the American economy; the transnational spread of technology increases the destructive capacities of otherwise poor and weak states; and a number of issues on the international agenda—drug trade, AIDS, migration, global warming—have deep societal roots in more than one country and flow across borders largely outside of governmental control. Since military means are not very effective in coping with such problems, no great power, the United States included, will be able to solve them alone. Multilevel interdependence. No single hierarchy describes adequately a world politics with multiple structures. The distribution of power in world politics has become like a layer cake. I he top military layer is largely unipolar, for there is no other military power comparable to the United States. The economic middle layer is tripolar and has been for two decades. The bottom layer of transnational interdependence shows a diffusion of power. None of this complexity would matter if military power were as fungible as money and could determine the outcomes in all areas. In describing Europe before 1914, the British historian A. J. P. Taylor wrote that the test of a great power was the ability to prevail in war. But military prowess is a poor predictor of the outcomes in the economic and transnational layers of current world politics. The United States is better placed with a more diversified portfolio of power resources than any other country, but the new world order will not be an era of American hegemony. We must be wary of the prison of old concepts. The world order after the Cold War is sui generis, and we overly constrain our understanding by trying to force it into the rocrustean bed of traditional metaphors with their mechanical polarities. Power is becoming more multidimensional, structures more complex and states themselves more permeable. This added complexity means that world order must rest on more than the traditional military balance of power alone. The problems encountered by the Bush administration at the end of the Gulf War are illustrative. The traditional approach WHAT NEW WORLD ORDER? 89 of balancing Iran and Iraq was clearly not enough, and U. N. resolutions 687 and 688 (which dealt with Iraq’s weapons and refugees) went deep into areas of national sovereignty. The realist view of world order, resting on a balance of military power, is necessary but not sufficient, because it does not take into account the long-term societal changes that have been slowly moving the world away from the Westphalian system. In 1648, after thirty years of tearing each other apart over religion, the European states agreed in the Treaty of Westphalia that the ruler, in effect, would determine the religion of a state regardless of popular preference. Order was based on the sovereignty of states, not the sovereignty of peoples. The mechanical balance of states was slowly eroded over the ensuing centuries by the growth of nationalism and democratic participation, but the norms of state sovereignty persist. Now the rapid growth in transnational communications, migration and economic interdependence is accelerating the erosion of that classical conception and increasing tbe gap between norm and reality. IV This evolution makes more relevant the liberal conception of a world society of peoples as well as states, and of order resting on values and institutions as well as military power. Liberal views that were once regarded as hopelessly Utopian, such as Immanuel Kant’s plea for a peaceful league of democracies, seem less far-fetched now that political scientists report virtually no cases of democracies going to war with eacb other. Current debates over the effects of German reunification, for example, pit against each other realists who see western Europe going back to the troubled balance of power, and liberals who fault such analysis for neglecting the fact that unlike 1870, 1914 or 1939, the new Germany is democratic and deeply enmeshed with its western neighbors through the institutions of the European Community. Moreover the interactions between democratic politics and international institutions reinforce each other. Of course the game is still open in post-Gold War Europe, and Europe is very different from other parts of the world such as the Middle East, where traditional views of the balance of military power are still the core of wisdom. But the experience of Europe (and the democratic market economies 90 FOREIGN AFFAIRS more generally) suggests that in at least parts of this hybrid world, conceptions of divisible and transferable sovereignty may play an increasing part in a new world order. The complex practices of the European Community are a case in point. These liberal conceptions of order are not entirely new. The Cold War order had norms and institutions, but they played a limited role. During World War II Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill agreed to a United Nations that assumed a multipolar distribution of power. The U. N. Security Council would enforce the doctrine of collective security and nonaggression against smaller states while the five great powers were protected by their vetos. Even this abbreviated version of Woodrow Wilson’s institutional approach to order was hobbled, however, by the rise of bipolarity. The superpowers vetoed each other’s initiatives, and the organization was reduced to the more modest role of stationing peacekeepers to observe ceasefires rather than repelling aggressors. The one exception, the U. N. role in the Korean War, proved the rule; it was made possible only by a temporary Soviet boycott of the Security Council in June 1950. When the decline of Soviet power led to Moscow’s new policy of cooperation with Washington in applying the U. N. doctrine of collective security against Baghdad, it was less the arrival of a new world order than the reappearance of an aspect of the liberal institutional order that was supposed to have come into effect in 1945. But just as the Gulf War resurrected one aspect of the liberal approach to world order, it also exposed an important weakness in the liberal conception. The doctrine of collective security enshrined in the U. N. Charter is state-centric, applicable when borders are crossed but not when force is used against peoples within a state. Liberals try to escape this problem by appealing to the principles of democracy and self-determination. Let peoples within states vote on whether they want to be protected behind borders of their own. But self-determination is not as simple as it sounds. Who decides what self will determine? Take Ireland, for example. If Irish people voted within the existing political boundaries, Ulster would have a Protestant majority, but if the Irish voted within the geographical boundaries of the island, Ulster would be encompassed within a Catholic majority. WHAf NEW WORLD ORDER? 91 Whoever has the power to determine the boundaries of the vote has the power to determine the outcome. A similar problem plagues Yugoslavia. It seemed clear that relatively homogeneous Slovenia should be allowed to vote on self-determination, but a similar vote in Croatia turns Serbs in some districts into a minority who then demand a vote on secession from an independent Croatia. It is not surprising that issues of secession are more often determined by bullets than ballots. Nor are these rare examples. Less than ten percent of the 170 states in today’s world are ethnically homogeneous. Only half have one ethnic group that accounts for as much as 75 percent of their population. Most of the republics of the former Soviet Union have significant minorities and many have disputed borders. Africa is a continent of a thousand ethnic and linguistic peoples squeezed within and across some forty-odd states. Once such states are called into question, it is difficult to see where the process ends. In such a world, federalism, local autonomy and international surveillance of minority rights hold some promise, but a policy of unqualified support for national self-determination would turn into a principle of enormous world disorder. V How then is it possible to preserve some order in traditional terms of the balance of power among sovereign states, while also moving toward international institutions that promote “justice among peoples? ” International institutions are gradually evolving in just such a ost-Westphalian direction. Already in 1945, articles 55 and 56 of the U. N. Charter pledged states to collective responsibility for observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Even before the recent Security Council resolutions authorizing postwar interventions in Iraq, U. N. recommendations of sanctions against apartheid in South Africa set a precedent for not being strictly limited by the charter’s statements about sovereignty. In Europe the 1975 Helsinki Accords codified human rights. Violations can be referred to the European Conference on Security and Cooperation or the Council of Europe. International law is gradually evolving. In 1965 the American Law Institute defined international law as “rules and principles . . . dealing with the conduct of states and international organizations. ” More recently the institute’s law- 92 FOREIGN AFFAIRS yers added the revealing words, “as well as some of their relations with persons. ” Individual and minority rights are increasingly treated as more than just national concerns. Of course in many, perhaps most, parts of the world sucb principles are flouted and violations go unpunished. To mount an armed multilateral intervention to right all such wrongs would be another source of enormous disorder. But we should not think of intervention solely in military terms. Intervention is a matter of degree, with actions ranging from statements and limited economic measures at the low end of the spectrum to full-fledged invasions at the high end. The U. N. Security Coimcil and regional organizations may decide on limited nonmilitary interventions. Multilateral infringements of sovereignty will gradually increase without suddenly disrupting the distribution of power among states. On a larger scale the Security Council can act under chapter seven of the U. N. Charter if it determines that internal violence or development of weapons of mass destruction are likely to spill over into a more general threat to the peace in a region. Such definitions are somewhat elastic—witness the imposition of sanctions against Rhodesia in the 1960s. The reasons for multilateral intervention will gradually expand over time. Although Iraq was a special case because of its blatant aggression. Security Council resolutions 687 and 688 may create a precedent for other situations where mistreatment of minorities threatens relations with neighbors or where a country is developing weapons of mass destruction in violation of its obligations under the Nonproliferation Treaty. In other instances groups of states may act on a regional basis to deal with internal fighting, as Nigeria and others did by sending troops to Liberia under the framew^ork of the Economic Community of West African States. In Yugoslavia the European Community employed the threat of economic sanctions as well as observer missions in an effort to limit the violence. In Haiti members of the Organization of American States imposed economic sanctions in response to the overthrow of a democratically elected government. None of the efforts was fully successful, but each involved intervention in what are usually considered domestic affairs. It may also be possible to enhance U. N. capabilities for independent actions in cases where the permanent members do not have a direct interest. The gains for collective security from the Gulf War would be squandered, for example, if there WHAT NEW WORLD ORDER? 93 were no international response to a Rwandan invasion of Uganda or a Libyan incursion into Chad. A U. N. rapid deployment force of 60,000 troops formed from earmarked brigades from a dozen countries could cope with a number of such contingencies as determined by the Security Council. Such a fighting force, as contrasted to traditional peacekeeping forces, could be formed around a professional core of 5,000 U. N. soldiers. They would need frequent joint exercises to develop common command and operational procedures. The U. S. involvement could be limited to logistical and air support and, of course, the right to help control its activities through the Security Council and the military staff committee. Many details need to be worked out, but an idea that would have been silly or Utopian during the Cold War suddenly becomes worth detailed practical examination in the aftermath of the Cold War and Gulf War. Such imperfect principles and institutions will leave much room for domestic violence and injustice among peoples. Yugoslavia is an immediate example, and it will not be alone. But the moral horrors will be less than if policymakers were to try either to right all wrongs by force or, alternatively, to return to the unmodified Westphalian system. Among the staunchest defenders of the old system are the poorly integrated postcolonial states whose elites fear that new doctrines of multilateral intervention by the United Nations will infringe their sovereignty. The transition to a liberal vision of a new world order is occurring, but not smoothly. Liberals must realize that the evolution beyond Westphalia is a matter of decades and centuries, while realists must recognize that the traditional definitions of power and order in purely military terms miss the changes that are occurring in a world of transnational communications and instant information. VI What is the American national interest in promoting a new world order? As election-year rhetoric asks, why not put America first? The country faces a number of serious domestic problems. The net savings rate has dropped from about 7. percent of gross national product in the 1970s to about 4. 5 percent today. The federal budget deficit eats up about half of net private savings. The educational system is not producing a high enough level of skills for continuing progress in an information-age economy. In terms of high school dropouts 94 FOREIGN AFFAIRS the United States is wasting a quarter of its human resources compared to five percent for Japan. There is a need for investment in public infrastructure. Clearly we need to do more at home. But Americans should beware of a false debate between domestic and foreign needs. In a world of transnational interdependence the distinction between domestic and foreign policy becomes blurred. The real choice that Americans face is not between domestic and foreign policy, but between consumption and investment. President Bush has said that the United States has the will but not the wallet. The opposite is closer to the mark. The United States spends about 31 percent of gross national product on government at all levels, while most European countries spend closer to 40 percent. The United States is a rich country that acts poor. America’s U. N. dues are a relative pittance, and any countries see our failure to pay them as proof of our hypocrisy about a new world order. Similarly Europeans cite our low levels of aid and question our seriousness and relevance to stability in postcommunist eastern Europe. Tbe American economy could support a few more percentage points of gross national product to invest at home while helping to maintain international order. But why spend anything on international order? The simple answer is that in a world of transnational interdependence, international disorder can hurt, influence or disturb the majority of people living in the United States. A nuclear weapon sold or stolen from a former Soviet republic could be brought into the United States in the hold of a freighter or the cargo bay of a commercial airliner. Chaos in a Middle Eastern country can sustain terrorists who threaten American travellers abroad. A Caribbean country’s inability to control drugs or disease could mean larger flows of both across our borders. Release of ozone-depleting chemicals overseas can contribute to a rise in skin cancer in the United States. With more than ten percent of U. S. gross national product exported, American jobs depend upon international economic conditions. And even though not a direct threat to U. S. security, the human rights violations brought home to Americans by transnational communications are discomforting. If the rest of the world is mired in chaos, and governments are too weak to deal with their parts of a transnational problem, the U. S. government WHAT NEW WORLD ORDER? 95 will not be able to solve such problems alone or influence them to reduce the damage done to Americans. In addition, even after the Cold War the United States has geopolitical interests in international stability. The United States has a continuing interest that no hostile power control the continent of Europe or that European turmoil draw us in under adverse circumstances, as happened twice before in this century. While such events now have a much lower probability and thus can be met with a much reduced investment, a wise foreign policy still takes out insurance against low probability events. Given the uncertainties in the aftermath of the Soviet collapse, an American security presence, even at greatly reduced troop levels, has a reassuring effect as European integration proceeds. The United States has an interest in a stable and prosperous western Europe that gradually draws the eastern part of the continent toward pluralism and democracy. The primary role will rest with the Europeans, but if the United States were to divorce itself from the process, we might find the future geopolitical situation far less stable. l”he United States also has geopolitical and economic interests in the Pacific. The United States is the only country with both economic and military power resources in the region, and its continued presence is desired by Asian powers who do not want Japan to remilitarize. Japan’s current political consensus is opposed to such a military role, and Japanese leaders realize it would be destabilizing in the region. With a relatively small but symbolically important military presence the United States can help to provide reassurance in the region, while encouraging Japan to invest its economic power not in military force but in international institutions and to help share the lead in dealing with transnational issues. In realist terms the United States will remain the world’s largest power well into the next century. Economists have long noted that if the largest consumer of a collective good, such as order, does not take the lead in organizing its production, there is little likelihood that the good will be produced by others. That was the situation in the 1920s when the United States refused to join the League of Nations or cooperate in preserving the stability of the international economy. Isolationism in the 1920s came back to haunt and hurt Americans a decade later. There is even less room for neo-isolationism today. Why not simply leave the task of world order to the United 96 FOREIGN AFFAIRS Nations? Because the United Nations is the sum of its member nations and the United States is by far the largest member. Large scale U. N. efforts like the repulse of Iraq will continue to require the participation of the world’s largest power. The United States correctly wants to avoid the role of world policeman. The way to steer a middle path between bearing too much and too little of the international burden is to renew the American commitment to multilateral institutions that fell into abeyance in the 1980s. “Fbe use of multilateral institutions, while sometimes constraining, also helps share the burden that the American people o not want to bear alone. Multilateralism also limits the resentments and balances the behavior of other nations that can lead them to resist American wishes and make it harder for Americans to achieve national interests. While the Bush administration failed in its policies toward Iraq before and at the end of the Gulf War, its actions in organizing the multilateral coalition that expelled Iraq from Kuwait fit the national interest in a new world order. The administration combined both the hard power of military might and the soft power of using institutions to co-opt others to share the burden. Without the U. N. resolutions it might have been impossible for the Saudis to accept troops and for others to send troops. Nor is it likely tbat the United States could have persuaded others to foot nearly the entire bill for the war. Had there been no response to Iraq’s aggression and violation of its obligations under the Nonproliferation Treaty, the post-Cold War order would be far more dangerous. In short the new world order has begun. It is messy, evolving and not susceptible to simple formulation or manipulation. Russia and China face uncertain futures. Regional bullies will seek weapons of mass destruction. Protectionist pressure may increase. The United States will have to combine both traditional power and liberal institutional approaches if it is to pursue effectively its national interest. We want to promote liberal democracy and human rights where we can do so without causing chaos. The reason is obvious: liberal democratic governments are less likely to threaten us over time. We will need to maintain our alliances and a balance of power in the short run, while simultaneously working to promote democratic values, human rights and institutions for the long run. To do less is to have only a fraction of a foreign policy.

Read more

Theories of International Relations (China and USA)

October 14, 2020 by Essay Writer


  • 1 Introduction
    • 1.1 Research Question
    • 1.2 Theoretical Discussion
    • 1.3 Overview of Chosen Phenomenon
    • 1.4 Analytical Discussion Linking Theoretical Concepts to Empirical Observations
  • 2 Conclusion
  • 3 References


Internal relations can be defined as many things. The definition is dependent on the branch of knowledge that is applying it. However, for this paper, international relations shall be defined as an international system that is made up of many states that have no bigger authority to which they answer when it comes to matters that they consider important to the state (LSE, 2016).

International relations should, however, be seen as it is, not as a static entity, but as a dynamic entity that is ever shifting with the sands of time. Theories that are relevant now in international relations may be rendered obsolete in the years to come. The theories have been shaped by history and various cultural norms and biases. One of the things that international relations deal with is conflict. Serious conflicts that may lead to war and conflicts between two big countries that just want to emerge on top. For this research paper, the conflict between the US and China shall be looked into. The relevance of looking into the conflict between the US and China is so that one can understand the conflict as looked through the prism of international relation theories. By understanding the conflict one will be able to mitigate any effects that may arise or have arisen because of the ensuing conflict and thus help in preventing any further conflict that may arise in the near future.

Research Question

The research question that was looked into in this research paper was: ?· What are the theories that address the conflict between two powerful nations when it comes to international relations?

Theoretical Discussion

When it comes to international relations, there are contending theoretical perspectives. Realism which has been dubbed political realism is a theoretical perspective that brings to the fore the competitive and the conflictual side. The main actors as portrayed by the theoretical perspective of realism are states. States are not considered altruistic, but they are after their interests, Galston (2010), regardless of whether they align with the broader international relation theme that is abroad in the world at that particular era in time. As implied in realism, states will pursue their national interests, their security and they will struggle for power. Therefore those that subscribe to realism are often skeptical about the place of ethical norms in relations among states. Whereas most internal politics within countries are characterized by law, order, and justice, realists view the international political arena as one that without justice and filled with potential if not an active conflict between states. Realism is not completely Machiavellian in nature where all is justified because of the state; there is a place for moral judgment when it comes to international relations. Its two main contrasts have been liberalism and idealism.

Liberalism is a political doctrine that takes the protection of individual rights as its central theme (Lomasky et al. 2007). They believe that the government is a necessary evil when it comes to protecting individual rights but that the government may also pose a threat to those principles which liberalism espouses. In relation to international relations liberalism claims that the world is a harsh and dangerous place but the consequences of using any form be it military power or otherwise, will not outweigh the benefits. Liberalism also claims that power in the form of a strong military is not the only form of power; power can also be in the form of economic power. Modern times have proven that exercising economic power trumps the flexing of any military muscle that a state may have. Liberalism also claims that different states have different primary goals that are divergent from the accumulation of power for power’s sake as espoused by realism. Liberalism also believes that if international relations in the form of agreed upon rules and international organizations can help usher in cooperation, peace, trust, and prosperity.

Idealists are a specific school within liberalism that reinforces the need for states to act morally and ethically when it comes to the international arena. Basically, the whole point of idealism is that states should seek to act with goodwill towards their fellow states within the political arena. There should be no guile, trickery, dishonesty or nasty behavior towards each other. All manner of guile is considered highly immoral when it comes to international relations. Thus whereas realism may concentrate on international relation issues such as the cold war, liberalism may concentrate on international relations regarding economics between the leading economies.

Overview of Chosen Phenomenon

The chosen phenomenon is the conflict between the US and China. The conflict between the two states goes to the core of what they are and what they believe. According to Martin (2017), by 2050 China will be the largest economy in the world however as of the writing of this paper, China has the second largest economy in the world. In spite of this or even because of it, China is still a communist country (Ong, 2017). This forms a base for the conflict that is between US and China because the US is a capitalist nation to the core. While giving an overview, one needs to look at some of the reasons that may have caused the conflict to arise in the first place. Some reasons that may lead to international conflict, not necessarily conflict between the US and China are: there may be dissimilarity in interests; there may be sociocultural differences between the nations which will lead to built up friction whose pressure valve may be seen as conflict; a significant change in the balance of powers may aggravate international relations causing conflict. A significant change in power may be an issue because it may aggravate the established status quo; they may be disrupted the structure of expectations; coercive state power may lead to conflict within international relation realms; last but certainly not least is power parity which may lead to full-blown war. International conflict need not be only between two states. Case in point; the conflict between the US and the Taliban in Afghanistan is an international conflict. In recent times, conflicts within a country have been classified as international conflicts especially if intervention from the wider international community is being considered. For example, the Arab Spring, where multiple states of Arabic nature ousted their leaders internally, was considered an international conflict. The conflicts in Bosnia, Iraq or Kosovo have been considered international conflicts though they are taking place within the country.

Analytical Discussion Linking Theoretical Concepts to Empirical Observations

Now that the overview of the chosen phenomenon, conflict, has been given, this portion of the research paper shall look into the specific conflict between the US and China and tie it to the theoretical concepts espoused above by giving empirical observations.

Over the years, the chances of the conflict between the US and China escalating into military conflict have increased exponentially (O’Connor, 2017). The conflict between the US and China may have begun in 1949 when China underwent a communist revolution, O’Connor( 2017), where they expelled the nationalist government that was there to the small island of Taiwan. According to O’Connor (2017), the island of Taiwan receives arms from the US. Over the years there has been increased military activity by China within the Taiwan Strait. This has led many pundits to theorize that because of the ties that Taiwan has with the US, then an invasion of Taiwan may be in the offing. Is such a thing were to occur then the US, with its history of helping out countries that are allied to them, will jump in to help and this may lead already tense situations to blow up into a full-blown war.

The other issue that has escalated the conflict between the US and China is North Korea. There has been an exchange of threats some overt and some covert between the US and North Korea. The US does not like the fact that North Korea is amassing weapons of mass destruction and testing them regularly. There is fear that the weapons may be used to attack South Korea which is an ally of the US and as such President Trump has doubled down on the political rhetoric saying that ‘?all options’ are on the table (Allison, 2017). The question, therefore, has been whether the ensuing conflict between North Korea and the US may lead to greater tensions between the US and China. These are the facts, China and North Korea have been allies since the inception of both communist parties in the 1940s (O’Connor, 2017). The US and South Korea are allies. If the US were to move against North Korea, there is an inadvertent assumption that China will come to the rescue. If North Korea were to move against South Korea, then the US would come to aid its ally. By aiding South Korea against North Korea, the US would be opening the door wide open for China to get into the conflict. In 1950 Kim Jong Un’s grandfather launched an attack on South Korea that took everyone by surprise. The U.S. came to aid South Korea, and by helping South Korea, China Came in to help North Korea (Allion, 2017). An armistice finally settled the fighting.

According to Pagliery (2017), China has hacked several corporations within the US for nefarious purposes. The Chinese intelligence has targeted US national security agencies and the accounts of people that are high up in the government (Pelissier, 2017). According to Einstein (2017), the new conflict frontier between the US and China has been the frontier of economic conflict.

Now that various conflicts and empirical evidence from various accredited sources and peer-reviewed journal have been given, how does all this tie to the theoretical perspectives given? Given the two conflicts that may be caused by third parties in the form of Taiwan and North Korea, both realism and liberalism may apply. Realism has shown that states are not altruistic, but they seek their own good. If the conflicts between China and Taiwan or the US and North Korea were to escalate to a point where one or both of the superpowers have to jump in to ‘?protect’ its allies it would not be for the sake for the ally per se. It would be a vicious power play in which the people would be the pawns in a much larger game. The US will not let China attack Taiwan because it has vested interests there. On the other hand, China will not sit by and watch the US attack North Korea because of a unified North Korea that is allied to the US is not a palatable thought for them. Conversely, liberalism would paint the help rendered as beneficent. The two superpowers would extend a helping hand because that would be the right things to do. They would not do it by their own means and ends. Liberalism would also advise that the consequences of using the military option would not outweigh the benefits and as such, the military option should not even be considered.

Regarding economic conflict, this is where liberalism would most apply. Liberalism would advise that the new frontier of power is an economic power. The economic power should not, however, be acquired so that you may oppress a state or a fellow man, but it should be acquired for philanthropic purposes. On the other hand, though realism does not deal with economic power, it deals with power in general. Realism would infer that a state should acquire as much economic power as it can and take care of its own needs and security. In regards to hacking, realism would advise acquiring as much power as you can. One of the most famous personalities when it comes to realism is Niccolo Machiavelli. His magnum opus is ‘?The Prince.’ In The Prince, he advises exercising and acquiring power through unethical means. Hacking for power’s sake would then fit into a realism view; albeit radical realism. Idealism a branch within liberalism would state that it is wrong to hack because it breaches moral and ethical standards and it will further escalate the conflict.


International Relations theories are many, and they can be applied to the various phenomenon observed within the international community. For this research paper, the overall phenomenon looked at is conflict. The theories of liberalism and realism have been applied to assess conflict. However, there are other theories of international relations, and this theory can be used to evaluate various phenomenon not only conflict. As seen above dependent on whichever theory you use, conflict can appear evil or glorified.


Allison, G. (2017). Can North Korea Drag the US and China into War?. The Atlantic. Retrieved from Einstein, J. (2017). Economic Interdependence and Conflict – The Case of the US and China. Retrieved from Galston, A, W. (2010). Realism in Political Theory. European Journal of Political Theory. pp 385–411. Lomasky L, E., Ellen F, P., Miller D, F., Paul, J. (2007). ‘?Liberalism Without Borders,’ in Liberalism: Old and New, New York. Cambridge University Press. pp 206-233. LSE. (2016). International Relations. Retrieved from Martin, W. (2017). These will be the 32 most powerful economies in the world by 2050. Independent. Retrieved from O’Connor, T. (2017). U.S. War with China May be More Likely, Deadlier. Newsweek. Retrieved from Ong, L. (2017). Is China Still Communist?. The Epoch Times. Retrieved from Pagiliery, J. (2016). China hacked the FDIC – and US officials covered it up, report says. CNN. Retrieved from Pelissier P, J. (2016). China repeatedly hacked US, stole data on nukes, FBI & war plans – security report.. Retrieved from

Read more

The Weakness of Liberal Democracy

October 14, 2020 by Essay Writer

As the title suggests, liberal democracy has weakness in its system that destroys itself. Brazil’s election came in favor of Mr. Bolsonaro, a right-wing advocate who supports violence, abuse of women, and ignorance of the minority.

Within that same time frame, Angela Merkel who practically represents peace and stability in Germany has announced that she will not run again. A pattern starts to emerge. Right winged politicians start to gain popularity and fame when there is a time of crisis like economic decrease or immigration issues. What this reveal is that there’s a fundamental problem with democracy. It contains issues or loopholes that can be exploited to rip democracy itself apart. This often leads from democracy to authoritarian rule. One of the primary issues with democracy is that people don’t truly understand what democracy is about. They believe that democracy is only based on people’s view. While it’s certainly true, it’s only the byproduct or subsection because the government wants to implement systems that protect everyone and their common good. The people believe that the officials are not basing the people’s decision. Thus, they vote for right-winged politicians like Mr. Bolsonaro who says he will rule through “person authority” which is supposedly governed by the people.

However, it’s merely a manipulation of the people to get him into the office. The most evident is the president of Italy who is ruling with an iron fist, replacing local governments with people that are loyal to them. In the end, all supreme power goes to a single person and the citizens suffer. The misconception about democracy is ultimately what destroys it and turn a government attempting to become democratic into authoritarians. Furthermore, decisions made that may not be supported by the public make them feel neglected and without a voice or freedom. This presents the second problem with liberal democracy. The system with democracy sometimes declines the popular will because they need to balance the people’s decisions and government decisions that protect and regular all the people. While the previous example involves an already deep corruption in the government, this type of flaw cause people to believe the government doesn’t care about the general public’s opinions and serving some otherwise agenda. As a result, these right-winged politicians to come into power. They point their fingers to officials that are trying to benefit everyone in the country and say that those authorities are denying the common will. For example, outsiders often scapegoat George Soros who promotes the well-being of others by donating to those who are in need and proclaim that they will restore liberty and the constitution. With the hallucination that the government doesn’t care about the people, citizens believe that this form of the system must be destroyed and rebuild with someone that cares about the public.

For instance, our president Donald Trump gained popularity partly because he advocated policies that appeal to the benefits of the public. However, these policies are often too extreme because while it can temporarily help the public, in the long run, society and its government would slowly erode. An essential subdivision of popular will is that majority rules. From an evolutionary basis, human’s nature commands us to act and form a tribal relationship. Instinctively, we want to compete and rule others. However, the foundation of democracy is that everyone receives rights and privileges equally. Yet, there are circumstances that make people feel they are being violated and are at risk of “endangered”. Naturally, they want to protect their parties, so they vote politicians that will protect them. Thus, people will support laws that bully the minority and remove immigrants. However, liberal democracy focuses on protection of rights for everyone including minority. In order words, the system ignores elections that favor one group over another due to the majority. This has a slight but still noticeable impact in America.

White Christians are becoming fearful that other religious groups can exceed them so they regularly exercise their “whiteness” and are more fearful of the minority. Finally, people tend to go against democracy when they feel like their status is becoming weaker relative to other groups. They suddenly become much more defensive of their group identity and see other minority as potential a threat that can risk their status. Ultimately, their ideology shifts to a survival of the fittest. But once again, liberal democracy dismantles such social hierarchies to preserve rights of minority and peace. This causes people to feel like their rights are being suppressed and that the government is repressive. When someone promises to replace the system with one that “guarantee” people’s freedom, citizens vote for these right-winged politicians. However, once the politicians win the election, he will go against every thing he promised and become a dictator. Brazil is such example as well as many other Latin American countries. All in all, it demonstrates that within the liberal democracy, misinterpretation of democracy, a feeling of trivial public opinion, and social inequality will destroy itself. As a result, people will support radical politicians that can protect their group.

I chose this article because it demonstrates the rarity and importance of democracy. America is home to democracy and people can regularly exercise their basic rights such as freedom of speech. Americans can choose which politicians that they believe in and the government is regulated by multiple authorities, not a dictator. Our system balances power in the power and a central government. Yet these privileges are often undermined and sometimes considered granted. So many other countries don’t allow citizens to voice their opinions or prosecute innocent children because of a differing religion. We are so privileged and lucky to be in America. I believe that we should appreciate such a blessing. Not only this, but we should also help other countries. Many countries trying to be democratic fall back to authoritarian because the citizens are manipulated by false promises and concepts. The people must pay the price at the cost of their life sometimes. Thus, we should be much more appreciative of what this country offers us and the price of such freedom.

I learned that liberal democracy is an extremely complicated process. Until now, I always thought that democracy was just about people having basic rights. I now learned that the problem with liberal democracy is itself, at least partially. I thought that in an economic crisis, our connection with each other would strengthen and that democracy is still intact. However, I learned that it’s through these times of crisis that right-winged politicians come to power due to the people’s desperation. Furthermore, I thought that people would understand that sometime their opinion will be ignored for the general good. But people’s instincts cause them to want to exploit minorities and climb onto the top of the social hierarchy. To sum this in one word, it’s that people are selfish. People’s selfless to become the best and dominate causes a domino effect in which everyone competes and try to downgrade the other. In these times of crisis, politicians create false promises that they will restore freedom in the people, but they almost always turn back on their promise and become a dictator. Finally, I gained insight on truly how precious democracy is.

What surprised me is that countries that seem like it would stay democratic like Germany or Brazil are gaining more and more right-winged popularity. However, Portugal which might not seem like a country heading for democracy has no right-winged party rising. What is more ironic is that Portugal which is still going to an economic crisis impose no austerity yet other European countries with a sufficient and somewhat economy are implementing harsh austerity on its people.

This connects back to the different kind of boundaries that we learn in class. Many times, a country encounters an obstacle to becoming democratic due to ideologic disagreements. A country is hard to become unified if it already has an internal conflict. For example, early Yugoslavia was extremely difficult to manage and even to the modern day, it still is. In the early days, democracy was hard to implement in Yugoslavia. It has a variety of ethical groups in Yugoslavia. Going back to no social hierarchy, giving more rights to minority threatens the status of other religious groups, making them feel less important. Furthermore, it will not be judged based on which group has the most amount of people due to democracy’s idea of rights for all. The boundaries that separate these different ethnic group made it difficult for a country to have a liberal democracy.

Read more
Order Creative Sample Now
Choose type of discipline
Choose academic level
  • High school
  • College
  • University
  • Masters
  • PhD

Page count
1 pages
$ 10