Transition to democracy Essay
The political regimes are a set of partisan structure that makes up a nation such as a political system or a ruler in a political system. They are simple mechanisms through which the most powerful actors make collective verdicts and regulate the processes taking place in the country (Mayer et al., 2009, p. 422).
The decisions made by rulers are based upon the calculations completed by the actors for balancing particular interests and constraints when making every single choice. This essay will discuss the concept of regime trajectories and the main influential factors affecting them from the point of view of structuralist and process-oriented theoreticians.
Regime trajectories are the pattern of problem solving activities repeated and determined by a pattern (Mayer et al., 2009, p. 415). According to the structuralist approaches, the concentration of political power in the form of political leadership did not have any significant impact upon the changes of political regimes.
The main arguments offered by this camp are that the distribution of economic power thrives under political regime and its leadership. For example, Luebbert, who was one of the representatives of the structuralist camp, admitted that labor-repressive agriculture played a critical role in promoting fascism in the twentieth century (Mayer et al., 2009, p. 424).
However, the counterargument that can be used to criticize this hypothesis is that Belgium and the Netherlands, that were highly dependent upon agricultural sector as well, did not establish hegemonic liberalism before the beginning of the World War I.
Therefore, according the structuralist theoreticians provide weighty arguments to assume that the changes in political regimes, the regime trajectories, were dependent upon the influence of the leaders of economic power, but the distribution of economical power in its turn depended upon the regime.
In contrast to the structuralist approach, the process-oriented scholars emphasized the importance of the mass consciousness affecting the changes in the political regimes. The process-oriented theoreticians assumed that the society and collective opinions are more important than the segmental division of labor and economics. In addition, the mass consciousness could have affected the distribution of economic resources discussed by the structuralist theoreticians as well.
The concepts of mass following and mobilization of psychological resources played a critical role in establishing the fraternal regimes in Italy, Germany and Japan in the early twentieth century (Mayer et al., 2009, p. 430). The successful development of fraternalism in these three countries required favorable conditions.
According to the process-oriented theories, these were neither Hitler’s guidance nor German agricultural sector and economics, but the mass consciousness of individual German citizens that played a critical role in the establishment of the Nazi regime in Germany.
The process-oriented theories assume that after weighing all pros and cons of the Nazi regime, the Germans concluded that it would be preferable for them as compared to democracy. Importantly, this decision was common for the vast majority of Germans. Thus, when explaining the regime transitions, the process-oriented scholars emphasized the national beliefs and the processes taking place in the mass consciousness.
In conclusion, it can be stated that the structuralist and process-oriented theoreticians used different approaches to explaining the underlying processes affecting the regime trajectories. Both approaches denied the impact of political leadership.
At the same time, the structuralist scholars emphasized the importance of the distribution of economic resources within the country, but the process-oriented scholars focused on the influence of mass consciousness and citizens’ common preferences upon the decision making processes.
In my opinion, these two approaches can be connected because the mass consciousness emphasized by the process-oriented approach could affect the distribution of economic resources which are emphasized by structuralists. I do not agree with the timing factor of industrialization, whether it took place earlier or later, can be proclaimed as one of the most influential factors contributing to the foundation of authoritarianism in the country. In my opinion, the timing of industrialization depended upon the citizens’ rights.
Mayer, L., Patterson, D., & Thames, F. (2009), Contending Perspectives in Comparative Politics. Washington, DC: CQ Press.
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