Political Economics Institutions Summary
Political-economic institutions are standardized ways of maintaining in the production and distribution of goods and services. Government and economics are closely interrelated, Three patterns of political-economic institutions are: (1) the mixed economy, where profit and private ownership are combined with some degree of socialism and welfare statism; (2) communism, where profitseeking is forbidden and. all important enterprises are state-operated; and (3)fascism, where private enterprise operates under authoritarian state control. The mixed economies, while the most prosperous in the world, are presently struggling with recession, inflation; and. conflict over the extent of the welfare functions of the state. The manifest functions of politicoeconomic institutions are to maintain order, achieve consensus, and maximize economic production. No society is completely successful in these functions. The latent functions of politicoeconornic institutions are any, including the destruction of traditional culture and the acceleration of ecological detenoration There is much debate over whether human society is primarily cooperative or competitive, and governmental and economic activity is often considered in this context. W.e can find examples of both conflict and.cooperation -; in all politicoeconomic systems. Ideologies concerning governmental-economic relationships include those of Adam Smith, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes, and Milton Friedman. Capitalism and democracy have been under heavy attack by intellectuals for many years in Western societies. Presently, there is considerable Intellectual criticism of the socialist-communist model in Western societies as being unfavorable tofreedom and productivity, while in the developing countries, Marxist ideas have a strong appeal Power over government means the ability to control the making 6f decisions.
Two contrasting views see the United States as: (1) ruled by a power elite, wide may be perceived as either right-wing or left-wing; or (2) as a pluralist society in which decisions are reached through conflict and compromise. An alternative is the class-dialectic model in which dominant class groups usually prevail but can be weakened by disunity or challenged by organized competing class interests. Unorganized masses possess a great and often unused power, especially in democratic societies. Mass power is expressed: (1) through the mass market, which determines what products, designs, and entertainment forms will succeed, and (2) in the mass veto of elite decisions through mass noncooperation. The masses also possess direct political power and can, for example, determine through voting . which leaders will rule. Efforts to organize the poor into effective organizations have not been very successful. Relatively small, single-issue voter groups wield disproportionate political power, unless directly opposed by other equally committed single-issue voters. Proportional representation enhances the power of single-issue voters, since it strengthens the probability that small political parties can exercise a veto. This power may prevent effective government action and encourage a resort to dictatorship. Coercion and disruption have become techniques of minority groups seeking policy change. Coercion may be forceful or nonviolent Nonviolent coercion includes civil disobedience and .several techniques variously known as nonresistance, passive resistance, 'or nonviolent resistance. Disruption is often used by very small groups to seek concessions from the majority. They are dangerous weapons which may gain victories but which often undermine democratic processes and may provoke a repressive reaction. Terrorism permits a small group to, coerce the majority' through fear of violence and is a way of destabilizing governments. Judicial and bureaucratic activism tend to expand (or, rarely, to contract) the impact of laws and constitutional provisions beyond the intent of their makers. An emergent American consensus carries basic agreement upon the welfare state, profitmaking business; and the work ethic as basic American values.