What is Comparative Government? Most people understand that the term government is a reference to the leadership and institutions that make policy decisions for the country. However, what exactly is politics? Politics is basically all about power. Who has the power to make the decisions? How did they get the power? What challenges do leaders face from others; both inside and outside the country’s borders & in keeping the power? So, as we look at different countries, we are not only concerned about the ins and outs of how the government works.
We will also look at how power is gained, managed, challenged, and maintained. What and how countries should be studied and compared? One approach is to emphasize empirical data based on factual statements and statistics, and another is to focus on normative issues that require value Judgments. For example, the first approach might compare statistics that reflect economic development of a group of countries, including information about Gross National Product, per capita income, and amounts of imports and exports.
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The second approach might not reject those statistics, but would focus instead on whether or not the statistics bode well or ill for the countries. Empiricists might claim that it is not the role of political scientists to make such Judgments, and their critics would reply that such an approach leads to meaningless data collection. Both approaches give us different but equally important tools for analyzing and comparing political systems. Comparisons are based on democracy vs.. Authoritarianism and communism vs.. Capitalism.
Even though this method is still valid, newer types of comparisons are reflected in these trends: The impact of informal politics – Governments have formal sections and structures that may be seen on an organizational chart. For example, Great Britain is led by a prime minister and has a House of Lords and a House of Commons. In comparison, the United States has a President, a Senate, and a House of Representatives. You may directly compare the responsibilities and typical activities of each position or structure in Britain to its counterpart in the United States.
However, you can gain a deeper understanding of both political systems if you connect civil society – the way that citizens organize and define themselves and their onto consideration not only the ways that politicians operate outside their formal powers, but also the impact that beliefs, values, and actions of ordinary citizens have on policy-making. The importance of political change – One reason that the three- world approach has become more problematic in recent years is that the nature of world politics has changed.
After 1991, the world was no longer dominated by two superpowers, and that fact has had consequences that have reverberated in many areas that no one could have predicted. However, what better opportunity to ampere the impact of change on different countries! The integration of political and economic systems – Even though we may theoretically separate government and politics from the economy, the two are often intertwined almost inextricably.
For example, communism and capitalism are theoretically economic systems, but how do you truly separate them from government and politics? Attitudes and behavior of citizens are affected in many ways by economic inefficiency, economic inequality, and economic decision making. They then may turn to the government for solutions to economic problems, and if the government does not respond, citizens may revolt, or take other actions that demand attention from the political elite.
Keeping these trends in mind, in this we will study countries in three different groups that are in some ways similar in their political and economic institutions and practices. These groups are: “Advanced” democracies – These countries having well established democratic governments and a high level of economic development. Of the six core countries, Great Britain represents this group. Communist and post-communist Mounties – These countries have sought to create a system that limits individual freedoms in order to divide wealth more equally.
Communism flourished during the 20th century, but lost ground to democratic regimes by the beginning of the 21st century. Russia (as a post communist country) and China (currently a communist country) represent this group in our study of comparative government and politics. Less developed and newly industrialization countries – We will divide the countries traditionally referred to as the “Third World” into two groups, still very diverse within he categories.