Over the course of our summer session learning about global politics, I learned a lot about different governments and I took away more than that. Seeing how it was an online class, I had to take the time out of my busy schedule to complete the work that was given, and it helped me improve my time management skills. Subject wise, I learned that a lot of governments impact the way the citizens think and believe is right or wrong. I do not think it is a bad thing, because that is what shapes the cultures and ideologies of each nation. I like that we were given articles to different nations every week that lets us understand different kinds of governing systems. It was really useful to me because I think that everyone should know about their political system and be informed about it. I think it was a shame that our class size was very small, I wanted to see what other political system there were if we had more students taking this class. I would recommend this class even if it was not online. I actually wish we had class in person, I would be more engaged in the topic than I am now.
I have learned so much from taking this course. First off, I really liked the course format and organizational structure. The prezi’s were so helpful and the utilization of Laulima unlike other online courses I’ve taken, really really helped. The resources were so accessible and I found O’Neils book as very interesting and very valuable to out of all the sources. From the class, I’m definitely leaving with such an expanded mind on these topics. Especially since I will be taking five more Political Science 300 level classes this fall, this really has helped me understand important information and terms. I was able to learn about Sodaro’s 4 faces of democracy. I was able to learn a lot through case studies. The United Kingdom was so fascinating to me cause prior to this class I only ever understood about US democracy, I never took a second to think about other forms of government and how they really work. I learned about Prime Ministers and their roles. I found the PMQ’s to be so fascinating, I wish we did that here with our presidents. I learned of a completely new concept for me, Fabian Socialism, a socialist society with a peaceful approach through gradualism. I learned what Fascism really is and its complete dedication to the state. And then I got to see a little into Iran’s current state; their issues internal and external. With all the newly learned knowledge, it really has impacted my understanding of politics. I would hear people say comments such as someone being a communists or a nazi and would understand the surface meaning, but not really the complete background into these terms. This course information will really be useful to me for my future. I will be continuing a minor in this field so this class gave me a great foundation of understanding. Also I feel I can carry on better conversations about politics learned from this class being that I feel confident in what I’ve learned.
After reading the articles about the election that happened in Mexico, it got me thinking about the nation reverting back to its old ways. Even though the President Vicente Fox Quesada was the first non-PRI (Institutional Revolution party) president since 1917, there was still PRI influence within the government system. With recent news of Enrique Pena Nieto winning the closely contested election gave Mexico a PRI president once again, but he did not walk away without controversy. Many protesters came out and rallied against the results and demanded a recount, sparking controversy that the PRI paid its voters with gift cards and such.
With the questions asked, I think Mexico never made the democratic transition yet, because the PRI power in the government was too strong and Quesada did not seem to improve the environment of Mexico over his tenure and still seems to be a semi-authoritarian regime. “Between 1994 to 1996, real wages dropped 27 percent, and an estimated 75 percent of Mexicans fell below the poverty line. Mexico had emvraced free trade and globalization as a response to the economic crisis of the early 1980s, but its response had made it even more vulnerable to economic instability” (O’Neil, p 382). Even though the percentage of Mexicans in poverty decreased to 40 percent over the years, they are still 2 percent under the international poverty line today. It is an improvement but I think they still have not embraced the fact that there is a huge gap between the rich and poor. I do not think ties between Mexico and the United States have gone south yet as they are, “the chief consumer of Mexico’s oil exports, and Mexico is now the United States’ second biggest trading partner, after Canada, (O’Neil, p 352). With what Nieto promised in his speeches, and whether his win was a result of bribing voters, Mexico can still be improving or go south really fast because of Mexico’s history of corruption.
I believe Mexico is a semi-authoritarian regime attempting to mask itself as a democracy. Many factors play into this, one major one is how only 22% of Mexico has internet home service compared to a 95% with home televisions (Shioichet, CNN). An implication of this is the media bias the audience consumes. With the Partido Revolucionario Institucional’s (PRI) hold and power on Mexico’s private and public sectors, this means that television (TV) stations are just as vulnerable. However the PRI has leverage or power over them, whether it be bribery, blackmail, threats, etc, this has allowed TV stations such as Televisa and TV Azteca to publish biased and favorable broadcast on PRI candidate, Pena Nieto. Because Mexico isn’t getting all sides to stories and issues going on, they mostly see Nieto and his PRI parties positive aspects and not the corrupted side. They are blinded of what is really happening and how fraudulent their government really is. The PRI truly does run the government and the public/private sectors even though it seems their votes and choices are 100% uninfluenced.
I think that Mexicos embrace of neo-liberalism has been a complete failure. “By terminating the constitution’s promise of land reform and opening up Mexico to a flood of cheap agricultural imports, the government in effect devastated many of Mexico’s poorest peasant”, (O’Neil, 383). With reduced taxes on import/exports from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a flux of extremely cheap American goods compared to Mexican products took over. As a result, Mexico had to lower domestic goods cost which ultimately left mexico agriculture in a massive crisis. Millions of jobs were lost, the Mexican peso collapsed and they needed a huge bailout leading to a larger debt.
Now millions are jobless and the NAFTA had sharpened the divide between the wealthy and poor.
Though Mexico history displays it unstable and corrupt, I definitely believe the US and Mexico will remain close allies for it’s geography most importantly. “The most productive agricultural areas are in northern Mexico, close to the U.S. border” (O’Neil, 352). Mexico is key for US winter agriculture, and holding close ties with such a close neighbor and major US demographic is strategically thought out to keep things…well.
O’Neil, Patrick H. Essentials of Comparative Politics. New York, NY: W.W. Norton &, 2007.
Shoichet, Catherine E., and Miguel Marquez. “Online and on the Streets, Mexico Youth Protests Grow as Election Looms.”CNN. Cable News Network, 28 June 2012. Web. 01 Aug. 2013.
Please respond to the following question in your blog post for this week (due Thursday, August 1st by 5pm). Your blog post should be on this page (our class website), and should be at least 250 words long. Also, you do need to include at least one direct quote from one of the readings for this week (O’Neil ch. 10). Please let me know if you have any questions. Also, don’t forget to comment on a classmate’s post from last week or respond to a comment on your post from last week.
First, read the following three articles:
As described in the articles, the presidential election that took place in Mexico last year was highly contested in a number of ways. First, the outcome was extremely close, and thus there was more than one credible candidate. Second, there were massive protests in the streets of Mexico before and after the election, which contested its fairness, its results, and issues like the economy and the consequences of the drug war. In light of this most recent election, I would like for you to consider the questions the O’Neil opened this week’s reading with: “Has Mexico had a democratic transition, or is it still best viewed as a semi-authoritarian regime? Has Mexico’s embrace of a neo-liberal economic model been a success, or has it merely exacerbated inequality and worsened poverty? Is Mexico likely to remain a close and trusted ally of the United States?” (352)
1. What is the role of regime type in development? Is regime type actually important, or do we just want it to be important?
The role of regime in the developmental stage is to provide structure and organizational means to developing countries. Regime types can vary from monarchies, to military dictatorships, but it all depends on the countries beliefs, religious views, and their culture (MJS, 316).
I say regime is important because, it gives the public belief that the government has a structure and will follow it through until it becomes successful. Rather than, not having a sort of regime would lead to people questioning the government if they know what they are doing. Having a regime gives the respective nation an identity to build on but as stated earlier, it can vary based off their culture and beliefs of the majority population. There is no one regime that is considered as a successful one or a failure. “Under certain conditions ( such as a well-planned export strategy and a robust private sector), an authoritarian regime can successfully promote a vigorous economic development policy”(MJS, 319), shows that even a harsh structure like South Korea has can become successful to becoming the country they are today. Ultimately a regime is important in the sense a nation would want to have structure in their government and not collapse on top of what they do not have.
Futurama really does a great job of showing the situation in the less developed countries. Although it’s seems a major exaggeration and satirical topic, but the truth of the matter is, those instances and occurrences on the episode are so true today.
As the nobodies enter the “third world” to dispose of their developed countries waste, the audience can see the waste surrounding the world. There is garbage in the planets atmosphere. Also there is toxic smoke coming from the factories that kills a bird, the air and the water is toxic. And even more important to see is how the tiny children are doing horrific work through all the waste. It even refers to maltreatment of the children by getting whipped.
This episode goes to show how “third world” countries are doing all the dirty work for the more developed countries. MJS confirms what these underdeveloped countries are like, “Although the newly industrializing countries are considered developing countries, most countries in the developing world are considerably worse off” (p. 321). From the paper, we can learn the horrific dimensions the people live by. Many of the workers, illegally-aged working children and adults, had to survive off of $1 a day! A grim statistic for these workers is that they are 5 times more likely to die before the age of 5. 100 million of these people have no permanent homes or shelters. 800 million of them are malnourished and 18 million of these ultimately end up dead because so, this turns up to 18 million deaths per day! 75% of these deaths are below 5 years old. Because children are put through such hard labour, and receive malnutrition, they suffer long term effects such as irreparable brain damage. There are a multitude of reasons of why these countries remain stagnate and haven’t overcome underdevelopment, one possible reason is the fact that the more developed countries take advantage of their situation, utilize them for globalization since these third worlds must become dependent on them to assist in survival. We exploit them for the industrial work, their cheap labor, and dependency on us that allows us(more developed countries) to achieve globalization.