Area Studies Mid Term Paper Questions and Answers

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Question 1

There are five core assumptions of the transition paradigm. Thomas Carothers refuted the assumptions in the transitional paradigm. The first core assumption is that a country can be considered to be in transition if it is moving away from dictatorial rule. Carothers was of the view that most of the countries in the world are considered to be countries in transition. The countries show some aspects of democracy but rarely extend further into democracy. In this approach, even the Democratic Republic of Congo is also referred to as a transitional country. The second core assumption is that democratization occurs in distinct stages. The stages involved in democratization are opening, breakthrough, and consolidation.

 

According to Carothers, transitional countries may either stagnate or go backward. The sequence of democratization was also wrong at times. The third assumption is the belief in the determinative importance of elections. Elections are viewed as a basis for further democratic reforms. Carothers argued that elections did not shrink the gulf between political elites and citizens. The fourth assumption is that a country in transition has underlying conditions that are not the key factors for the onset or outcome of the transition process. The fifth and final assumption is that the democratic transitions making up the third wave are being based in countries that are coherent and functioning. Carothers was of the view that new systems in the transitional democracy had to be put rather than modified.

Retrieved from https://zid.univie.ac.at/

Question 2

Globalism is the interdependence of countries at multi-continental levels within a given network. Linkages between the countries are based on the exchange of capital, goods, ideas or even migration of people from one country to another. Globalism involves multiple links between different countries and not a link between two specific countries. Globalism must include intercontinental distances and not regional distances. Globalization, on the other hand, involves the minimization of distances on a large scale. There are four forms of globalism.

The first form of globalism is economic globalism that involves the flow of goods and services that accompany exchanges in the market. The second form of globalism is military globalism that involves long distance links where force or the promise of force are used. The third form of globalism is environmental globalism that involves the long distance movement of materials or biological substances such as pathogens that affect the health of human beings in the ocean or the atmosphere. The final form of globalism is social and cultural globalism that is the movement of ideas, pictures, information or even people over a long distance. Religion is also touched in this form of globalism.

Question 3

Paul Collier outlines some poverty traps that prevent development in his book The Bottom Billion. The first poverty trap is the conflict trap. Collier states that 73% of the poorest billion in the world have either involved in civil war or are recovering from the Civil War. Civil wars cause the vicious cycle of poverty that leads to poverty and scares away potential investors. The second poverty trap is the natural resource trap. Though it may sound unrealistic, the presence of a natural resource may lead to poverty. For example, oil endowed countries such as Sudan and Zimbabwe are very poor because other sectors in the economy wither away when oil is discovered.

Too much investment is placed in the sector pulling away resources from other countries, and in the end, the gains from these sectors benefit investors from other countries. The third poverty trap is landlocked countries. In fact, 38% of the bottom billion live in landlocked countries which is a major problem in development. A country with bad neighbors is faced with an uphill task to develop themselves because the neighboring countries may refuse to export goods for the landlocked goods.

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The final poverty trap is bad governance. Three-quarters of the bottom billion live in failed or recently failed states. Development of a country with bad governance is practically impossible since those in power work to benefit and enrich themselves. From my perspective, the most difficult trap to overcome would be bad governance, this is because those in positions of power can control things to go their way without fear of consequence.

Retrieved from https://www.economist.com/

Question 4

According to Ferguson and Gupta, the state has similar characteristics to those of a human body such as reasoning, passion, and regulation. The state is seen as trying to reach down and manipulate society at lower levels. The images of how the state relates to society are not important because of their impact on society but because they are now routinized by the state bureaucracies. The political struggle can only arise from being rooted in the lives of people, past experiences or communities.

Question 5

Some countries in the world are richer than others. There are many factors that facilitate others being rich than others. The first factor would be productivity and technology. Productivity is a rate. Higher productivity means more can be produced for a given population. Productivity is enhanced by technology. Modernization of technology ensures that more is produced with less. However, some people are against technology in that it takes away the culture of a given population. In the long run, this will affect the well-being of society as it makes a country poorer than the others that adopt the technology.

The second factor is institutions and culture. Institutions affect how activities are organized. Governments normally facilitate economic growth by protecting property rights. Political stability makes a country a lucrative destination for investment, reduction in crime rates as well as income disparities. The government can also engage in the correction of market failures within an economy. The government is, however, criticized because it lets its citizens languish in poverty without engaging in market activities.

The third factor is geography and natural resources. Some countries are more endowed than others in terms of natural resources. If these natural resources are well managed, they can be a source of wealth for the country. Some other factors such as the coastline of a country play a major role in how good a country does in terms of wealth. A country with a long coastline is well poised to carry out trade with other nations based on its location. The climate is also another factor for the flourishing of a country because some climates are good for agriculture while others are not. Due to the presence of other factors to growth, an economy does not have to depend fully on agriculture to become wealth.

The final factor that determines the wealth of an economy is freedoms and capabilities. Countries where the public has more freedoms than others tend to become very wealthy. For example, freedom of the press makes it easier to relay information to the public for easier decision making. Freedom makes the public achieve their full capabilities since they can pursue what they want. The downside of freedom is that the public may misuse their freedom to cause unrest in a country leading to instability.

Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/

Question 6

Easterly, in his thesis, states that planners are the ones that drive foreign aid. Planners normally view development as a technical problem that can be controlled by cash and controlled campaigns. He states that planners are rarely held accountable for their failures. Easterly is against the view of planners that the poor should be given money to alleviate them from poverty. Easterly supports searchers who normally engage in trial and error methods in the field. He is of the view that searchers do not set too ambitious goals like planners, but they do achieve their set goals. Easterly is of the view that only success should be rewarded, and failure should be penalized.

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Question 7

Nancy Birdsall is of the view that inequality matters within a given economy. She argues that inequality reflects an economy where hard work is rewarded. Birdsall argues that inequality enhances higher output and productivity. Inequality rewards the rich who normally save more and invest more in the economy. Birdsall, being the founding president of the Center for Global Development, states that inequality is a necessary evil for the continued development of an economy. She says that this a reasonable price for growth. Textbook economic perspectives according to Birdsall state that globalization is disequalizing because it only rewards the rich leaving the poor people behind.

Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/

Question 8

The rule of law states that all citizens are equal before the law, it is enforceable by the judiciary and the laws themselves are clearly known to the public. The rule of law is the foundation of all other dimensions of democratic quality. If the rule of law is not well enforced, the poor are suppressed, abuse of power is high, political competition is not fair, and agencies that are accountable do not perform their duties. Therefore, civic groups are unable to be organized and advocate, those with resources have better connections and have more access to justice and power. Also, the public has a hard time trying to hold those in power accountable. Due to these factors, vital links for getting democratic responsiveness are damaged.

Question 9

Gareth Evans and Mohamed Sahnoun state that military intervention should only occur in extreme cases. They came up with a set of principles that justified military intervention. The first principle is the just cause that covers two situations, actual or anticipated large-scale loss of life and actual or anticipated ethnic cleansing. The second principle is right intention which allows military intervention in a situation where there is an intention to avoid human suffering.

The third principle is last resort that is employed when all other peaceful means have been exhausted, and only military intervention can be employed. The fourth principle is proportional means, which states that intervention should be carried out at an equal level to the problem. The fifth principle is reasonable prospects, which state that there must be a reasonable chance of successfully stopping the loss of lives. If intervention leads to a worse situation, it should be avoided. The final principle is the right authority. The UN Security Council should be the place to look for authority to carry out military intervention.

Retrieved from https://www.globalpolicy.org/

Question 10

Globalization is characterized by some key elements. The first element is the stretching of political, social and economic activities across political regions. The second element is intensification. Intensification is the growth in volumes of trade, migration, and culture. The third element is modification of transport and communication systems that help in the spreading of ideas as well as capital and people. The fourth element is that due to increased interactions and interconnectedness, the backlash of events in one place can be significant in another area and this kind erases the boundary lines of countries.

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