POG 100: Introduction to Politics and Governance, Section 1/2/3/4 Fall 2007 October 09 2007
October 09 2007
Review: Liberal Ideologies
Review: Adam Smith
Review: Radical alternatives
Film: The Prophets and promise of Classical Capitalism
Dimensions of Governance
Review: Market Capitalism
Adam Smith: Theorist most identified with capitalism
Expanded reproduction as the basis of wealth creation
Division of labour and specialization
Self-interest as central motivation of human action
Competition leads to improvements in production
Free trade and free market
Invisible hand as coordinating mechanism for the market
Identify one of the major contributions that Adam Smith made to political economy and write a paragraph explaining its significance
Dimensions of Governance
The various dimensions of governance also represent scales of governance or Arenas of politics
Dimensions of Governance: Community
Community refers loosely to a group of individuals who identify themselves as having some form of common bond. Such common bond may signify language, culture, territory, types of work, gender, race, shared experience of oppression or privilege
Often this common bond or ties are the basis for political claims such that form the basis for more complex political units such as municipality, province, nation, et cetera. But the term is also often used on non-political terms – community of faith, for instance
The concept of community assumes social bonds and the political imperative of collective self- governance
According to Aristotle, community is the basis of a health polis
With liberalism as the dominant ideology in the West, the concept of community helped refine the ideas of liberalism to demand that states assume responsibility for building the capacity of all citizens to participate fully in society
In Canadian society, community denotes national community, self-government, English Canada and community of nations.
Increasingly, as the concept of community has come into ubiquitous use
Some have suggested that it has lost any explanatory value and become empty because it means different things to different people
Three major commonalities underlie community:
Place based Communities
These are generally territorially bounded and defined by place, with people sharing a common space
The key variable here is geographical proximity which makes rules about belonging, citizenship or ownership of property critical to maintaining the sense of common bond
Geographical settlements such as villages, towns as well as urban centres and nation-states
Trailer park communities, inner-city communities, low income communities, suburbs, gated communities and even reserves
Place based communities can cover local, provincial and national geographies. Increasingly there is talk of the international community
Spatial boundaries are a basis for comparing different political orders as units of analysis
Local municipalities such as cities are a cross between complex and intimate communities
Is there such a thing as an internet community situated in cyberspace?
Identity based communities
Based on groups sharing at least one identifiable characteristic such as language, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion
Denotes collective identities when then are converted into political and socially significant identities
Reproduced partly through social facilitation of group awareness of common experience, history, culture often as a basis for organization and political action
May make claims fro political, social, cultural rights on the basis of that identity
Indigenous movements have emerged on the basis of such identity. In Canada, the Quebecois’ claim to some form of distinctiveness of possible self-government is on this basis
We often refer to the Black community, the South Asian community, the Italian community, the gay and lesbian community, the disabled community. While different, it is similar to identity based forms of nationalism such as Canadian nationalism or American nationalism which demand loyalty from their members
Some thinkers such as Benedict Anderson have spoken about these communities are ‘socially constructed’. Anderson (1991) also refers to nation-states as ‘imagined communities’ and national identity
Interest based communities
Based on shared interests whether these are economic, political, social or even cultural.
Business communities, veterans communities, environmental communities often emerge to further the specific interests of their members which often require the setting of political goals to achieve
Some people argue that the term community does not apply to say, the business ‘community’
However, since these groups operate within civil society, the realm outside the state, they have as much right to that characterization as the others do.
Communities and social capital
Communities exist partly because they proffer a benefit to their members.
They accumulate social capital that their members can draw from when such need arises – community sentiments that help strengthen the common bonds and add value to the community
Social capital can be measured in shared values, common goals, quality of relationship, participation in civic life, trust,
Putnam (2000) has argued that social capital “allows citizens to resolve collective problems more easily…and widens our awareness of the many ways in which our fates are linked”
Community is also often contrasted with individualism as an ideology. So Communitarianism or humanism has arisen as an expression of that idea and as an ideology
Communitarianism calls for the establishment of ‘the Good society” or the “Just society” and the privileging of the Public Good over the Private Interest
It rests on the moral claim of the WE as superior to the I.
According to Communitarianism, the public good is defined as “that which benefits society as a whole and leads to… public happiness” (Bellah, 1985)
Communitarianism has often been associated with localism and it is suggested that its greatest appeal lies among those who use traditional societies as reference points.
However, it has also been presented as a critique of modern capitalism and its tendency to atomize and alienate people from their families, communities, and environments.
It represents the vitality of collective action versus the atomization and fragmentation of individualism and the ideologies of capitalism and the market that promote such individualism
Cosmopolitan communitarianism argues that urban society is so complex that you need to define the concept of community more broadly even as you seek to ensure the right equilibrium between universal individual rights and the common good .
Can communitarian values enhance individual or group autonomy or do they by definition curtail individual and group rights?
How do communities balance the equal rights of free citizens and the group and collective rights?
Further, does the need to strike that balance only apply within a particular community or should it traverse the boundaries?
Should the ‘international community’ be the community of record when it comes to genocide and human rights abuses or should the relevant community be the nation-state?
Should more democratic societies have a responsibility to export democracy?
Involves the governance of municipalities, cities, towns, villages, school boards
Often associated with active political participation because it is the level of government considered closest to the everyday lives of the people
The level of government that delivers some of the most tangible services such as water, hydro, garbage collection, recreation, social services, policing, fire, transit, road maintenance, public health, housing, planning and zoning, restaurant quality control
Increasingly cities are not local in the parochial sense but are great global regional centres of economic, cultural and political activity. Global cities such as London, New York, Tokyo, Mexico City, Beijing, Toronto represent both the local and global dimensions of modern society and are the centre of what has come to be known as the global-local nexus
Modern cities are an expression of the globalizing nature of societies and its complexity
They are centres of wealth creation and power as well as the sites of intense exploitation and marginalization. Often the very well to do live side by side with those in extreme poverty
They are magnets for people of all kinds, from those migrating from rural areas and declining or restructuring economic sectors such as Agriculture and resource extraction to those migrating from other countries
In the case of Canada, over 80% of the population lives along the southern most part of the country where most of Canada’s major cities are.
90% of Canada’s immigrant population (18.5% of Canada’s population, second largest in the World, only to Australia) live in Canada’s urban centres
Local governments are the creation of ‘senior’ governments - mostly the sub-national (provincial or state governments) in federal nation states or the central government in unitary states
Local governments have a constitutional, legal and operational relationship with the senior governments
In some cases they deliver services under the mandate of the senior government such as social services in the case of Toronto (child care, housing, education, social assistance)
City governance has received new impetus as globalization has shifted power and authority towards the global level, leaving the local level as the level of greater democracy and accountability to the population,
City governance represents a manageable scale of human political action and allows for some control over political events
While 80% of Canada’s population lives in 27 urban centres, over 50% lives in the five largest metropolitan areas - Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary Edmonton
These are highly cosmopolitan centres and highly ethnically diverse.
Diversity is the norm in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age - young people are attracted to the city centres for career opportunities and for the lifestyle
These are also politically sophisticated centres, yet the representative political structures don’t necessarily represent the diversity of the cities
Municipal governance structure
Cities are typically governed by councils composed of a Mayor or Regent and councilors representing residents of different wards. Council is the policy making body - City Plan
The mayor or Regent is often an equal among equals, and her/his vote counts as just one vote. However is some systems, the Mayor has more clout and can control others members even without a party system. The mayor also runs the government with the help of a professional bureaucracy
Participation in local elections, held every three years, is generally low despite the claim that cities are the closest level of government to the public. In Canada, it is routinely as low as 30% and even fewer participate in on-going policy development
Generally, women are underrepresented in municipal government as are other marginalized groups such as immigrants
Representation is largely outside the political party structure and in many cases local interests cross party lines - non-partisan?
Ethnicity has been a major factor in neighbourhood selection and political representation
However, data showing a breakdown of Ethno-racial representation from Municipal, Provincial and Federal Elections in 2000, suggests a dramatic under-representation of the some ethno-cultural groups
Some communities are dramatically overrepresented - British, Southern Europeans and Jewish
Others are dramatically under-represented – East and South East Asians, African Canadians
Some are completely excluded – Aboriginal peoples, South Asians, Arabs and Latin Americans.
Local political movements
Often when the public participates in the politics of the local government, they tend to represent very specific neighbourhood interests, often mobilizing against low income housing or housing for persons with disabilities or half way house.
The phenomenon is called: Not In My Backyard (NIMBY)
But political movements often arise to fight for better planning, to stop the construction of roads through neighbourhods, to advocate for child care and recreations services or as was the case with Toronto, to resist amalgamation and to protect local democracy
Local movements can make a difference by attending and presenting deputations at council or committee meetings, thereby inserting themselves in the policy making and priority setting process or the development of the City Plan
The processes that led to the emergence of city-regions involved the amalgamation of previously smaller units of municipal governance - often to reflect the impetus of globalization
The argument is that service delivery is more effective in a larger municipal region than in smaller units and that city-regions competed better for global economic activity than smaller cities
Among Canada’s major cities Halifax, Montreal, Winnipeg were all subject to this process of municipal consolidation
In Ontario, Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo were among the city-regions that were amalgamated in the late 1990s as part of this trend
In 1998, Toronto’s six cities were amalgamated into one Mega -City
Toronto became the largest Canadian city and the fifth largest in North America with a population of 2.5 million and a budget of around $ 6.5 billion (2003 figures).
Toronto’s size is only dwarfed by the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec
Concern has been expressed about the loss of democratic space and political participation as the city government has become ore remote from the people.
Despite its size, Toronto only has 44 city councilors today, sharing 22 wards and its budget is 30% than pre-amalgamation.
Attempts have been made to establish local councils to address this democratic deficit but is yet unclear as to their effectiveness
The emergence of World-Cities is a sort of reversal of fortunes for cities
Sassen (1991) has argued that a general system of global city-regions is emerging to rival nations states in size and political economic clout. In some ways, this is a throw back to the pre-nation state days when the great city-states of Europe and Asia ruled world trade leading to capitalism’s emergence.
It represents the internationalization of urban centres. Today’s world cities include London, New York, Tokyo, Mexico City, Beijing,
Peter hall has referred to them as “ dense notes of human labour and communal life”
They include cosmopolitan populations, international centres of transportation and telecommunication links, transnational social links. However, place remains important
City regions have been divided into Alpha (New York, etc), Beta (Toronto, etc), Gamma (Montreal, etc) on the basis of their population size and their economic clout.
Local governments are the legal creation of ‘senior’ governments - mostly the sub-national (provincial or state governments) in federal nation states or the central government in unitary states and maintain operational relationship with the senior governments
These relationships are sometime conflictual although they represent the same people
A 2003 survey showed that 63% of Canadians demonstrated leadership on more issues than the provinces (59%) or the national government (53%).
Senior governments impose rules and mandates on local governments - also known as cost shared programs (or more recently downloading of service delivery)
Often decisions such as the amalgamation of cities are made at the senior government level with minimal consultation
State-Local financial relations
While local governments meet local needs with local revenues, often they are dependent on senior governments that impose cost shared service delivery mandates on them
Typically, cities raise revenues through property taxes and educational levies, and transfers from senior governments
While senior governments transfer as much as $30 billion annually to cities and towns in Canada, it is in the form of conditional grants and is used as a means of control
Decentralization has become a popular way of addressing the demands for smaller budgets during the period of decline of the welfare state and the emergence of globalization
More recently the Ontario government passed a new City of Toronto Act that transferred more tax powers given the size of the city and its sophisticated service demands
City Governance reform
Objective of reforms is to give the city the tools to be a successful 21st-century metropolitan centre
The new City of Toronto Act:
A strong mayor and executive committee system, where the mayor can implement long-term strategy and a budget.
Four year to council terms.
Giving City councillors extra powers to make local planning decisions at community councils.
A stronger auditor general and an empowered integrity commissioner, with authority over all politicians and staff.
Provincial uploading of $500 million of Toronto's annual social-service costs, or giving the city part of the sales tax.