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  • 1. What is Politics?
    The conflicts and struggles over the leadership, structure, and policies of government. (Lowi, et. al.)
    Deciding who gets what, when, where, and how. (Lasswell)
  • 2. Aspects of the study of politics
    Identifying and justifying values and goals
    Identifying and explaining trends
    Identifying and explaining trend conditions
    Project/ predict future developments
    Identify policy alternatives for achieving values/goals.
  • 3. What is Government?
    • The institution in society which as a “monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force.” – Max Weber.
    • 4. A permanent structure or institution composed of decision makers who make society’s rules about conflict resolution and the allocation of resources and who possess the power to enforce those rules.
  • LEGITIMACY, the widespread perception that the government has the right to rule, is enhanced by popular participation and consent of the governed.
  • 5. COERCION is the government’s use of force.
    Common examples of government coercion include:
    • Taxation
    • 6. Conscription
    • 7. Incarceration
  • 8. An Introduction to the Five Principles of Politics
    Throughout the semester, both the textbook and many class discussions will use the following Five Principles Of Politics to illuminate some of the central questions of American government and politics.
  • 9. The Rationality Principle: All political behavior has a purpose.
    1. Political behavior is goal-oriented.
    2. Political actors make instrumental choices about how to act.
  • 10. The Collective-Action Principle:
    All politics is collective action.
    Government requires collective social action.
    As the number and diversity of the relevant actors increase, so does the collective action problem.
  • 11. The Institution Principle: Institutions
    routinely solve collective action problems.
    1. Institutional arrangements provide for a division of labor, rules regarding decision making, and checks on the powers of political actors and institutions.
    2. These routines and structured relationships enable cooperation that alleviates impediments to collective action.
  • 12. The Policy Principle: Political outcomes are the products of individual preferences and institutional procedures.
    1. Outcomes are the products of the intermingling of individual goals and institutions.
    2. Individuals have competing goals that are shaped, channeled, and filtered through relevant processes.
  • 13. The History Principle: History matters.
    1. Historical processes shape institutions.
    2. History provides a normative context through which we can understand and interpret political events and outcomes.
  • 14. Collective Action
  • 15. Collective Action Problems
    Coordination problems
    Cooperation and trust problems
    Prisoner’s Dilemma
    Tragedy of the Commons
    Free Riders
  • 16. Understanding the difference between Tragedy of the Commons and Free Riders: A Story of Seattle OLA.
  • 17. Free Riders and Olsen
    Small Groups
    Easy to deter free-riding because you can track who is not participating
    Large Groups (i.e., public goods)
    Larger the group smaller fraction of benefit enjoyed by individuals
    Larger the group, individual cost starts to override individual benefit
    Larger group means higher organizational cost, leading to less resource left for providing collective benefit.
    Larger group means easier to get away with not contributing.
  • 18. Selective Incentives
    Material benefits
    Solidary benefits
    Purposive benefits
  • 19. Tragedy of the Commons
    Overuse or misuse of common pool resources
    People have a hard time self regulating
    Rational self interest
    Difficulty understanding accumulative effects
    Difficulty in identifying offenders
    Two solutions
    Coercive government regulation
  • 20. Ways to solve collective action problems
    Doing the same tasks with the same people over and over.
    Learn to trust and reciprocate
    Selective Benefits
    People who contribute to providing the public good get something more than the public good.
    Don’t have public goods. Give a little of something to everyone.
    Coercive Authority
    Punish those who don’t contribute
  • 21. The founding story– a lesson in politics
    As you read for next week
    What does the founding story have to say about the “who, what, when, where, and how”
    Were the authors of the U.S. Constitution rational actors?
    What collective action problems do you detect? How were these solved?