Political Science (Intro to Comparative Politics)
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POL202: THOUGHT PAPER ASSIGNMENT
Write an approximately five page paper answering the following question. Your paper in hard copy isdueat 10:10 AM on March 4th, 2016in class. Late papers will lose a +/- letter grade each day that the paper is late; i.e., if your paper arrives on March 5th at 10:10AM, a paper that would have originally earned a B would drop to a B-; the weekend counts in these calculations! This essay is worth 25% of your final grade.
Your name is SophiaHilton and you are a graduating senior at UM. You are torn between two potential spouses, BurkFischer andGeorgeAdkins; each has asked you to marry him and go live in his home country, where you can begin your career and start a family. Since you love both men equally, you decide to base your future decision on what you have learned in Comparative Politics class about the effects of different political and economic systems. Answer the following questions based on the profiles of you, your potential spouses, and their home countries that appear on the following three pages:
? Which potential spouse would you select and why? Explain the economic, political, social/personal, and foreign policy reasons for your decision.
? When you move to his country and eventually become a citizen, which political party would you vote for in elections and why? Why wouldn’t you vote for other parties?
The best papers will explain why the author is making certain decisions and not making others. That is, why are you picking one country over the other? Furthermore, good papers will be clearly organized and well-written. You are welcome to use “I” in this assignment.
SophiaHilton You are a graphic design major at UM and love all things that have to do with art and computers. Your dream after graduation is to begin a website that would allow users to upload photos of themselves, and then have those photos digitally merged into famous paintings and printed out on high quality canvas. Imagine framing yourself on your wall as the Mona Lisa! And if this idea doesn’t pan out, you have several other artistic ideas that would make great internet start-ups… you are creative and can adapt quickly to new circumstances. You are full of energy to plow into your entrepreneurial ventures and don’t really care too much about taking vacations or pursing other hobbies.
Your great grandfather was one of America’s most famous artists and you have inherited the copyright to all of his most important artworks. This renders you independently wealthy and gives you the freedom to pursue your every artistic whim. You’re not too practically minded and imagine you will want to hire household help to run your house, including, should you and your potential spouse realize your dreams of having a large family, a nanny to raise the kids. You wouldn’t want your kids’ creativity stifled by an educational bureaucracy and would plan to send them to the best, most creative private schools.
While you are not overly interested in politics, you believe that politicians should make decisions quickly and efficiently – you are disgusted with the gridlock you hear about in Washington. In addition, you are convinced that taxes should be kept low. Your great grandfather earned his money fair and square and you don’t think the government should get its hands on a penny! People should be free to pursue their dreams without the state getting involved. As for social issues or religion, you don’t really care one way or another about these topics and wouldn’t expect a political party to take any extreme stances in either an individualistic or an authoritarian direction. Given your great grandfather’s importance to American culture you have a very strong American national identity and are very patriotic. You couldn’t imagine living in a country that didn’t have close ties with the United States and you really can’t understand why some people are so excited about the European Union. The U.S. became a superpower all on its own and you don’t see the need for extensive international organizations.
Fiancée #1:GeorgeAdkins is from an island nation off the coast of France called the Kingdom of Engles. You met himwhen you designed a logo for UM’s men’s soccer team. He is the team’s winning goalie and has been recruited to play for Engles’ best soccer club: Stockton United. Given his playing abilities, good looks, and charisma many observers expect he will be the next David Beckham and his starting salary is record setting.Georgeshares your dreams of having many children, although given his busy soccer and public appearance schedule he probably won’t be around the house much to care for his children. He is an only child and his parents, both former business executives, have retired to their Spanish vacation home. All members of Tom’s family are members of the Kingdom’s Royal Church, although they do not go to church regularly.
The Kingdom of Engles has a liberal market economy with a liberal welfare state like Great Britain; in the Kingdom those who can compete well in the economy are rewarded and those whocannot do not find much of a social safety net.
The Kingdom is a unitary system without individual states. It is also a parliamentary system that utilizes a simple vote of no confidence. It features a monarch as Head of State (Queen Liesbeth) and a plurality electoral system.
There are two main parties: the Commoner’sParty which is center/left economically and somewhat individualist on social issues and the King’s Party which is center/right economically and generally doesn’t talk about social issues at all. Both parties generally support the liberal market economy although the Commoner’s Party is for slightly more social welfare spending while the King’sParty, currently in office, recently slashed taxes and public spending in all areas.The Commoner’s Party is more individualistic on social issues and the King’s Party more authoritarian; however, neither party is particularly vocal about social issues. These two main parties have alternated controlling the cabinet historically.There is a third, small, party that has only rarely held cabinet seats; it is called the Progressive Party and while they are centrist economically, their main appeal is their strongly individualist stance on social issues where they have often taken path-breaking positions, especially in protecting civil liberties in the post-9/11 era.
Over 80% of the Kingdom’s population belongs to the Royal Church, although very few members actually go to worship on Sunday. The other 20% of the population are Muslim immigrants from Engels’ former colonies. Because of Kingdom’s liberal market economy and its island location, most citizens don’t feel particularly “European.” They are ambivalent about the EU, have not adopted the Euro, and prefer to perpetuate their “close relationship” with the United States, a country they once colonized and a fellow liberal market economy.
Note: You can assume that anything we learned in class about the UK applies to the Kingdom of Engles too.
Fiancée #2: BurkFischer is from a continental European country calledDuitsland.You also met him through UM’s soccer team – he was their record-scoring forward.After graduation he will return home to his native country to play on their Champion’s League winning Munchen-Tabern team. This rich club will be paying him a generous salary, expecting him to become a ticket-selling star player like he was in Miami. Like you, Burk really wants a lot of children; family is very important to him given that his mother died when he was young and he has no brothers and sisters. His aging father has developed dementia and is soon going to be unable to live alone. Although family is important to him, Burk will have little time to care for his father or his children given his busy soccer schedule. Burkwas raised a Catholic but is not particularly religious.
Duitsland is a social market economy like Germany. Consensual interest group/government relations with well-organized interest groups characterize policy making; benefits to workers and families are generous but taxes – especially on top earners – are high.
It is also a federal system which reserves key powers, such as control of the media, for its sixteen states. It is also parliamentary system with two houses of parliament – the upper house (Überhaus) and a lower house (Unterhaus) – and a constructive vote of no confidence rule like Germany’s. Legislation relating to domestic policy must be passed by both houses of parliament. Duitsland also employs a mixed electoral system like Germany’s.The Head of State is an appointed President who is primarily a figure head.
There are five main political parties which have served in coalition governments at the national level: the large Papist Party is center-right on economic issues and traditionally Catholic (authoritarian) on social issues; the large SocialistParty is center-left on economic issues and somewhat individualist on social issues; the small Enviro Party is slightly to the left on economic issues and very individualist on social issues; the small Radical Party is far to the left economically and neutral on social issues; the final party is the Freedom and Democracy Party which is both to the right economically andextremely individualist on social issues. Currently, the Papist Party and Freedom and Democracy Party control the Unterhaus and the Socialist and Radical Parties control the Überhaus.
About 45% of the population is Catholic, another 45% Protestant, and the final 10% Muslim immigrants from the Middle East who came to Duitsland as guest workers in the 1960s and never left. None of these groups go to religious services very often, however. Given Duitsland’s geographic position in the center of Europe, its experience being devastated by the two World Wars, and tis export-dominated economy, most citizens there are strong proponents of the European Union and feel themselves to be culturally “European.”
Note: You can assume that anything we learned in class about Germany applies to Duitsland too.
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