Political Science Final Exam

  1. Globalization and development

Globalization has transformed economic and political relationships in states over the last 40 years. As a result, globalization has become an essential topic in politics. The basic features that define globalization include; increased trade, increased global investment and increased the power of global operations. As a result of increased globalization witnessed in the 21st century, many states have been eliminating trade barrier that making mobility of labor, goods and services across borders effective very effective (‘POL 190 Globalization and Development’, 2015). Also, the business organization of production and the firm’s supply and manufacturing chain have also substantially improved. It is also imperative noting that globalization has also been associated spread of economic and social problems.  For instance, globalization has been associated with environmental problems, labor conflicts, and financial risks. Easy movements of capital between borders and a massive increase in foreign investment are also some of the features that define globalization. Enhanced technological advances have been the major drivers of the increased technology.

Globalization has several benefits as well as demerits that make the subject worth studying. One of the major advantages associated with globalization is industrial relocation that is also referred to as de-industrialization.  This is a global shift in the industrial process where firms relocate their production units from high-cost regions to low cost regions.  Industries have realized that production in industrialized countries is quite expensive and find it wise relocating to less industrial regions to increase productivity and increase profitability. It is also worth noting that globalization is also responsible for accelerated economic growth and intensified resource exploitation and demand. Globalization increase mobility of labor thus increasing chances of employment and improved living standards.

Globalization has also enabled free trade among different nations. As a result, there have been numerous benefits on the side of consumers as well as the economies at large.   Free trade has enabled consumers all over the world to enjoy a greater choice of goods and services offered by different foreign companies. Free trade has also enabled consumers to have access to low priced products since there is competition amongst the producers (‘POL 190 Globalization and Development’, 2015). Increased competition will consequently lead to low prices that will be beneficial to consumers. Also, free trade enables specialization where nations economies can produce high-quality products and for better prices. The globalization process has also been essential in bridging the gaps existing in labor markets thus enhancing productivity and efficiency.

So far I have discussed the pros associated with globalization. It is, however, prudent noting that the process is also known to have its shortcomings. Some of the advantages can also be disadvantaged to the other country involved in the globalization process. For instance, the free flow of labor and the free trade can be either advantage or disadvantage depending on the context. This is more so in the developing economies where globalization is likely to harm the development of such economies. Free trade requires level playground thus putting developing economies at a disadvantage as compared to the developed countries. It is argued that free trade should be carried out with some protectionism mechanisms for developing economies, thus bringing the concept of ‘’the paradox of free trade.’’

Another downside associated with globalization is the labor conflicts.  The free flow of labor allows movements of workers from one country to another thus leading to labor drain in countries with fewer opportunities. On this note, the labor movement also leads to global unemployment and underemployment that result from lower wages. It is also noted that negative impacts on the environment, increased inequality among states and terrorism are also some of the negative consequences of globalization. In essence, the developing countries are the greater losers in the globalization process as the gap between the developed and underdeveloped economies continue to widen under globalization.

China, India, and Brazil are the leading markets in the globalization era. It is therefore, imperative understanding the experiences of these economies and determining how globalization has advanced the economies. A comparison between India and China will be ideal as it will give insights on the possibility of economic growth as well as factors that would hinder further economic development. For instance, the economy and economic setting of China prior the globalization era, before 1978, was a communist era. The country’s economy heavily relied on small-scale agriculture, heavy industry, and experimental development phases.

However, the globalization era, post-1978, marks the beginning of the fastest growing economy in the world. During the globalization era, the economy of China experience special economic zones that served as experimental regions opened to global trade. It is also during this era that the country’s economy got openings to the foreign investors and MNCs (‘POL 190 Globalization and Development’, 2015). Enhanced export manufacturing and managed artificial exchange rate were other experiences that the economy is experienced during this era.

The globalization process brought about speedy economic reforms in China leading to their entry to WTO in 1999. Massive foreign investment increased manufacturing, trade and research also marked some of the results of the globalization process (‘POL 190 Globalization and Development’, 2015). There was also a notable growth of the middle class and the elite as well as inequalities in social and regional front. Additionally, the country’s economy experienced minimal change in the labor sector as social and environmental challenges resulting from manufacturing plants became evident.

On the other hand, the economy of China experienced effects of globalization from 1991. Before then, the country experienced high inequalities in social classes. The economy was dependent on high technology, and agriculture as urbanization increased with an increased population just like in China. However, the globalization process in India was associated with low liberalization and the free market. Protectionism was a thing of the past as foreign investment increased and the economy could now enjoy benefits reaped from manufacturing and service provision. India would now enjoy some of the large companies in the world. The country also experienced high privatization of state-owned assets, limited integration of domestic markets and also high inequality among the rich and the poor.

China is with no doubt the fastest growing global economy. The economy of India has also made some significant progress in growth but not at the same rate with China. The fast growth in the economies of these two countries has substantially reduced poverty and other inequalities in these economies. Globalization has been instrumental for the tremendous growth that the economies of these countries have enjoyed in the 21st century (‘POL 190 Globalization and Development’, 2015). Also, the two countries have huge population growth thus providing the economy with the much-needed labor in manufacturing and other industries. These countries have also invested in research and development thus making innovations critical to steering economic growth. Nevertheless, the unprecedented growth may be hampered by different obstacles that limit economic growth.  Intensive competition from emerging economies, especially oil producing countries, is a major threat to the growth of both India and China. Also, the increased global economic recession also stands in the way for the economic development of the two countries.

  1. Political institutions

Institutions have important effects on politics in democracies. Although most democracies have shared common features that involve elections and representative governments, there are some variations in political institutions and the different roles they are expected to play in the management of the country’s affairs.  The institutions also define the politics of a country and influence decision-making at the top government level.  Over the years, there has been a great debate among scholars and politicians on which, between the presidential and parliamentary systems, offers the best democracy (‘POL 190 POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS and PARTICIPATION in Democracies’, 2015). Although presidential systems are not common in many states, its presence in the United States makes it a worthy topic for discussion. It is imperative noting that most countries have constitutions that are at least partially parliamentary and discourage fully presidential system.

Brazil, for instance, has borrowed a lot from the United States and is governed by a purely presidential system. This is not the case in the UK where they have a strong parliamentary system that governs and runs the operations of the government. The existence of the varied government system is responsible for the different politics and political organizations evident in these countries. The presidential system that is evident in Brazil is guided by a constitution that requires the election of a president who serves for a stipulated term. The executive president under presidential systems enjoys democratic legitimacy. The presidential system in Brazil also has an elected congress that serves for a similar term with the executive president. It is, however, worth understating that the president’s term in office enjoys the security of tenure since it is independent of the legislature.

This is contrary to what happen in the UK that enjoys a pure parliamentary form of democracy. This is a different political setting where only the legislature is elected by a popular vote. The parliamentary system is also known to have an executive prime minister whose authority s derived from the legislature arm of the government. The executive prime minister must enjoy the confidence of the legislature if he wants to remain in office (‘POL 190 POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS and PARTICIPATION in Democracies’, 2015). The parliamentary system also provides the position of the presidency. The president is the head of state that has ceremonial functions largely. Most of the executive powers are bestowed on the prime minister who chairs the cabinet and offers advice to the president on essential matters of national importance such as the dissolution of the parliament and calling of elections.

As aforementioned, Brazil has a presidential system of democracy. The executive president is elected through democratic elections and is subject to a runoff if there is no candidate achieves the required majority vote in the first round of voting. The constitutional president’s term in Brazil is four years and is only eligible for re-election for two terms of four years. There are also positions in the legislature and also senators who serve for eight years. Elections for the president and the legislature are conducted simultaneously while that of the senate happens in alternating elections.  In Brazil’s presidential system, there is a strict separation f power between the executive and the legislature. Leadership positions in Brazil are based on political parties. It is, however, worth noting that political parties in Brazil are quite weak as compared to parties of countries of its level economically.

On the other hand, the parliamentary system in the UK comprises of an executive prime minister and a ceremonial president. In the UK, the voters elect the majority party and from the elected in the majority, the country selects the prime minister. There is less separation of powers as is the case in the pure presidential system and the parliamentary system offers a centralized decision-making organ (‘POL 190 POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS and PARTICIPATION in Democracies’, 2015). The cabinet and the prime minister are from the majority party. Unlike in presidential system in Brazil where multiple elections are held, UK only holds a single general election where all the contestants in the legislature contest at the same time. There is fixed constitutional terms after which another general election is held. It is, however, worth noting that the prime minister has constitutional powers to call for an early election since the decision has to be validated by the majority. Unlike the executive president in Brazil who enjoys the security of tenure, the executive prime minister can be removed out of office for non-performance through a vote of no-confidence proceedings. In essence, the legislature is assumed to represent the majority will thus making the judiciary less relevant to the proceedings of the national matters.

It is also wise noting that the accountability varies across presidential and parliamentary systems. Proponents of the presidential system argue that this kind of democracy makes the leaders more accountable as opposed to the parliamentary system. The presence of multiple elections evident in the presidential system offers the voters the opportunity to vet and analyze the performance of their leaders. The elections give the voters an opportunity to vote out leaders who fail to meet the expected l levels of performance thus having better accountability. This is in contrast to a parliamentary system where there is only one single election that limits the voters’ choices. The legislature serves as the only oversight role, and there is a high possibility of compromise.

It is, however, wise noting that proponents of the proponents of the parliamentary system argue that this kind of system offers the best chance for accountability. They argue that vote of no confidence and the immediate removal and replacement of leaders gives a platform for increased accountability. It is also said that there is an opposition in parliament that acts as the public watchdog to take oversight role among the majority. They argue that the separation of power as evidenced by the presidential system between the executive and legislature poses a threat to leaders’ accountability (‘POL 190 POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS and PARTICIPATION in Democracies’, 2015).  The veto powers bestowed on the presidency is a great threat to the accountability of these leaders. President in such systems enjoys the security of tenure and cannot be removed out of office before completion of the constitutional term.

Decision making between the presidential and parliamentary systems is very different. For instance, Brazil is known to have a decentralized decision-making on matters of national importance. This is a decision-making the process that involves the largest number of decision makers to get maximum veto points. This is in contrast to the UK where there is unitary or a centralized decision making (‘POL 190 POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS and PARTICIPATION in Democracies’, 2015). The constitution provides for few decision makers and only requires the minimum veto points. In essence, parliamentary and presidential systems of governance bring about different political institutions and political activities that to a great extent influence major functions and decision making in matters pertaining governance.

  1. Federalism

Federalism is a common term used in political science and refers to the relationship between the states and the federal government. The fit is mainly concerned with the collaborative roles of citizens, state and the federal government in dealing with essential matters of the country. Some states such as China, India and Brazil have been in a leading role in matters about federalism as they represent the new world order (‘POL 190 IDENTITY and POLITICS’, 2015). It is, however, imperative noting that the different countries have different forms of federalism that bring about major differences in their governments. The federal systems vary from one country to another depending on various aspects such as the size of the nation and the political diversity experienced in the country.

To start with, Brazil is considered among the largest federal states in the world and also is regarded as the oldest state that has been in existence since 1889. Before federalism, Brazil kicked off with unitary central authority as a colony and later turned to the monarchy after its colonization by Portugal. After becoming the Republic, Brazil became a federal state where it has experienced various leadership styles ranging from military dictators and authoritarian regimes and decentralized liberal governments. This drove the country to seek new constitution that guaranteed its federalism after the introduction of a new constitution in 1988.

Of great importance is the integration of the municipalities as an integral part of federalism in Brazil. It imperative noting that the municipalities in Brazil enjoy independence and coequal status unlike in several other feral countries where states still retain control over the municipalities (‘POL 190 IDENTITY and POLITICS’, 2015). Municipalities I Brazil have their ‘’organic laws’’ that are different from the state’s constitution. Brazil has one of the most decentralized forms of governance as compared to other federal states. Federalism in Brazil is based on total cooperation between the feral entities, central state and municipal authorities.  There is equal representation of the people in both the upper and the lower house thus enhancing the federalism spirit in the country.

China does not have a federalist form of government possibly because of past experiences. However, with the modern reforms and openness in the Chinese political system, the concept of federalism is gradually becoming real among the Chinese people. The country is of late operating in a system where central-local relations are on an upward trend. The Federalists’ principle is getting unprecedented momentum in China although it has not reached the levels in Brazil. Much of the federalism experienced in China has been as a result of increased globalization and decentralization experienced in the country since the introduction f the 21st century.  Economic decentralization and the globalization effect that hit the world in the 90s have been the key drivers to motivating the federalism efforts in the Chinese Republic.

Federalism in Chinese republic is not a perfect federalism as outlined in the country’s constitution. The political arrangement and the constitutional in China do not provide the required platforms for the perfect federal government. The country has remained in a unitary state where all the local governments are subordinate to the central government (‘POL 190 IDENTITY and POLITICS’, 2015). It is worth noting that the principle of territorial distribution in China has remained the same since the late 1940s. The constitution of China defines the local authorities as parts of the state administrative organs. Provincial administrators and the local governments should report to the central government. The central government can also nullify decisions made by the local governments as well as audit their financial expenditures. It is, however, imperative noting that these allegations should not prevent us from classifying China as a de facto federal state. The local authorities have some powers with the only difference being that they are subject to scrutiny from the central government.

Federalism in India is to a great extent similar to Brazil but substantially differ with that of China. In these two countries, the constitution gives more power to the national government that has the right to veto country’s legislation and take charge of the country’s leadership and decision making. The constitution of India gives extensive powers to the governors who are appointed by the President on a recommendation of the prime minister.  This is also the case in Brazil where the constitution has clear definitions of the organization of the different political institutions in the country. This gives the difference between federalism in China and that eminent in Brazil and India. China lacks the necessary legal infrastructure essential for advanced federalism. Nevertheless, there are traces of federalism as is evident by the autonomous decision-making the role of the local authority in making of local decisions. The central-local relations experienced in the China guarantees us making the conclusion that China is de facto federalist.

Brazil, India, and Russia are good examples of federalists in the modern era. It is nevertheless essential understanding that the federalism process in Russia is a going concern where the country is forming new government structures, social and economic systems necessary for effective federalism (‘POL 190 IDENTITY and POLITICS’, 2015). Nevertheless, the modern economies have a lot to learn from the federalism in China, Brazil, and Russia. Federalism will be essential in driving the development of the country both in social and economic perspective. Federalism ensures informed decision making and equal representation of all the citizens of a country. Decentralized decision making enhances swift decision making essential for economic development. Every country should envy the level of federalism evident in Russia, Brazil, and India, who represents the new world order.

It is also imperative noting that institutions have a great role in ensuring effective federalism. Effective federalism will only be realized if there are institutions provided in the constitution. These institutions must be aware of their constitutional responsibilities bestowed on them to avoid confusion and conflict of interests. The importance of institutions can be explicitly viewed through the Brazilian federal system that has not reached the desired level and is still work in progress.  If the municipalities fail to carry out their responsibilities effectively, the central government lacks the mechanism essential to correct the mess (‘POL 190 IDENTITY and POLITICS’, 2015). In the Indian case, revenue sharing systems have been the greatest undoing to federalism in India. Institutions should strive to strike the balance to ensure that there is regional balance in resource distribution.  Political institutions must, therefore, be proactive in ensuring that the federalist government remains successful.



POL 190 Globalization and Development. (2015).

POL 190 IDENTITY and POLITICS. (2015).


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