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State in Comparative Perspective

Condition of State in Advanced Industrial States

Advanced industrial states  are those countries where industries dominate mode of production. Industrial revolution was first to take place in these countries. e.g. UK, France, USA, Canada, Germany and some east European countries also like Russia.
The developed countries are known as advanced industrial states. They have been the imperial powers in the past and continue to have dominance in politics, economics, cultural and ideological sphere even after the formal end of decolonisation. 
They can be called as global north, OECD countries (Org of ..). To use Marxist terminology, they are the core countries and from Marxist point of view, the drain of wealth is continuing.

Till the end of cold-war, advanced industrial states were divided into two blocks. The capitalist block and the socialist block.
The socialist block countries could not sustain themselves, with the collapse of communism they also adopted the western model of politics and economy. Most of these countries are now the developing countries despite having the industrial base.
Since the end of cold war, till the beginning of 21st century the western countries had been in a dominant position. However since 2001 onwards, there is a decline in the hegemony of the west marked by the rise of the east. The center of gravity started shifting towards Asia Pacific from Atlantic.
BRICS countries started giving challenge to these countries in different sectors. Most affected sector in these countries is manufacturing. The most affected section is low-skilled workers.
Since 2008, global financial crisis these countries are not only facing economic crisis, but political crisis also. Whether in western Europe or in USA, there is a rise of neo-rightist, neo-fascist. These countries have become susceptible to the political agenda of populist parties.
Populist parties got new lease of life because of the combination of economic crisis, migration crisis, trans-national terrorism and so called islamophobia. The victory of right started from Poland, Hungary reaching to France, Germany, Netherland and even Sweden. Same is the situation in USA. In the end we can say that these countries are also in the state of transition.

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Nature of State in Capitalist economies.

The nature of state in capitalist countries can be regarded as a highly democratic state. The people in these countries has struggle hard to establish the kind of state that we witness today. There is high awareness of privileges among citizens.

However, the awareness does not guarantee the realisation of such rights. As suggested by Marxists scholars, the states in these countries are an instrument of capitalist class. There is no surety that the state policies will be in for benefit of all people. As suggested by elitist scholars, power always lie with elites & is exercised for their benefit.

Increasing globalization and outsourcing in these countries have also led to job losses and unemployment. The economic growth rate has stagnated. And at times, we also witness backlash against state e.g. Occupy Wall Street, Yellow Vest movement, ‘Black Lives Matters’ etc.

Changing nature of state in Capitalist economies.

When capitalism comes into crisis, we see the emergence of two trends, either the rise of right or left. In some countries there is a trend of rise of left also like France, Greece, Britain.
There is also the growth of right e.g. In USA, Britain, France, Netherlands, Sweden.
There is a fear of the rise of neo-fascism in the capitalist countries of the world under the pressure of financial crisis.
// These are not static questions. You’re to write these on the basis of current affairs.

Nature of state in socialist countries.

Socialist countries started with the hope that state will wither away. However after communist revolutions, very powerful states came into existence. In place of dictatorship of proletariat, these states became the dictatorship of communist parties.
As far as Russia and other east European countries are concerned, communism collapsed and countries adopted democracy, explained by Samuel P Huntington and third wave of democracy.
However the transition from authoritarianism towards democracy remains a far fetched dream. Majority of the countries have gone back towards the path of authoritarianism or semi-authoritarianism. e.g. Russia, Countries of Central Asia, East European countries like Belarus, Ukraine and even Hungary. These countries also show the neo-fascist authoritarian trends.
Similarly in China, we have seen the tightening of the control of the communist party on the society and the tightening of the control of the party by the leader. There is no change in dictatorial trend in North Korea.
The other islands of socialism like Cuba, continues to be one-party-state but it is not as exploitative as the other socialist countries.
There has been rise of socialist parties in Latin American countries like Venezuela, Bolivia. Venezuela is facing multiple crisis for external and internal reasons.

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Characteristic and changing nature of state in developing countries.

Developing countries are post colonial society also known as global south.
// They suffer from … Facing power of malnutrition, poverty, deprivation.

The study of developing area has been the major preoccupation of the scholars of modern comparative politics. The nature and the changing trend can be discussed by utilizing various methods which had been developed in comparative politics primarily for these countries only.
For example if we apply political development approach these countries can be called as ‘prismatic societies’ in the words of F W Riggs. Gunnar Myrdal has given the concept of soft state in case of India. If we apply the idea of Samuel P Huntington, most of these states have witnessed ‘political decay’. In the words of Riggs, they are under ‘development trap’.
The neo-Marxist, the scholars of dependency school calls the states as peripheries, the ruling class acting as the instrument of the bourgeoise sitting in metropolitan or core regions. Hamza Alvi using structuralist approach called the post-colonial states as overdeveloped states.
This region has been in the state of transition. These countries adopted democracy but democracies did not sustain, replaced by authoritarian regimes with exception of India.
Many countries also adopted communist model. Since 1990s most of the countries had shifted towards the model of liberal democracy with the exception of China, North Korea, Cuba, Iran and the monarchies of the Gulf and few pockets in Africa. Out of these countries with the exception of India, democracy remains too fragile and they continue to be semi-authoritarian states.
The states of these countries are not isolated from the global trend. Around the world there is a decline of the liberal world order. Liberalism and the rise of right and left. Even in third world countries we see the rise of rightist parties and authoritarian leaders.

Test Your Knowledge!

1] OECD stands for
a) Organisation for Environmental Cooperation and Development
b) Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
c) Organisation of European Cooperation for Development
d) None of the above

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Ans: b) Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

2] Marxist view the State in Capitalist countries as,
a) Instrument of the capitalist class
b) Instrument of workers to oppress capitalist class
c) Independent of the capitalist class
d) b) and c) both correct

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Ans: a) Instrument of the Capitalist class

3] Hamza Alvi used the term ‘ overdeveloped states’ for which of the following ?
a) Economically Developed states
b) Advanced Industrial states
c) Post-Colonial States
d) All European States

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Ans: c) Post Colonial States

4] The nature of the State in the most capitalist countries can be regarded as,
a) Socialist
b) Highly Democratic
c) Communist
d) All of the above

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Ans: b) Highly Demcratic

5] Generally speaking, which of the following State can be considered liberal democracies?
a) Iran
b) China
c) US
d) North Korea

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Ans: c) US

6] Third World’ is a term originally coined to refer to States those were
a) Aligned with the West
b) Aligned with the Communist Block
c) Neither aligned with the West nor with Communist Block
d) Developed states

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Ans: c) Neither aligned with the West nor with Communist Block

7] Who used the term ‘Prismatic Societies’ for Developing Countries?
a) F. W. Riggs
b) Gunnar Myrdal
c) Hamza Alvi
d) Samuel P. Huntington

Show Answer

Ans: a) F. W. Riggs

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Some questions are also asked on the concept of ‘State’. Please are refer topic 2 (Theories of State) in Paper 1A

Posted in PSIR 2A

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Where is the relative autonomy approach i think notes is not completed


Thanks for sharing these.


ADD ON TOPIC State in Comparative Perspectives = Nature of state in capitalist economies