Political Science as Nations Move


The individuals must be able to govern themselves. At the heart of a responsive government, regardless of this formal structure, is a government which allows individual freedoms and self-interest to motivate the citizens.

For example, the Citizens For Responsive Government is an organization which is designed to unify and give a voice to the individual citizens This organization operates in Virginia, where the citizens feel that for too long the representatives have made promises while running for office then forget or ignore those promises to the very people who put them in office. This group is working to take back our county, our finances, our future development, and have a voice in defining the direction of the government rather than letting those decisions continue to be made by people who have agendas other than the public well-being and the nation's Constitutional Rights.

One of the men who wrote on the principles of American democracy, Alexis deTocqueville described man's rights and responsibility to govern himself this way.

The most natural privilege of man, next to the right of acting for himself is that of combining his exertions with those of his fellow creatures, and of acting in common with them. The right of association therefore appears to me almost as inalienable in its nature as the right of personal liberty. No legislator can attack it without impairing the foundations of society." Alexis deTocqueville.

Socialist governments, from the perspectives of a great many intellectuals have correctly identified the failed socialist economies of Europe as were monstrously inefficient. According to Fuller, (2000) most of the writers center their criticism on the outcome of the socialist experiment. However, many times intellectuals convey this judgment haphazardly and without amplification by qualifying nouns like "economy" and "enterprise" with a string of uncomplimentary adjectives. Favorites descriptive terms for the products of socialism include not only inefficient but also irrational, unsustainable, uncompetitive, submarginal, dismal, decaying, closed, corrupt, distorted, bloated, subsidy-dependent, crisis-ridden, self-suffocating, obsolete, and unsophisticated

Other times the meaning of inefficiency emerges in more thorough and systemic discussions. Some associate socialist failure with low productivity, outdated and inferior technology, unbalanced and declining growth, lack of innovation, high debt, waste, misallocation of resources, and poor quality. For others, inefficiency acquires more organizational meanings, such as lack of coordination between economic units and actors, undersupply of production inputs, centralization, bureaucratization, monopolization, and the inability to self-monitor.

Beyond such understandings of socialist and post-socialist economic inefficiency, intellectuals often stress one other -- bad workers. At this point, the short sightedness of these acedemians evaluation comes to the surface. The workers in a socialist environment had the same opportunity to become a successful, technologically advanced economic power as did the United States, or countries in the Pacific Rim. These nations has access to natural resources, research, education, and often more government funding than the other nations. The concept of a bad or somehow defective worker is to shift the blame improperly. The workers had the same resources, and time line, but they did not have the same incentive.

A responsive government, one which is concerns with the needs of its people, is a government which also provides individual incentive to the workers so that they can attain the levels of achievement which they seek, and be rewarded for their effort. The socialist governments fell because they tried to regulate both incentive and reward, and define the 'good of the people' as adequate motivation for the individual. The individual needs to be responded to the government for his own good and own well being. Then the individual has the incentive to perform, and create a strong efficient economy, and a profitable society.

Alexis deTocqueville, 2 Democracy In America 203 (Bradley ed.1954). As printed by Citizens for a responsive government. (2002) Accessed March 3, 2004. Website: http://www.citizens.tripod.com/id24.htm

Dahl, Robert. A Democratic Paradox? Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 115, 2000

Hollander, Paul. After Progress: American Social Reform and European Socialism in the Twentieth Century First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, November 2001

Fuller, Linda. SOCIALISM AND THE TRANSITION IN EAST AND CENTRAL EUROPE: The Homogeneity Paradigm, Class, and Economic Inefficiency Annual Review of Sociology, 2000

Sassoon, Donald "Socialism in the twentieth century:an historical reflection" published in Journal of Political Ideologies (2000), 5(1), 17-34

Linda Fuller "The Socialist Labour Process, the Working Class, and Revolution in the German Democratic…