Political System in the UK

United Kingdom has a unique parliamentary democracy which has been shaped by the country’s rich history which has created a political system that has had a fundamental continuity as its mainstay. Most political systems have been born out of revolutions and strife, but the United Kingdom has not experienced any invasion or revolution for over a thousand years (Barrington, 2012, p. 170). The 1642-1651 English Civil War, could be said to be the British revolution although its political consequence, the abolition of the monarchy lasted for a short period of eleven years however, the restored monarchy has lasted for over three hundred years, although it has undergone some considerable changes to date (Barrington, 2012, p. 171). Thus, the lack of revolutions, such as the French or the American revolutions means that the political development in Great Britain evolved gradually albeit in a different manner from the other world major democracies (Pryor, 2007, p. 79). One significant difference is that the United Kingdom is the one of three countries in the world without a written constitution, the other two being New Zealand and the State of Israel. The political system is a mixture of monarchy, lords, and commoners making it a very complicated system which may not always be democratic. However, much as change has been gradual, it has been largely pragmatic and based on consensus (Barrington 2012, p. 173).

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As a nation, United Kingdom has been involved in a quiet struggle to shift political power from the powerful monarchy, which claims that it’s power is derived from God to a national parliamentary system that is increasingly representative of the common people and accountable to ordinary people (Pryor, 2007, p. 81). This struggle has seen the achievement of considerable milestones towards full democracy with the monarchy being reduced to mere ceremonial roles in the political arrangement of the nation. The first Model Parliament was constituted in 1295 by King Edward the First, when he convened the first representative assembly (Ingle, 2008, p. 5) It can be observed that, unlike the other absolute monarchs in Europe, the King of England needed the approval of Parliament to institute taxation to the subjects, which literary means that the ability to raise funds was central to exercise of power (Ingle, 2008, p. 6). In 1341, the British political system achieved another milestone with the establishment of the bicameral Parliament (Barrington, 2012, p. 174). What this meant was that the parliament was to be made of two chambers, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. the Bills of Rights, which was enacted In 1689, laid down the limits of the power exercised by the monarchy and gave guidelines on the rights of parliament and rules governing freedom of speech in Parliament, called for regular Parliamentary elections, and importantly, the right to petition the Crown without victimisation (Barrington, 2012, p. 176).
The UK’s political system is headed by the monarch albeit in a ceremonial manner however, the monarch exercises power through the appointment of a member of Parliament, ordinarily, the leader of the party with most seats in the House of Commons to form the government (Pryor, 2007, p. 83). The monarch, albeit a ceremonial head of state, exercises subtle influences on the legislature through a provision in the constitution that requires senior members of the royal family to be consulted about legislation that could affect their private interests and accorded the opportunity to have a say on the amendment of such legislation(Ingle, 2008, p. 10).
The Monarch could be seen effective in terms of advice for successive governments though, this can be debated. One could say that, in contrast the monarchy is a relic of bygone society and that the most poignant role they play is exemplifying a class system. It’s effectiveness as a political branch is subjective. It’s historic value has great significance with operations such as the ceremonial roles mentioned; It gives us our unique identity as a sovereign state. If you believe in the ideals of Monarchy, ‘yes’ It provides continuity and plays a vital role in our constitution. If you don’t believe in it’s ideals, ‘no’ it’s simply an ineffective, overcomplicated relic and should be removed to simplify our political system.
Like in most democracies, the United Kingdom state is made up of the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary (Pryor, 2007, p. 85). The separation of power, however, is not a clear as it would be expected in a democratic state, such as the United State of America, whose constitution demands a clear separation of power, for example the president cannot be a member of congress, and cabinet ministers cannot be appointed from elected members of Parliament (Barrington, 2012, p. 178). In the United Kingdom, all ministers are drawn from the legislature, whilst some senior judges sit in the upper house (House of Lords) of the Parliament, and the head of the judiciary is a minister.
The British Parliament is housed at the Palace of Westminster; hence, it is commonly referred to as Westminster. This a bicameral parliament, meaning it is composed of two chambers, the upper house, commonly referred to as the house of lords, and the lower house, or the house of commons (Ingle, 2008, p. 14). Most parliamentary authority rest with the Lower Chamber or the House of Commons, which is lead by a speaker, however, unlike many democracies, this position is non-political and political parties avoid contesting in the constituency held by the speaker (Barrington, 2012, p. 179). This means that the speaker is a politician since he represents a constituency in the House of Commons, but cannot play politics while he leads the House of Commons (Stater, 2004, p. 241). This obviously sounds very complicated, but that’s the way things are, and it works perfectly within the United Kingdom political system. Another deviation from most modern democracies, the United Kingdom parliament, does not operate with a fixed parliamentary term, meaning the general elections are called when the Prime Minister called for it. The Prime Minister does not have a term limit; rather, he can run for re-election so long as he has the support of his party (Barrington, 2012, p. 183).
The Prime Minister, who is normally chosen by the head of state, in the case of United Kingdom the head of state is the monarch, from among the elected members of the legislature, is the chief member of the cabinet and as such, the head of the government (Stater, 2004, p. 242). The Prime Minister is normally the leader of the party which controls the house of common. Historically, the Prime Minister office evolved from the growing assertive power of Parliament in the seventeenth century and as the power of the Prime Minister grew, that of the monarch declined (Barrington, 2012, p. 187). It is the practice within the British parliament that the Prime minister appears before the House of Commons to respond to questions from the members of Parliament as part of his accountability to the members of Parliament and by extension to the electorate. In a presidential system, such a practice only happens at the pleasure of the President since he is not directly responsible to parliament on account of having been elected directly by the voters (Stater 2004, p. 243). This is an example on the differences between a parliamentary and presidential system of government.
There are many ways in which parliament holds the executive to account. One of the ways is through parliamentary select communities. These are comprised of 11 MP’s and are a group that can investigate any issue they give credence to. They usually investigate matters of public interest and can seek to resolve issues in any department directly linked or has ties with government. Parliamentary select committees could enter into party politics disrupting any proper investigations into conduct of government. It’s also could be seen as difficult to get a honest, coherent and straight answers from people they interview.
Furthermore, Liaison Committees which are group of chairmen from all the select committees. The committee will meet with the Prime Minster twice a year and ask questions on pressing issues. This ensures that the Prime Minster, part of the executive, is held to account.
These features help keep order within the structure of government and ensure nothings gets overlooked. There may be some flaws in the level of scrutiny, but the whole system doesn’t work to appease or manipulate our democracy but ensures some credibility. An Idea to improve could be if a larger, independent and solely dedicated force could scrutinise the executive.
The House of Lords is the upper chamber but with little authority, with its main duties being to revise legislation and watch over the government. It is characteristically British and has no parallel in the world. The membership is not fixed and sometime they can be as many as eight hundred active members (Turpin & Tomkins, 2011, p. 57). Historically, the House of Lords was composed of the hereditary peers, who essentially were drawn from the aristocracy. Membership to the House of Lords is by nomination, unlike the membership of the House of Commons, which is by election, originally done by the monarch, but in modern times this is done by the Prime Minister (Stater, 2004, p. 244). Once an aristocrat is appointed to the House of Lords it became an entitlement to that family and the membership was passed from one generation to the other, a practice that goes against the principles of democracy (Turpin & Tomkins, 2011, p. 58). The Labour Government has, however, abolished these rights hereditary peers to sit in the House of Commons (Morrison, 2013, p. 134). This left what is referred to as life peers, who are members appointed by the monarch on the advice of the government of the day, however, unlike the hereditary peers, they can sit in the House of Lords for life but cannot bequeath the same to progeny (Stater, 2004, p. 246). Most of the life peers are drawn from retired senior politicians, distinguished achievers in various fields such as education and health, and Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England (Turpin & Tomkins, 2011, p. 60). The House of Lords is being subjected to massive reforms with a prospect of enacting legislation to have membership of the House of Lords being through election. Many people disagree with a system of hereditary peer-ship and do not think that hereditary peers have any right to a say in the running of the country, feeling they are appointed by blood rather than achievement. Moreover, the fact they are appointed and not elected by the public is another aspect of criticism for the House of Lords.
The British voting systems or electoral systems are the elective methods through which representatives for the various parliamentary and municipal are elected to office. The electoral system basically determines the rules that govern the election exercise both at the party and national level (Morrison, 2013, p. 134). The First–Past-The-Post (FPTP) voting system is used for the election of Members of Parliament and for local elections in Wales and England. Under this system, the country or the local authority is divided into small voting regions such as constituencies for members of parliament and wards for local authority (Cabinet Office, 2013, par. 4) The voters are issued with a ballot paper with the names of the candidates at the voting centre and they just put a cross adjacent to their preferred candidate and deposit the market ballot in the ballot box (Morrison, 2013, p. 135).. The ballots are tallied and the candidate with the highest votes is declared as duly elected to represent the ward or constituency. Each constituency has one vote in parliament and the party that achieves the number of seats for a majority wins (Cabinet Office, 2013, par. 8). The advantage of FPTP voting system is that it is an easy system to administer and ensures that to a large degree that one party wins the majority in parliament avoiding coalition’s governments (Turpin & Tomkins, 2011, p. 65). The system enhances the production of a two party system which in turn produces one party government which does not have to rely on the coalition partners to pass registration (Catterall, Kaiser & Walton-Jordan 2000, p. 45). It also enhances the linkage between the representative and the constituents consequently, giving a better geographical accountability and collaboration. FPTP is a straight forward system allowing for faster voting and quick tallying of votes which helps in giving faster declaration of winners (Catterall, Kaiser & Walton-Jordan, 2000, p. 46).
The disadvantages of the FPTP system are that it is disproportionate to the actual share of votes won, allowing for a party to get a large percentage of votes cast but not win majority seats in parliament. The system also makes it impossible for small parties to win seats in parliament (Smith, 2010, p. 46). The system enhances the production of a two party system which in turn produces one party government which does not have to rely on coalition partners to pass registration. The system encourages the setting aside of marginal and safe seats, with safe seats being less competitive than marginal seats since they are guaranteed (Ruhnau, 2013, p. 8). Voter turn out for safe seats is normally low reducing the overall voter turn-out tally. The system has been accused of restricting voter’s choices since parties are coalitions of different interest groups and viewpoints. The voters with differing views from the elected candidate do not have a way of expressing those sentiments. The system rewards the popular parties and not the candidates (Turpin & Tomkins, 2011, p. 65).
Much as the FPTP system is favoured in Britain because it reduces electoral competition to two parties, the 2010 election did not produce a winner with majority votes, necessitated the formation of a coalition government, the first since 1930s (Ruhnau, 2013, p. 9). This occurrence has reignited the debate on electoral reform with the coalition government mooting the idea of holding a referendum on whether Britain should replace the FPTP electoral system with the Alternative Vote system (Cabinet Office, 2013, par. 9). Those who support the FPTP system argue that the general purpose of holding elections is to get a crop of leaders who represent the views of the majority of the citizenry which supposedly are reflected by the popularity of the winning party. They point out that when people are unhappy with a government, they replace it with the other party who may have gained popularity at the expense of the government in power policies (Ruhnau, 2013, p. 9). However, such an arrangement only gives the party in power enough strength to legislate their favoured policies ignoring good ideas and policies from a representative from the opposing party.
Much as the argument for proportionate representation as found in the FPTP system is desirable and at face value seem to represent the will of the majority, it, however, denies the citizens independent representation by individuals who can effectively and actively put the government to account for its actions (Ruhnau, 2013, p. 10). This system only manages to recycle the two competing parties by removing one party from power because they are unhappy with it and replacing it with the opposing party, not because they have better governance policies but purely on the demerit of the incumbent (Ruhnau, 2013, p. 10). This scenario has seen the clamour for changes to the FPTP electoral system and replaces it with Alternate Vote system. The AV system is a complicated voting system that calls for voters to rank the candidates with their preferred candidate being ranked first and so on. Candidates are perceived to be elected if they garner more than half of the preference votes cast (Ruhnau, 2013, p. 12). If such on outcome does not happen, the candidate with least votes is dropped and their votes tallied again to the next marked preference. The tallying process continues till one candidates get the requisite fifty percent of preference votes, and that would be the candidate the AV system declares the winner and duly elected representative of the given constituency. The discussion on the changes to the election system was put to a referendum in 2011 where the United Kingdom citizens were asked whether the electoral system should be changed from First Past the Post with Alternative Voting system, the referendum returned a resounding no vote against the Alternative Voting system.
Barrington, L 2012, Comparative Politics: Structures and Choices, Boston, Cengage Learning.
Cabinet Office, 2013, Reforming the constitution and political system
Catterall, P, Kaiser, W & Walton-Jordan, U 2000, Reforming the Constitution: Debates in Twentieth-century Britain, Oxford, Psychology Press.
Hockman, S & Bogdanor, V n.d., Towards a codified Constitution.
http://www.6pumpcourt.co.uk/files/articles/Towards a codified constitution[1].pdf
Ingle, S 2008, The British Party System: An introduction, Routledge.
Morrison, J 2013, Essential Public Affairs for Journalists, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Pryor, J 2007 Unwritten constitutions? European Journal of English Studies, Vol. 11 no. 1, pp.79-92
Ruhnau, S 2013, The British Electoral System – A Democratic One? Munich, GRIN Verlag.
Smith, R 2010, The American Anomaly: U.S. Politics and Government in Comparative Perspective, London, Taylor & Francis.
Stater, V 2004, The House of Commons 1690-1715, Seventeenth Century News, Vol. 62 nos. 2-3, pp. 241-246,
Turpin, C & Tomkins, A 2011, British Government and the Constitution: Text and Materials, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Political Thinking of Ibn Taymiyyah

“Political thinking of Ibn Taymiyyah”
This report is an analysis of the political thought of “IBN TAYMIYYA”, in full “Taqi-al-din’ Abu-al-Abbas’ Ahmed Ibn Ab-Dal-Salam’ Ibn Abd-Allah’ Ibn Muhammed Ibn Taymiyyah (1263-1328 CE).He was one of Islam’s most forceful theologians, great Islamic scholar, jurist and logician of his time, he also produced many works on these topics. He was also the source of Wahabbiya, a traditionalist movement of Islam. The objective of this research is to show that how Ibn Taymmiya’s political theory provided the critical framework for Sunni caliphate theory, shiaite immamaite theory and for the models provided by the different Muslim philosophers and sufists theologians.
When in 1258, the Abbasid dynasty disappeared and Baghdad was captured by the Mongols, religious legitimacy through the caliphs recognition was no longer an option for the new dynasties. In these circumstamstances, Ibn Taymiyyah attended to give a religious legitimacy to the rulers through the concept of “Governance in the name of sacred law” (siyasa alshar’iyya) 1 and principle of religious and political censorship that obliges all Muslim to “command the good and forbid evil”(hisba) 1
Meanings of Sacred law:
The term sacred law is used in the three meanings2

The revealed law (al-shar’ al-munnzal)
The interpreted law (al-shar’ al-mu’awwal)
The perverted law (al-shar’ al-mubaddal)

The revealed law:
What the prophet (peace be upon him) brought, one has to follow it and whoever disobeys it has to be punished.
The interpreted law:
These are the legal opinions of the jurists who bring them by their own reasoning. Nobody is entitled to impose it on people nor should all people be forbidden (to follow) it.
The perverted law:
It lies against God and Prophet (Peace be upon him), or against people through false testimony and other things, and of clear injustice.3
Importance of Government:
Ibn Taymiyyah regarded the institution of government as indispensable. Ibn Taymiyyah gives the idea that religion cannot be established without government and the duty of commanding the good and forbidding evil cannot be discharged without power and authority and this applies to all religious duties for helping those who are wronged and to be punished with the accordance of legal penalties.4
Ibn Taymiyyah emphasizes that the necessary objective of those in authority (Wilaya) is to improve the material and religious conditions of the people in preparation for life to come. 5
Leader of State:
Ibn Taymiyyah believes that for appointment to a public office the most suitable person should be chosen on grounds of relevant competence (quwwah) and integrity (amanah), the two most necessary qualities. However a person possessing both the qualities in equal measure is difficult to find, therefore a person who will be appearing as a leader should be a Best Muslim 6
Role of government:
Ibn Taymiyyah started his book with the following verses of Quran;
“Surely Allah commands you to make over trusts to those worthy of them, and that when you judge between people, you judge with justice. Surely Allah admonishes you with what is excellent. Surely Allah is ever Hearing, Seeing. O you who believe, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority from among you; then if you quarrel about anything refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. This is best and more likely to (achieve) the end.”
Ibn Taymiyyah remarks the above Quranic verse, revealed “in connection with those in authority; they should makeover trust to those worthy of them and they should administer justice fairly.” 7
Ibn Taymiyyah gives the idea on role of government by narrating the following Ahadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him);
“Everyone of you is a shepherd, and everyone of you is responsible for his flock; the Caliph who rules the people is a shepherd and he is responsible for those whom he governs; the woman is a shepherdess in her husband’s house, and she is responsible for the household; the youngster is a shepherd in regard to his father’s wealth, and he is responsible for the money at his disposal; the slave is a shepherd as regards to his master’s possessions, and he is responsible for these possessions. Lo! Every one of you is a shepherd and every one of you is responsible for his flock”(Sahihayn Hadith).
“Any shepherd to whom Allah has entrusted his flock who dies one day, after having cheated his subjects (but without repenting of his faults), Allah will not allow him to breathe the odor of Paradise.”(Sahih Muslim).
Ibn Taymiyyah explained the ahadith as; “Creatures are the servants of Allah, and viceroys represent Allah among his servants; they are the overseers of these servants: they occupy a position similar to that of the two partners in relation to each other; they partake of the function of the viceroy and of the legal representative. When the custodian or the legal representative delegates some of his power to another man, when he could have delegated it to a man more expert in commerce or in the administration of lands and buildings, or when he sells the goods at a low price, and a purchaser willing to pay a higher price is available, then this custodian or legal representative has cheated the man who entrusted him with his affairs. More especially if there was between the custodian and the delegate a friendship or relationship. The custodian would then hate the appointed delegate and disdain him and consider that the delegate has cheated him to do a favor to a relative or friend of his.” 8

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According to Ibn Taymiyyah ruler’s duty to prepare the people spiritually for the life hereafter .The state leader should be commanding good and forbidding evil and he along with his subordinates should always be guided by the demands of Quran and Sunnah. But if government does not know how to apply the teachings of Islam to the particular problem, he must consult the advice of the Ulema.9
It is evident according to Ibn Taymiyyah, the aim of the government is to try to reform the religious life of the people, otherwise the people will be at great lossand would not benefit by what they may enjoy in this world. Also, a reformation of the worldly affairs is necessary for the establishment of the Religion.”10
According to Ibn Taymiyyah;

Islamic state is based on the idea of public trust
Islamic state meant to be run by the consultation
The main goal of Islamic state is to enforce shariyah

The Leader of the Islamic state should be the Best Muslim
Anarchy is preferable to authority

Baber Johansen, A perfect Law in imperfect society, (London: I.B. Tauris, 2008) p.261
Baber Johansen, A perfect Law in imperfect society, (London: I.B. Tauris, 2008) p.264
MajmÅ« {Fatāwā, 3:268; cf. Wāsi¢iyya (“Introduction”), p.29–30.
Ibn Taymiyyah, al-siyassa al-shar’iyah (cairo :dar al-sha’b 1971),p.185
Ibn Taimiyah, Al-Siyasah al-Shar’iyah, op. cit., p. 36
Cf. Ibn Taimiyah, al-Siyasah al-Shar’iyah, op. cit., pp. 25-33
Ibn taymiyya,al siyassa al sahriyah (cairo :dar al-sha’b 1971),p.12
Ibn Taymiyyah, al-siyassa al-sahriyah (cairo :dar al-sha’b 1971),p.21
(ibid ,p55)
Ibn Taymiyyah, al-siyassa al-sahriyah (cairo :dar al-sha’b 1971),p.32


Locke’s Justification of Rebellion and Political Obligation

‘Locke provides a better justification of rebellion than of political obligation.’ Discuss.
‘Two Treatises
of Government’ was published anonymously in 1689, but – very likely – Locke
wrote it between 1681 and 1683, therefore placing at the wake of the Exclusion
Crisis (1679–1681). Locke’s main scope with his ‘Treatise’ is supporting Lord
Shaftesbury’s and the Whigs’ cause against Charles II. This essay will argue
that – in line with the aforesaid political beliefs – Locke makes a better
argument for resistance, than for political obligation. In making this
argument, the essay will engage with concepts of property, consent, rebellion
and resistance in Locke’s ‘Second Treatise’. The starting point will be Locke’s
‘State of Nature’ and ‘Social Contract’. It will be then assessed the case that
Locke makes for consent and political obligation. Finally, the essay will
engage with Locke’s legitimation for revolution.

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With the ‘Second
Treatise’, Locke formulates his political theory around the idea of ‘State of
Nature’, namely the state in which ‘all Men are naturally in’, prior the
formation of the civil society (T II.ii.4-5; T II.vi.67; Rawls, 2005, pp.
103-174). In this condition, there are no forms of subordination or subjugation
and men are perfectly equal and free to act and dispose of their properties and
persons as they think is best, ‘within the bounds of the Law of Nature’ (T
II.ii.6). In other words, the ‘State of Nature’ is indeed to be intended as a
State of Liberty, but it is – by no means – a ‘State of Licence’. Although
there is no civil authority implementing the law, the ‘State of Nature’ is not
amoral. As men are rational and equal, they are equally capable to discover and
respect the ‘Law of Nature’. Hence, the law exists in both pre-political and
political states, playing the crucial role of establishing order and allowing
freedom (T II.ii.8; T II.ii.11; cf. T II.xi.135; Ashcraft, 1999; Rawls, 2005,
pp. 103-174).
Lockean ‘State
of Nature’ is characterized by natural positive moral features and structured
on the fundamental relationship between God and man (Ashcraft, 2005, p. 239;
Rawls, 2005, pp.103-174). It is precisely God who imposes the ‘Law of Nature’,
in order to refrain people from hurting one another and to promote the
preservation of mankind (T II.ii.6—8). Thus, the Law of Nature grant
individuals the right and duty to preserve themselves and to punish those who
undermine others’ freedom. What needs to be noticed, is that the ‘right’ to use
power over another individual is always concerned in preserving the whole
mankind, not in favoring one individual (T II.ii.6; T II.xi.135; T II.xiv.159;
T II.xv.171; T II.xvi.183; Ashcraft, 2005, p. 240).
Thanks to the
‘Law of Nature’, the Lockean pre-social condition is potentially peaceful.
However, it is underpinned by what could be defined as an ‘uncertainty of
reciprocity’. Every individual has the possibility comply with and enforce the
natural law, but some might decide not to do so. Furthermore, even in the case
in which all the individuals effectively enforce the law of nature, they do so
by their own judgements, possibly resulting in confusion and conflict
(Kilcullen, 1983; Dunn, 1967). Moreover, Locke argues, the right to punish
offenders who ‘are not under the ties of Common Law of Reason’ could cause
disorder as self-love would induce people to forgive their and their friends’
faults, while ‘Ill Nature, Passion and Revenge’ would drive them to
over-punishing others (T II.iii.16; Arshcraft, 1999; Kilcullen, 1983). Hence,
on one hand for men is extremely inappropriate to judge their own cases,
especially if desiring and pursuing harmony and fairness; on the other, justice
must be applied, and transgressors must be punished (Kilcullen, 1983;
Arshcraft, 1999; Rawls, 2005, pp. 103-174).
Locke traces the
remedy to these ‘inconveniences’ of the ‘State of Nature’ in the establishment
of a political society or ‘commonwealth’. The Lockean social compact,
therefore, is created when free people, voluntarily come together in creating a
community based the enforcement of the law of nature and the mutual
preservation of properties, lives and liberties (Arshcraft, 1999; Rawls, 2005,
pp. 103-174). This can only be accomplished through the promulgation of a
known, unbiased, and well-defined law, implemented by impartial judges or
magistrates and backed by a power that ‘support the sentence when right’ and
rightful execute it (T II.ii.15; Kilcullen 1983 Arshcraft, 1999; Rawls, 2005,
pp. 103-174). In Locke’s view, men in civil societies do retain their freedom
and natural rights in their totality. What they do surrender is their right to
act for self-preservation – delegating it to the society legislative power –
and their right to punish others – delegating it to the society executive power
(T II.ii.15).
In giving up
these rights, people agree to leave the state of nature and form ‘one body
politic under one rule’, submitting themselves to the will of the majority.
Locke emphasizes that the social contract is founded on free and voluntarily
consent expressed by the individuals (T II.ii.15).
However, the one
might contest that only the people who originally agree to the compact have
actually consented to their government. This is problematic, as it would be
impossible to form a legitimate government. Locke assesses this problem and
solve it with the doctrine of tacit consent – i.e. individual automatically
agree to the contract when reside or even simply walk the street of a country –
as they are bounded to obey the laws – and when individuals inherent properties
– as the original owner of the property agree to the jurisdiction of the common
wealth over that property (T II.ii.120). Many scholars (Simmons, 1992; Ryan,
1965) have argued against these claims; however, as Pitkin (1965) claims, in
Locke’s argument, consent is not as significant as it appears. She argues that
Locke can allow for a ‘looser’ definition of consent, since the character and
forms of governments and political obligation are firstly set out by the
natural law. If consent was foundational in Locke’s account, then it would be
expressed by the compact. Therefore, what matters, is the quality of the
government before consent, political obligation and governments’ legitimacy
(Pitkin, 1965).
Surely, Locke’s
poorly argues consent and political obligation. However, it does so because, as
mentioned, his first interest is providing a justification for legitimate
revolution in supporting Shaftesbury (Dunn, 1967). In analyzing this, it will
be necessary to better understand the Lockean idea of property, as the lead to
a right to resistance towards a rebelling government – i.e. an unjust one.
Locke provides a
first definition of property as ‘life, liberty, and estate’ (T II.vii.87).
However, following this, he often interchanges the ‘property’ and ‘estate’.
This created considerable debate as it is unclear if liberty and life form part
of property as well as estate.
This is relevant
to the scope of this essay, since as the definition of property changes, also
changes the definition of justified resistance. However, Simmons argues – is
restrictive, as it does not consider Locke’s full account of property, namely:
“whatever a man has right to” (Simmons, 1992, p.222, see also Ryan,1965 and
Tuckness, 1999). Furthermore, restricting property to estates would be arguing
that who does not have estates cannot form part of the political society.
However, Locke does not posit precondition on whom is allows to consent the
compact (T II.vii.95, see also Ryan, 1965 and Tuckness, 1999). Considering
these, property must be defined as life, liberty and estate.
Having a precise
definition of property allows to see property as a sub-category of the natural
laws. Wrongly, natural rights in Locke’s work are perceived as inalienable.
However, Locke states that has one transgress the law of nature, he has
forfeited all his natural rights (T II.iii.16). As they are forfeitable,
natural rights are not alienable. What is also confusing, it is the fact that
men’s natural right to life is attributed to the ownership of God, rather than to
the men themselves. Therefore, men cannot kill others or suicide, as their life
belongs to God. Nevertheless, also life is alienable (Simmons, 1983, p.188).
As already
mentioned, Locke argues that human beings are perfectly rational in the state
of nature. From this, it can be inferred that men would not commit a crime and
harm some else’s property. Nevertheless, Locke also argues that men can be
biased and flawed, therefore the need for a government to regulate lives. Therefore,
people entrust the ruler their executive and legislative powers, so that he can
implement the law of nature. When the ruler stops enacting them, revolution is
allowed. The right to revolution is not be interchanged with the right to
rebellion: to rebel is to break the law of government and bring back the state
of war (T II.xix.226). Locke’s ‘right to rebellion’ can be defined as concept
of negative liberty (Berlin, 1958, p.122). As Locke makes clear, men are free
to do as they please in those areas not controlled neither by the government,
nor by the civil law. In this sense, Locke defends negative law. Therefore, he
is against an absolutist ruler: liberty is part of one’s property and negative
liberty is an alternative to express the right of resistance (Simmons, 1983,
p.191). This is why he is so opposed to arbitrary power and committed to the
rule of law. Following Locke’s argument and that one’s liberty is a part of his
property; the preservation of negative liberty is certainly an alternative way
of expressing the right to resistance.
Locke argues that resistance is acceptable when the king becomes a tyrant (Ashcraft, 1980, 1999). Tyranny occurs when the ruler ‘makes not the Law, but his Will, the Rule’, directing his actions and political power towards personal aims, rather than in promoting the common good (TII.xviii.199).The tyrant uses ‘force without Authority’, de facto exceeding the limits of the law (TII.xiii.155; TII.xviii.202; TI.xix.227; TII.xix.232). Formally, this bounds the exercise of political authority within the law, providing an account of political power’s nature and limits (Ashcraft, 1999). While some might argue that this gives a right to people to resist anything, Locke argues that people are not likely to easily resist forms of government, as they do not wish to get “out of their old Forms” (T II.xix.223). Therefore, people need to be “generally ill treated” before they attempt resistance (T II.xix.224). This is further expanded by Dunn, who argues that, as men enter the social contract based on a desire of security, they will accept small injustices from the ruler. Only in a destructive power, people will exercise their right to resistance (Dunn, 1969, p.183).
Locke’s expansion on themes as resistance, rebellion and tyranny provide the rightful justification for revolution, while delineating the nature and roles of the state. His focus on these ideas is product of his historical background and political beliefs. Nevertheless, it is to note that ultimately consent, political obligation, resistance and property are all crucial elements in Locke’s argument as they are all necessary in men’s self-protection.
Laslett, P. (1988), Introduction in Locke: Two Treatises of Government, Peter Laslett (ed). 1988: Cambridge University Press.Dunn, J. (1967), Consent in the Political Theory of John Locke in The Historical Journal. (1967: X, 2, pp. 153-182).John Locke 1689, Two Treatises of Government, P. Laslett (ed.), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988Simmons, A. John, 1992, The Lockean Theory of Rights, Princeton: Princeton University Press.–––, 1993, On The Edge of Anarchy: Locke, Consent, and the Limits of Society, Princeton: Princeton University Press.Pitkin, Hanna, 1965, “Obligation and Consent I”, American Political Science Review, 59: 991–999.Nozick, Robert, 1974. Anarchy, State, and Utopia, New York: Basic Books.Macpherson, C.B., 1962, The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke, Oxford: Clarendon Press.Ryan, Alan, 1965, “John Locke and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat”, Political Studies, 13: 219–230.Tuckness, Alex, 1999, “The Coherence of a Mind: John Locke and the Law of Nature”, Journal of the History of Philosophy, 37: 73–90.

Communities’ Political Economic Systems; Forces, Differences and Features


History generally uses written and oral sources as the primary tools; however, artifacts have proved to be more useful than the two in the context of ancient civilization. This research will be based on the three sources in an attempt to reveal the actual forces behind the political-economic systems in early history, specific to Paleolithic, Early Agricultural states, natives of the city-states, and the Universal Empires. Paleolithic is a term for Stone Age period; a time in the history of humans characterized by hunting, foraging, and fishing as the sources of livelihood. With the quick expansion of the human population lead to the constraints of the natural resources, it was inevitable for humans to advent into agriculture and later the rise of empires and dynasties. The gradual emergence of human civilization was as a result of universal forces related to culture, social compositions of the communities, and trade relationships. Therefore, this paper covers the three variables about the political-economic systems over time to reveal the standard features and differences in the political economic systems in the communities about change in time.

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To begin with, Paleolithic period dates back to between 150,000 and 12,000 years ago as estimated by the anthropologists characterized by Kinship production system; however, it was until 11,000 years ago when the hunting and gathering systems began to transform in the process of adaptation to new environments through migration (Shostak, 8-10). This saw man’s quest to develop tools and methods that could equip them in the process of making the best of their respective environmental constraints. Most studies of early man often focus on the on biological evolution and the natural selection. In both accounts of human existence, sociocultural evolution best explains the ways in which the early human societies created their political economic systems. According to Sahlin (pg. 186), Paleolithic humans never depended solely in the cave life, in which they were only to be concerned on conquering the next meal, but according to the archaeological evidence, the community had systems of religious beliefs characterized by religious beliefs and rituals such as burying the dead. Such religion dates back to the creation account at the time when morals were the significant laws (Genesis 3:1-2). The verses capture the instructions given by God as a reference to guide man since breaking them has consequences; this proves that beliefs were the dominant driving force behind culture and therefore the political economic systems. Culture is what enabled the communities to survive and flourish in the unique but rather dynamic ways.

The late Paleolithic society, just before the introduction of agriculture, was characterized by little or no control of the environment. Therefore, the focus was only on staking out territory and negotiation of relationships with the neighboring communities. The activities gradually led to the creation of small temporary settlements around the natural water bodies. These settlements eventually allowed for the division of labor along the gender lines. The women became gatherers, cooks, and reared children while men hunted (Shostak, 5-10). The archaeological evidence further shows that the Middle Paleolithic cultures in Eurasia divided work almost equally among men and women; this explains the differences in political economic systems dictated by the gender-based roles.  Such gender dynamics are specific to the Paleolithic periods because today, a division of labor on a gender basis no longer indicates the difference in equality and power as it was in the case.

Cultural evolution alone wasn’t sufficient enough to help humans cope with the demands of nature. The onset of agricultural societies saw the need to limit conflicts and competition due to the increased human population and the introduction of human settlement. The constraints of the available natural resources facilitated the need for division of labor, security, and new production patterns that were exogamous. The communities had to disintegrate into social classes to fill such positions; this was the onset political economic system in the early agriculturalists. The major political economic systems among the agriculturalists included slavery and feudalism. Some of the systems mentioned are ancient, dating back approximately 100,000 years ago. However, the other political economic systems appeared recently. Such include feudalism, capitalism, and socialism. The most common system among agriculturalists is feudalism common in Western Europe as well as parts of Eastern Europe, China, and Japan. Feudalism varied significantly with the regions however certain forces were common. One is the social classes; serfs and lords. Serfs included the small farmers who owned tools and animals while the lords were the dominant class. The feudal political economic systems were based on coercion and consent in which the power of the nobility gives them the legal rights to use coercion to keep the system in check. Even in this case, there are aspects of religion owing to the revolutions against the nobility and the church in Germany by 1525 (Sahlins, 204). The idea of hierarchy and authority was rather natural among these societies especially in Western Europe based on the belief that the higher someone was placed in the social hierarchy, the closer to perfection the individual was. Therefore, everyone had to respect the pre-existing customs. Meaning the basis of political economic systems was a mix of hierarchy and religion.

Slavery as a force was common among the agriculturalists forcing the system to adopt a master-slave relationship as the driving force of the political economic system. Occasionally, the societies’ economy was founded on the services of the slaves that included farm labor, mining and overseeing the running of the households. Others largely depended on slaves as the most significant part of their production; those included the Ottoman Empire and Kwakiutl Indians of North-West America (Sahlins, 199). Some of the best-known slave economies had good agricultural foundations; however, such societies rarely achieved rapid rates of economic growth. The denizens of city-states and Universal empires are other categories of communities that employed a mix of kinship, capitalism, and slavery as their political economic sub-systems. First, the capitalist’s system was made up of two major classes namely the employers and employees. The employers dominated the society and took charge of the social and political matters in their dynasties or city-states. In this case, there are unique criteria in this economic system; production of commodities, production for profit, private ownership, the existence of wage labor. In the universal empires, the most common system is kinship production motivated by the desire to unite behind a stronger force. The system was developed into tribes from the unity of several kinships and informal alliances that in turn engaged in production as a single group (Harper, 106). Since the groups can’t make their own economic decisions, the tribes opt to develop into chiefdoms that have more formal leadership structures. Those within the ruling families have the political, economic dominance as leadership is passed from generations within the royal families.

The political economic differences evident among the communities discussed above are based on time. The older communities; Paleolithic and early Agriculturalists based their systems on religion and direct production which was characterized by division of labor on gender perspectives. However, the two communities differ upon the introduction of settled life among the early agriculturalists as opposed to the paleolithic period of hunting and gathering. It is important to note that the onset of settlement began in the late paleolithic period but they were temporary. The city-states and the universal empires, on the other hand, never used the division of labor but depended on feudalism, slavery, and kinship systems that placed other classes as workers while the upper classes owned the society (George, 87). Technology is also a major distinguishing feature between the communities since stone tools are perhaps the only cultural artifacts in the Paleolithic age. Agriculture brought wealth that could be exchanged for better equipment and armor. With time, communities developed strong defense systems based on improved armor and tools. Also important is that the Universal Empires are the only societies that employed feudal systems due to the affluent families and belief in the laws.

Despite the differences, there are political, economic features that remained relevant with changes in time. For instance, frequently did particular societies employ many different economic systems of capitalism, kinship production, and slavery.  According to Marx, production consists of three aspects; ownership, roles in the production process, and the distribution pattern. Despite the differences in the ways of production dictated by time, there must be production relations. Generally, the productive forces are revealed as the major determinants of the historical, political economic developments. Kinship system proved to exist through all the communities beginning with the Neolithic period of hunting and gathering where people often grouped on the basis of tribe membership however it was relatively flexible with evidence of the tendency to be matrilineal. Sahlins challenges the common view that the hunters and gatherers lived in solitary and poor conditions by stating that they worked few hours and enjoyed leisure compared to the late kinship systems basing their affluence to the idea of satisfaction out of the little material sense (Sahlins, 187). Agriculturalists also shared the practice of hunting-gathering in the winters. Most societies also went hunting for leisure. There are other contemporary hunting and gathering communities, a culture borrowed from other societies with some modifications especially in the 21st century. Never-the-less, agriculture also proves to be the backbone of economic prosperity of modern societies owing to the increased technology, new farming methods, and specialization.


Barker, K. L., & Burdick, D. W. (Eds.). (1985). The NIV study bible, new international version. Zodervan.

George, A. (Ed.). (2002). The epic of Gilgamesh: the Babylonian epic poem and other texts in Akkadian and Sumerian. Penguin.

Harper, R. F. (1999). The Code of Hammurabi, King of Babylon: About 2250 BC: Autographed Text, Transliteration, Translation, Glossary Index of Subjects, Lists of Proper Names, Signs, Numerals… The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd.

Sahlins, M. (1998). The original affluent society. Limited wants, unlimited means: A reader on hunter-gatherer economics and the environment, 5-41.

Sahlins, M. D. (1999). The sociology of primitive exchange. BERLINER JOURNAL FUR SOZIOLOGIE, 9(2), 149-+.

Shostak, M. (2014). Nisa: The life and words of a! Kung woman. Routledge.


Importance of Political Theory

Political Theory is generating an endless debate about its comprehensive definition; there are several views by theorists in understanding the nature of the discipline. There is need to clarify the meaning of key political ideas such as freedom, equality, justice etc. in a systematic manner. There is need to examine the arguments put forward by various political think-tanks in the justification of these concepts. In examining arguments, there is also need to reflect upon our modern political experiences and spot out trends and expectation for the future.

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Political Theory “is the combination of two words, ‘politics’ and ‘theory’. The word ‘Politics’, here stands for an identification of that which is to be “theorized” or “ understood,” while ‘Theory’ comes from a Greek word called “theorema” which means what emerges from “theorizing.” ‘Theoros’ which means an intelligent observer, one who looks at what is going on, asking questions about it and tries to understand it. (LSE 1/1/54. Autograph).” John Plamenatz described political theory as the ‘systematic thinking about the purposes of government’ (Plamenatz, 1960: 37) and I think this definition is just as apt today as it was then. Political theory is, however, usually regarded as a distinctive approach to the subject, even though, particularly in the USA, it is seen as a subfield of political science involves the analytical study of ideas and doctrines that have been central to political thought (Heywood, A. 2004). Political theory According to Farrell C. (2004), Political theory is thus a normative discipline; it is primarily concerned with how things ought to be as opposed to how things actually are.
Leftwitch (1994), points out that one of the main contribution of political philosophy to our understanding of politics, is the potential for developing consistency and clarity of thought and judgment and that this process of clarification is not about analytical or explanatory activity: it is also about listening. According to Leftwitch politics is about conflict and its resolution, and resolving conflicts of interest occurs in all societies at all levels.
Philosophical questions such as the nature of truth, will, determinism, etc. play a crucial role in argumentation, but we prefer the term “theory” because it seems less daunting and abstract; however we don’t see any substantive difference between theory and philosophy (Hoffman, etal, 2009). Political theory is not a question of whether political animals follow theory, but a question of which theory or concept is supported when they present policies and undertake actions (Hoffman, etal, 2009). Theory and concept are tools used interchangeably for political analysis with which we think, criticize, argue, explain and analyze to guide and inform political action. To argue that something is true is not to cast out all doubt, if something is true this does not also mean that it is not also false. It simply means that on balance one proposition is truer or less false than the other. To argue otherwise is to assume that a phenomenon has to be one thing or another; philosophers call this dualistic approach (Hoffman, etal, 2009)”.
Theorists are not only important to politicians: our notions of common sense and human nature are heavily infused with the views of thinkers we may never have heard of, for instance, Ben Barber tells us in his website that he was an informal advisor to President Bill Clinton between 1994 and 1999 because of his ability to bridge the “world of theory and practice.” I can contest as to whether the political leaders, acts according to the right political concepts, but it is irrefutable that their dealings are connected to theory. In relationship to what Hoffman says, to point out that “democracy” is good is both true or false, because even the true democrats would acknowledge some shortcomings of democracy and even the aggressive critics would agree that it has some positive component.
According to Friedman, this vital freedom is found only in free market capitalist economies, in which ‘freedom’ in effect means the absence of government interference’. According to Mills (1859), “if all of mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one other person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would no more be justified in silencing that person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.” Thomas Hobbes for instance, described freedom as the ‘silence of the laws’. John Locke suggested that law does not restrict liberty as much as defend or enlarge it. Therefore I can argue that while I agree that individuals should be forced to be free on the other hand unconstrained freedom or liberty could amount to the infringement of other people’s rights. For example, people should be forced or encouraged to express their freedom of expression or movement or demonstration while taking into consideration the rights of others without infringing their rights.
The idea of equality is perhaps the defining feature of modern political thought (Heywood, A. 2004). The most noticeable, and perhaps most imperative, manifestation of formal equality is the principle of legal equality, or ‘equality before the law’. In constructing his theory of ‘justice as fairness,’ Rawls appeals to the idea of the social contract. Cohen, portrayed legal equality as ‘market’ or ‘bourgeois’ equality, and argued that it operates as little more than a facade, serving to disguise the reality of exploitation and economic inequality. In constructing his theory of ‘justice as fairness,’ Rawls appeals to the idea of the social contract. A liberalist view, every person is blessed with reason or will, which hinges on individual rights, beliefs of rationality and self-interested. In true sense, however, equality does not mean the same treatment in as much as there can be no likeness of treatment as long as people differ in want, capacity and need etc.
As Walzer argued, different principles of justice may therefore be appropriate in different spheres of life. Rawls’s theory of the difference principle does permit inequality it does so only when such inequalities benefit everyone, especially the least advantaged. Dworkin’s principle, (2000) of equal concern requires us to compensate those who have handicaps and little native (or non-marketable) talents, there is a difference between someone who is less advantaged as a result of circumstances beyond their control (for example, being born with a severe handicap) and someone who is less advantaged as a result of their own choice (for example, choosing to live off welfare payments instead of working). For instance, when the government distributes fertilizer-subsidy or food items to the disadvantaged- I slightly agree with Rawls difference principle on one hand I do not agree on the other, especially the identification of the least advantaged. It is a little bit tricky for someone to qualify as a genuine needy person because it could encourage laziness to those who pretend to be the poorest. It is better for anybody to sweat in order to get something rather than getting anything on silver tray.
History is evidently important, as part of exploration into modern challenges. My view, ‘political theory,’ is the ability to inquire into the political activity by using analytical tools such as concept, model and theory to dissect by believing the answers to the questions examined to have an important impact of what goes on in the real world. It is important for political academics to develop the critical skills necessary to explore new experience and new knowledge through the analysis of political ideas and their relationship to political practice. This experience in-turn informs the future. I can argue that academic political theory should ascertain to enhance the quality of public political debate.
Farrelly C. (2004). Introduction to Contemporary Political Theory.
Heywood, A. (2004). Political Theory: An Introduction, 4th edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hoffman J and Graham P. (2009). Introduction to Political Theory.
Leftwitch A. (1994). What is Politics?

Political Theories in Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins

From the beginning of Mockingjay, we are confronted with the prospect of a brutal conflict between the Districts and the Capitol for control of Panem. For both parties, the conflict is critical. For the capitol it is an opportunity to extinguish the flames of rebellion, and for the districts, it is an opportunity to win their freedom. In order to achieve these ends, control of the country is critical in order to either maintain, or acquire the power necessary to achieve their objectives. Power can be most simply defined as the influence that A has on B in order for B to do a task b that B would not ordinarily do without the influence, whether consciously or subconsciously of A. In Mockingjay, the interactions Collins develops all use power in its most basic form, and this effects every major interaction between the societies, individuals, and governments presented in the novel.

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These two societies, The Capitol, and The Districts (primarily District 13), provide the framework for the power structures within the novel to exist. District 13 is a highly regimented autocratic society, with each citizen having responsibility and purpose. It is unknown to us the exact government structure and mechanisms of District 13, but it is known that President Coin exerts near unlimited executive power over District 13.
We are introduced to the makeup of this society when Katniss and the other refugees from District 12 arrive at District 13 where they are immediately instructed to conform to their new role. German sociologist Max Weber suggests that classes, status groups, and political parties are considered to be associated with power, attempting to achieve one’s will, even in the face of opposition from others. We see that District 13’s power structure is imposed on the newcomers rather swiftly, and met with mixed reactions. Most, such as Katniss’s mother, are grateful for District 13’s ‘generosity’ and conform quickly falling into the status group of “nurse” which is a valuable to the functioning of District 13, and is then accorded the privileges of that group as a reward for fulfilling her responsibilities. Others, such as Katniss, are more reluctant to do so. In the case of Katniss, we know that she does not need to conform to the expectations imposed on her by District 13, because she has power as a symbol. For Coin, being able to control or influence Katniss by winning her favour is more valuable to her goals than the possibility of alienating her by forcing her to conform to the societal expectations that would otherwise be imposed on her.
It is important to consider why the District 12 refugees conform to the expectations of their new society. Weber argues that status honour is a more important source of group social action than is class or relation to markets. Status groups can do this in various ways. Status may be a means of maintaining the position of a group that does have privilege. The status group may be closed, with privileges available only to those in the group, and denied to those outside the group. Further, a status group may lead to the development of parties to further some specific interests of the status group. Thus, status groups may become the means by which power or authority is exercised. Social honour may be accorded those who behave in the manner considered desirable by the status group. In this way, the ends of a status group may be furthered. Social approval is a means of achieving the ends of the group while social disapproval may be used as a means of disciplining those who do not behave in the approved manner. (Weber 1920) Therefore, in order for the citizens of District 12 to be accepted into their new society, they must act in a way that would gain them entrance into new status groups within District 13. Due to Katniss’s privilege as the Mockingjay, and the alignment of Coin’s goals, Katniss finds herself in a far higher status group that affords her more freedoms that would not normally be available to most other citizens of Districts 12 and 13.
The premise of the story is that there is a brewing civil war between the rebelling Districts (led by District 13) and the loyalists (led by The Capitol). The rebel vs. government relationship is important when discussing traditional vs. revolutionary power, which was outlined by Bertrand Russell. For Russell, all topics in the social sciences are merely examinations of the different forms of power – chiefly the economic, military, cultural, and civil forms. (Russell 1938, 35) Although Russell discusses many aspects of power in his book, a couple concepts stand out when discussing the power dynamics in Mockingjay. One of these is the concept of traditional power. By “traditional power”, Russell has in mind ways in which people will appeal to the force of habit to justify a political regime: traditional power is psychological and not historical. For many of the districts, rule by the capitol is a given, and their rule had gone more or less unquestioned since the first rebellion, with the apparent destruction of District 13. As Russell claims, traditional power need not be based on actual history, but rather be based on imagined or fabricated history. This falls in line with Capitol propaganda, which suggests District 13 was destroyed for disobeying their rule. Thus, the districts are quite content to submitting to Capitol rule.
When District 13 deems itself formidable enough to wage another war, it quickly gains the support of many of the districts. With this, the traditional power of the Capitol begins to end alongside a corresponding change in creeds, heavily influenced by Katniss as the Mockingjay, and President Coin. If the traditional creeds are doubted without any alternative, then the traditional authority relies more and more on the use of naked power, or power by coercion. For the Capitol, this is presented as the games during times of peace, and as force used to supress the dissenting elements of the population in times of turmoil. Where the traditional creeds are wholly replaced with alternative ones, traditional power gives rise to revolutionary power: the goal of the rebel forces.
Russell also tackles role of leadership within power, which is especially relevant within Mockingjay as it explores the dynamic between two powerful leaders, Snow and Coin. Russell claims that this impulse to power is not only explicitly present in leaders, but also sometimes implicitly in those who follow. It is clear that leaders may pursue and profit from enacting their own agenda, but in a “genuinely cooperative enterprise”, the followers seem to gain vicariously from the achievements of the leader, or at least believe the propaganda that is being fed to them. The existence of implicit power, he explains, is why people are capable of tolerating social inequality for an extended period of time (Russell 1938, 16).
To extend upon this point, Noam Chomsky suggests that individuals use their individual agency to abrogate their responsibility to think and will actions for themselves. (Chomsky 1999, 53) Although this definition is very broad, it can be used to explain the popular uprisings that occurred whenever the District 13 armed forces entered into a new district, where they were generally greeted as liberators instead of conquerors. Chomsky asserts that authority, unless justified, is inherently illegitimate, and that the burden of proof is on those in authority. If this burden cannot be met, the authority in question should be dismantled. After the introduction of District 13 propaganda, this begins to reflect the view of the majority of the districts. This damages the legitimacy of the Capitol in the eyes of the districts, despite the once effective Capitol counter propaganda proclaiming that they bring security and stability.
Institutions such as the hunger games and repressive rule primarily promote this illusion of security. The name of the country: “Panem”, itself is an allusion to the doctrine of the Roman Empire: panem et circenses, (bread and circuses) which suggests that a distracted populace that’s well fed and entertained will not be willing to rise against the existing power structure, despite any other greivances. (Collins 2010)
While the form of government Panem had prior to President Snow is not stated, it is clear that Snow is a demagogue and likely the office of President grants Snow absolute power. Mayors within the districts act simply as governors, ensuring the districts fulfill their quotas of goods to the Capitol and serve no representative roles as a parliamentarian or senator. As a result, the massive poverty, starvation, and brutality witnessed in the districts is either enforced, or ignored. This concept of direct power that Snow expresses is the one-dimensional view of power. This is called the ‘pluralist’ approach and emphasizes the exercise of power through decision-making and observable behaviour. Robert Dahl, a major proponent of this view, defines power as occurring in a situation where “A has power over B to the extent he can get B to do something that B would not otherwise do” (Lukes 1974). A’s power therefore is defined in terms of B and the extent to which A prevails is determined by its higher ratio of ‘successes’ and ‘defeats’ over B. This kind of overt power is the most observable by an outside party. In the context of the novel, it describes almost all interactions between the governments and their people, be that between Snow and his troops, or Coin and her apparent influence over Katniss.
This critique of the behaviourial focus and the recognition of unobservable factors of power is discussed in the two-dimensional view of power developed by Bachrach and Baratz by which “power is exercised not just upon participants within the decision making process but also towards the exclusion of certain participants and issues altogether” (Lukes 1974). The first dimension claims there is an open system and although admitting that political resources are not distributed equally, they are not centralized in one group’s hands. The second approach however, sees a monopolistic system of inequalities created and maintained by the dominant power. The elite have the means and the political resources to prevent political action that would not benefit themselves. Therefore, the elite determine the agenda of both decision-making and non-decision making. In doing so, they establish their dominance and the subordinance of those on the bottom of the power hierarchy. The capitol, and more directly, Snow, was able to maintain power via use of both legitimate, and during the war, illegitimate means. The government made extensive use of propaganda during the conflict, and maintained the doctrine of panem et circenses to pacify and control the populations. In order to maintain order during the second rebellion, the 13th district, at least in the view of the Capitol, deployed an array of conventional weapons, using unconventional tactics, in order to attack capitol forces and loyalists representing illegitimate power.
Although the two dimensional approach to power delves deeper than the first into the nature of power and powerlessness by involving analyses of potential issues, grievances, nondecision-making and non-participation, Lukes finds that it is inadequate because it emphasizes observable conflict only. Nonetheless, an affinity between the two results in their belief that where there is conflict, there is an element of power in both decision-making and nondecision-making. Barach and Baratz (Lukes 1974) states that if “there is no conflict, overt or covert, the presumption must be that there is consensus on the prevailing allocation of values, in which case nondecision-making is impossible.” Here, there is no consideration of latent conflict or attention as to how interests not consciously articulated may fit into the power relationship. Lukes identifies manipulation and authority as two forms of power, which do not necessarily involve evident conflict. People abide by the power of authority because they either respect or accept its legitimacy. Compliance to the power of manipulation often goes unrecognized by the conformer because focus is placed on irrelevant matters and the key aim is downplayed. In neither is there observable conflict, but latent conflict occurs because the individual may be agreeing to something contrary to their interests without even knowing.
The example that best illustrates this in the novel is that the Capitol government is aware of the citizens of the districts’ suffering, and primarily enforces suffering, (ex: The Hunger Games), as a means of control, and to essentially use the district citizens as slaves to provide for the Capitol’s exorbitant greed. District 2 is of particular note, as they are viewed favourably by the Capitol and typically are more receptive to Capitol policies than other districts, and earnestly believe in serving the Capitol loyally, despite the repressive and subservient nature of their relationship with the Capitol. This is likely not in their interests.
The third dimension of power seeks to identify how A gets B to believe and choose to act in a way that reinforces the bias of the system, advancing the cause of A and impairing that of B, usually in the form of compliance. (Lukes 1974) Such processes can take place in a direct and intended way through media and communication. ‘A’ takes control of the information channels and ‘B’ is socialized into accepting, believing, and even supporting the political notions instilled by ‘A’. The shaping of individual’s conceptions can also take place indirectly or even unintentionally through ones membership in a social structure. Patterns of behaviour, norms and accepted standards apparent in the action and inaction of the group are automatically adopted.
This is relevant when examining the District 13 government and what power it holds. President Coin holds significant executive power over the citizens of 13, as well as other rebel forces. In essence, Coin mirrors Snow especially in regards to the power structure of both governments. Both rule over largely ignorant societies who assume that their leaders have the best interests of the entire nation in mind when they follow them. This, according to Lukes is the highest form of power: one where the subjugated do not consciously realize they are actively being controlled by a higher power. In contrast, Katniss retains power in herself in this form as she has the ability to influence the opinions of the populations of other districts, in her role as the Mockingjay. These districts follow Katniss because she symbolizes their cause: freedom from oppressive rule.
As for what Collins views as the most effective form of power, it is quite clear that her purpose in writing the novel is by no means a treatise on power, rather a soft sci-fi thriller with an otherwise strong and complex female lead. Collin’s inclusion of power is instead a reflection of Russell’s perspective that all relationships and conflicts can be viewed as a power relationship. With that in mind, Collins chose Katniss to be the primary agent in the novel, thus she is the individual that wields the most power, especially as a propaganda tool, as the war is one where the legitimacy of both governments are called into question. Both sides in the conflict are aware of this, and by using primarily Peeta as a pawn, they are able to have an influence over Katniss. Another potentially useful example is the influence that Snow still had on Katniss immediately before he was scheduled to be executed, or the huge influence Katniss as the Mockingjay had over the general population by appearing as a symbol to unite behind. Therefore, it can be said that Collins implicitly demonstrates that the third dimension of power, or power over shaping opinions, is the most significant form of power.
Chomsky, Noam. 1999. Profit over People: neoliberalism and global order. New York: Seven Stories Press.
Collins, Suzanne. 2010. Mockingjay. New York: Scholastic.
Lukes, Steven. 1974. Power: A Radical View. Palgrave MacMillan.
Russell, Bertrand. 1938. Power: A New Social Analysis. London: George Allen & Unwin LTD.
Weber, Max. 1920. “Politics as a Vocation.”

US Political Polarization: Republicans and Democrats

Partisanship has always existed in the United States. Though, there have been periods of decline and resurgence. But since the 1970s America has seen an increase in “party unity” votes in Congress. From 2009 to 2012 party unity votes was around 70%, a clear indication of polarization in Washington.[1] The ideological differences that exist within Congress is also indicative of the attitude of the general public. A majority of people are willing to call themselves Democrats or Republicans. “Party identification, like other attitudes, affects beliefs as well as opinions.”[2] Party affiliation is a significant tool to predict tendencies of voters, those that associate themselves with the Republican Party tend to vote Republican and those associated with the Democratic Party tend to vote Democrat. Presidential performance ratings are indication of polarization amongst the parties. Republicans tend to give a higher approval rating for Republicans and lower rating for Democrats, and the opposite is true for Democrats.[3] Elections and politics in America have become more polarized than ever before. The foundation that created a more polarized America can be found in the changes in the media, campaign financing, and the way candidates are elected.

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The history of news media is one of an evolution of technology, practices, and regulatory environments that transformed the views of America. Years ago, the choices for Americans to get their news were limited to a few TV networks and local newspapers. The government instituted regulations over the broadcast news, such as the equal time provision-which required stations to provide equal access to candidates for office. The long standing FCC policy called the fairness doctrine perhaps was the most impactful in broadcast news. The policy created a condition in which news outlets were not targeting distinct core beliefs. Instead, the policy “required that stations devote a share of airtime to public affairs programming, and that they do so in a manner that is balanced and equitable.” [4] So essentially, people received the similar information at the same time. In the past the national news was delivered by few weekly papers but technological advances brought a great potential market of viewers. The introduction of cable and internet made mass communication easier and cheaper. In 2010, nearly every household in America had access to either: radio, television, and at least one mobile device.[5] Americans enjoy a greater variety of view points, and this abundance of new implies political polarization can occur. Consumers of new media rely on news source they find as reliable and tend to avoid information that contradicts their prior beliefs. Fox news a conservative news outlet has a high believability percentage among Republicans (77% in 2012) and a low believability percentage among Democrats (37% in 2012).[6] Liberal media outlets have a similar ratings, high believability among Democrats and low believability among Republicans. It is safe to assume those with conservative beliefs are more likely to tune into a conservative media outlet and those with liberal views are more likely to tune into a liberal media outlet. These media outlets provide a common narrative on current events, a narrative that is suited for their audience. The audiences in turn are being told what they want to hear. And with the capabilities of the internet, the media outlets are able to target specific audiences and tailor information to reinforce what they already believe. This abundance of new outlets and targeting by the media contributes to political polarization.
Modern campaigns for federal office are generally very expensive. Assembling campaign teams, raising funds, hiring consultants and technical specialists are all activities that cost money. There is no way for most candidates to organize and run a competitive campaign without the flow of money. Currently, money spent on major federal campaigns comes from private sources.[7] Money coming in from private sources raises a couple of problems in elections. Money is distributed unequally, so it threatens democratic equality, meaning, someone with more money could have more influence on the outcome. This also raises the concern that elected officials are more willing to serve their contributors than their constituents. This is entirely possible and could lead to elected officials taking more extreme positions on issues in order to please their contributors. For its part the federal government has stepped in to regulate the flow of campaign financing, creating the FEC to enforce law and to collect and publish detailed information on campaign contributions. A 2010 Supreme Court decision banned all limits on independent spending led to the creation of SuperPACs. SuperPacs are essentially independent committees pushing their own agenda to support a candidate or attack a candidate. Unfortunately, candidates have no control over the SuperPACs and how they spend their money. Nearly $1.3 billion was spent independently on federal campaigns by parties and PACs in 2012.[8] The money generated by the SuperPACS is mostly spent to purchase television adverstising. In 2012, over 3 million political ads aired from January 1 through Election Day.[9] There was a substantial increase in volume and cost of political ads from 2008 to 2012 and a substantial increase in attack ads from 51% of ads aired in 2008 were attack ads to 61% in 2012.[10] At the same time, nonparty independent expenditures in congressional elections grew from $120 million in 2008 to $500 million in 2012.[11] Perhaps there is a correlation between attack ads and raising campaign funds. A campaigns ability to demonize an opponent, which provokes fear and anger among his constituents, is enough to motivate the candidate’s base to donate and turn out to vote.
Polarization in Congress is not new. The extent of Congressional polarization depends on many factors, one being Primary Elections. Elections in Primaries differ than those in a general election. In Primary elections candidates tend to shift their positions either to the left or right end of the spectrum. Once they secured their party’s nomination, they shift their position to a more moderate position to attract independent voters. Candidates follow this method of campaigning because Primary constituents are more extreme than those in a general election.[12] Elections in the America preserves American democracy. Allowing citizens to pick their representatives and replace those that under performed. “The threat of replacement provides elected officials with a powerful incentive to listen to their constituents.”[13] Some voters may punish representatives that make an unpopular vote on issues by replacing him with another representative. This competition in primaries help create polarization within Congress.[14] When faced with competition in the primary election candidates tend to take extreme positions. Republicans candidates that face no competition/opponent had an average primary position .77 and those that encountered an opponent had an average primary position of .85[15], a position further from the center. This is because primary voters care more about a candidate’s positions than the general election voting base. The 2010 Tea Party phenomenon is an example of extreme and engaged primary constituents. The Tea Party movement knocked mainstream conservatives out of the picture, which in turn, hurt the Republican Party in the general election because of their extreme positions. The extremism and activism that exists in primary elections contributes to the political polarization in America.
The ideological divide between Republicans and Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals is real. Polarization is not only present in the branches of government but also among the people. The political system that has been created has contributed greatly to the growth of polarization. The foundations can be traced back to the media’s influence over the public, financing of campaigns and the manner in which the public selects representatives.

[1] Barry Burden, “The Polarizing Effects of Congressional Primaries,” in Galderisi et al. (eds.), CONGRESSIONAL PRIMARIES AND THE POLITICS OF REPRESENTATION (2001).
[2] (KJKV).pg.466.
[3] (KJKV).Pg. 447
[4] (KJKV).pg. 629
[5] (KJKV).pg. 640 – It is entirely possible that despite having a mobile phone, the device may not be able to surf the Web, which limits the potential information sharing in that household.
[6] (KJKV).pg. 638
[7] (KJKV).pg. 508
[8] (KJKV).pg. 511
[9] Erika Franklin Fowler and Travis N. Ridout, “Negative, Angry, and Ubiquitous: Political Advertising in 2012”
[10] Erika Franklin Fowler and Travis N. Ridout, “Negative, Angry, and Ubiquitous: Political Advertising in 2012”
[11] (KJKV).pg. 510
[12] Gary C. Jacobson, “The Electoral Origins of Polarized Politics: Evidence From the 2010 Cooperative Congressional Election Study.” American Behavioral Scientist 56(12) 1612–1630.
[13] (KJKV)Pg. 521
[14] Barry Burden, “The Polarizing Effects of Congressional Primaries,” in Galderisi et al. (eds.), CONGRESSIONAL PRIMARIES AND THE POLITICS OF REPRESENTATION (2001).
[15] Barry Burden, “The Polarizing Effects of Congressional Primaries,” in Galderisi et al. (eds.), CONGRESSIONAL PRIMARIES AND THE POLITICS OF REPRESENTATION (2001).

Saint Thomas Aquinas’ Political Theory Analysis

How did St Thomas Aquinas justify the coercive authority of the state? How did he justify war? Are his justifications of state authority and war compatible? Are they convincing? Why/ Why not?
This essay will critically examine Saint Thomas Aquinas’ political theory on the coercive authority of the state and his justification of war. Authority and power have been utilized as a form of social control to regulate the masses. It ensures the common good for people so that they can live amicably, as much as possible, with one and another (Finnis, 1998). Without some form of social control, there would be questionably, no state. Political authority is not only necessary for social control, but is also necessary to bring all to virtue (Weithman, 1992).
Definition of Terms
In the interests of transparency, key terms in this essay include; the state, authority, legitimacy, law and war. Morris (2011) describes the state to be “the principal political entity or form of political organization”. Narveson (2008) concurs with this assessment of state, only adding that it is a considerable number of people, in the same area, bound by the same government. In Summa Theologica, Aquinas defines law as “a rule or measure of action in virtue of which one is led to perform certain actions” (ST in Coleman). In essence, laws are rules fashioned by the legislature for the benefit, safety and uniformity of civilians. Authority is power of people, of any kind to rule (Narveson, 2008). From this, coercive authority is when power is enforced through suppression of right and the use of fear and distress. It is a common tool in tyrannical or dictatorial government systems. Legitimacy is the compliance and acceptance of rules and laws by society (Vinayagamoorth, 2013). If civilians do not accept direction by the rule maker, their authority is not legitimate. Finally, war is organised conflict between two groups of people (Smith, 2012)
How did he justify the coercive nature of the state?
Power and law making are inextricably linked. The legislator creates laws and as these are enforced, power over the state is defined. Coercive nature stems from the forcible decisions on law that a ruler makes. Aquinas proposes an explanation for this, it is an “ordinance of reason for the common good of a [complete] community, promulgated by the person or body responsible for looking after that community” (Summa Theologica in Finnis, 1998). Aquinas comments in Summa Theologica that the masses have to assent to be ruled and then by “practical proposition” law is made by those who are responsible for ruling (Finnis, 1998). From this it is clear that as long as civilians accept the rule then any law that is made is legitimate. Aquinas observes that “every set of laws is addressed by two kinds of people: the obstinate and the proud who are restrained and disciplined by law and the good who are assisted by the law’s guidance to fulfil their good intentions” (ST) If an authoritative decision is made to solve a problem, then it will be accepted by the masses. Finnis (1998) reinforces this, stating “the authoritative decision, whether legislative, executive or judicial … will not result in co-ordination unless it is accepted as settling the question, and accepted even by those who would have preferred a different decision, a different law”. This has a run- on effect to decisions that are made coercively. By definition, if society assent to the power of legislators, then even autocratic decisions are justified and accepted.
A local example of this, the Clyde River Dam Saga in New Zealand in the 1960’s under the prime ministership of Robert Muldoon.
Aquinas identifies two types of ruling; ordered for governing and for the sake of domination. Ordered for governing is where it is for the good of those who are being ruled. This would be the King, who for the common good makes decisions to help and benefit his subjects. The King is free from coercive restraint, as he can alter it himself. Aquinas comments that he is, however, subject to the laws of God (Dunbabin, 1988). The second, is for the good of the ruler. Aquinas likens this as a master over his slaves (Weithman 1992). Aquinas believes that law, and by explanation the coercive nature of the state is forced onto the community, “citizens don’t have [a] choice about it- it isn’t a piece of advice, it’s an order!” (Narveson, 2008). These orders, have to be rational and more importantly legitimate, “an ordinance of reason for the common good, promulgated and enforced by the one who is in charge of the community” (Summa Theologica). So, as citizens, we accept valid ruling for our benefit and for the benefit of the community. It is trust, that the ruler is making the

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Aquinas is fixated on the notion of the common good. On surface level, this could be likened to peace, success and contentment. Aquinas looks at the best for the most people rather than the best option. Aquinas argued the common good is a reasonable and rational objective for all people. It is from this point that he founded his belief that civilians can disobey laws, as long as disgrace would not result should they choose not to follow (Dunbabin 1988). However, when considering Aquinas’ views on the execution of heretics, it questions whether the common good is only about harmony but rather what the Roman Catholic faith would like to see. In Summa Theologica, Aquinas directly addresses this issue, asserting if heretics cannot be made to see reason by priests, they can be executed.
Aquinas justifies the nature of power and the co-ordination of society by using the law. This does not have to coercive – it is just power. However, by way of authority and legitimate rule, this power can be coercive.
How did he justify war?
Aquinas has a firm view on war, but more importantly, how war is imposed. He believed the act itself, of war, to be “a sin in itself” (Summa Theologica) However, rather than the act, Aquinas is concerned with the decision to start the war. This stems from the Romanic notion of ‘just cause’ for war. Just cause is a moral criterion to justify the invasion or aggression against another country. It weighs up, on the balance of facts, if it is permissible for one country to wage war on another. In the Summa Theologica, Aquinas outlines the three prerequisites for a just war. Firstly, the authority of the sovereign must be legitimate. It is not for the private individual to wage war, but rather the ruler maker, or sovereign. The private individual “can seek for redress of his rights from the tribunal of his superior” and in war time, it is not for ordinary people to make such decisions. The sovereign must “summon together the people, which has to be done in war time” (Summa Theologica). If the sovereign cannot bring together the masses, his authority cannot be legitimate. The ultimate test for legitimacy is whether a ruler will be followed. The second, just cause is required. The decision to go to war has to be made by the Sovereign or public authority as “no private person has the right to initiate war” (Summa Theologica in Finnis 1998) Aquinas explains this to be “those who are attacked, should be attacked because they deserve it on account of some fault” (Summa Theologica). Aquinas believes that, just cause allows for and to defend the common good. This may mean avenging and punishing adversaries for sins committed by or against the enemy state. Finnis (1998) describes this could be being attacked by reason of their guilt in respect of some wrong which they refuse or fail to rectify. Persecution or self-defence is an example of this. It should be noted, that Aquinas does not belief that war and be waged to impose religion, even if those fighting it believe it to be the true religion. The third requirement of a just war is the combatants have the right intention to engage in war. In Summa Theologica, Aquinas says that this includes “[the] right intention so that they intend the advancement of good or the avoidance of evil”. The right intention must be held above all else. There can be no ulterior motive or secret agenda when faced with the question of war. War must be used as a means to quell a situation and for absolutely no reason, should war be used as punishment or for any ferocious means.
Once all requirements of war are satisfied, Aquinas then looks to the legitimacy of the ruler. It is them, who make the decision. Aquinas believes that it is only the public official who can legitimately start combative and engage the public in war (Mooney, 2007). A ruler who lacks legitimacy is a tyrant. Aquinas, ever early on makes the clear distinction between what he calls the private and the public citizen. The private, an ordinary person, who subjects their will to the state and dutifully obliges to the rule of the sovereign, conditional on the legality of the situation. The public official “charged with public authority, directing men by law to the common good, are unifying and co-ordinating functionaries, representatives of the corporate will of the community” (Coleman, 2000). From this it is inferred that by doing their job, as well as being part of the group, they are bringing society towards the common good. It can be likened with the idea of utility, the best option for the most amount of people. It should be now mentioned, that a solider, conscripted or not, is innocent of any killing or war crimes should he be ordered to do it from a higher authority (Miller, 2002)
Therefore, Aquinas condones and justifies warfare should the decision be made by the correct person. For war to be justified, a public authority has to make the decision; bearing in mind just cause and have the right intention to go to war. Right intention may include avenging what has been lost or for the common good of the populace (Miller, 2002)
Are his justifications for war/ state authority compatible? Why? Why not?
By virtue of one, the other follows. Through the power if the state, governed by legitimately made laws, the public official can wage war. As previous discussed, “the power of the sword, as the state understands it, is essentially the public authority of the state’s rulers and their judicial and military officers, to execute criminals and to wage war” (Finnis). Public officials, have the ultimate say in decisions. The head of state effectively can choose whether or not a country goes to war or not. To determine whether or not a decision is coercive or not it is defined by the legitimacy of the ruler. Aquinas commented in De Malo that “[people] may not have a freedom of action but they do have a freedom of choice”. This can be related to modern system of governance and ruling. In New Zealand, we follow a representative system of representation. Through the choice of enrolled adults, we elect members of parliament to best represent our interests. Although we may not agree with every decision that they may make, however for the best interests of the government, they stay in power.
The best way to show how Aquinas’ justifications of war and coercive authority link is the example of self-defence. It is here Aquinas introduces the principle of double effect. Unlike the traditional approach; ‘an eye for an eye’ or using force with force, Aquinas differentiates between the intention that the person has and the repercussions that the act had. In its most basic sense, the Doctrine allows for reverence of all people (Finnis 278)

Whether it is lawful to kill a man in self-defence?
Principle of double effect, permits killing where it is the foreseen but unintended side-effect of doing good, where the bad does not lead to the good, and where the good outweighs the bad

This is similar to Aquinas’ views on capital punishment. For the common good and betterment for the community, Aquinas condones capital punishment of extreme ‘sinners’ or evildoers. This is due to the belief that they are more likely to hurt others than to amend their behaviour (Miller, 2002). Aquinas general idea regarding capital punishment is to deter the potential criminal from offending and to uphold the common good in the community.
This could be likened to the Christian thought that one must love and his neighbour above all else. By taking the choice away from civilians (‘private individuals’), they are left to continue following Jesus’ commandment. It is the ruler’s authority, which can make such decisions; to wage war, introduction sanctions or to consent to capital punishment.
First, Thomas classifies an act as intrinsically good, bad, or indifferent (Miller, 2002)
Old Wine in New Skins: Aquinas, Just War and Terrorism
Mooney, T Brian
Pacifica : Journal of the Melbourne College of Divinity; Jun 2007; 20, 2; ProQuest Central
pg. 204
Aquinas and the Presumption against Killing and War
Richard B. Miller
The Journal of Religion, Vol. 82, No. 2 (Apr., 2002), pp. 173-204
Published by:The University of Chicago Press
Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1206289
Vinayagamoorthy, K. (2013). Contextualizing legitimacy.Texas International Law Journal,48(3), 535-574. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.waikato.ac.nz/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1398477293?accountid=17287
Ron Smiths Text book : Morality of War

Political Recruitment Procedure in Nigeria

Franklins A. SANUBI, PhD Department of Political Science, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria
KEYWORDS: Entrepreneurship Education, Political Recruitment, Entrepreneurship, Intrapreneuring.
The continuing influx of non professionals into party politics in Nigeria has created the challenges of good governance and many hove asked the question of how to rid the political space of neophytes. One explanation for this phenomenon is provided in the prevailing political recruitment procedure in Nigeria. Entrepreneurship education has provided some philosophical tool for establishing a reliable political recruitment process. This paper examines the relationship and provides some recommendations on the process of ensuring good recruitments into our party politics spectrum.
Perhaps the only vocation in Nigeria today where the free entry and free exit principle of a perfect market system is operational is the vocation of party politics as people from all known professional backgrounds have found it a treasure ground of resort. It is in fact needless to ask an average politician where he or she got training in party politics. Regrettably, political recruitment process in Nigeria is very simple and without any major technical requirements, people can enroll at any point in time into party politics. The only requirement, if anything else, is your availability – the amount of readiness demonstrated by the aspiring individual to attend party meetings and caucuses. Just write down your name and attend one or two political party meetings and you are on your way to becoming a big time politician in Nigeria.

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This is the point where we come to explain the prevalence of political neophytes at the various levels of public policy making in Nigeria as all manner of people both with questionable and unquestionable backgrounds in the management of public resources find themselves in the realm of leadership simply because of a faulty recruitment process into the vocation of party politics in Nigeria. Thus, you find medical doctors, teachers, motor drivers, auto mechanics, pastors or other religious leaders, retail shop owners and jobless individuals all involved in party politics as practitioners of a profession that relies much on number of people as its major asset.
“Leave politics for the politicians” is often the advice given by those who do not find any need to become one. Yet there is hardly a clear definition of who is or (should be) a politician in Nigeria since it has become an all-corners affair.
With such a seemingly irreversible phenomenon of political recruitment, the chal1eng to policymakers therefore is to create entrepreneurship educational portfolios where recruits into party politics in Nigeria would develop skills of the, vocation to take opportunities offered by the prevailing political (business) environments.
Experts in the subject matter of history of education have credited ancient Greek civilization with its emphasis placed not only on citizenship but also on entrepreneurship education. With massive curricular contents favouring the child’s ability to use available materials through practical skills to create innovative learning outcomes, an average Athenian schoolboy knows that he has to imbibe a strong culture of entrepreneurship education.
Entrepreneurship education seeks to provide students with the knowledge, skills and motivation to encourage entrepreneurial success in a variety of settings. (Block & Stumpf, 1992) The classic picture of entrepreneurship education (also known as intrapreneurship education) as given by its major proponent Gifford Pinchot, is its distinctive focus on the “realization of opportunity” under any given setting (Pinchot, 1985). The ability of the individual to see the opportunity and utilize it for a successful outcome marks the significance of entrepreneurship education (Pinchot & Pellman, 1985). Although closely related to management education which focuses on the best way to operate within existing hierarchy and structures, entrepreneurship education like the former targets “profit making”. Profit making, in this circumstance does not necessarily imply increased monetary benefits, but may also be (especially in non-profit organizations or governments) in terms of enhanced social services or decreased costs. It could also be explained in terms of increased responsiveness to the customer/citizen/client on such services being provided.
Realizing business opportunity can be achieved, by orienting entrepreneurship education towards several directions including; Entrepreneurship (the ownership) of a new business, such as opening a new shop or small scale industry; interpreneurship (which involves the promotion of innovation or the introduction of new products or services or markets within existing environments or organization without having to start a separate (new) business unit (Pinchot, 2000). This may be made possible through research and innovative initiative among entrepreneurs. Consider for example, a food vendor who sells within a given business environment and suddenly discovers that the target clientele is expanding due to some expansionary activities of the neighboring companies resulting in their employment of new staffers. Intrapreneurship requires that the food vendor can no longer operate within his existing budget if he is to maximize profits. He does not need to be educated on the desirability of budgetary expansion to enable him create an absolute capacity for his new client’s demand. A third orientation relates to what experts call social entrepreneur which involves creating charitable organizations (or portions of existing charities) designed to be self-supporting in addition to doing their good works.
Intrapreneurship may lead to a phenomenon described as clustering. Clustering occurs when a group of employers breaks from a parent company to form a new company but continues to do business with the parent organization as in the popular Silicon Valley clusters. This phenomenon is common among lawyers who while working under existing legal chambers do break out often to undertake some business ventures without having to quit their existing chambers entirely.
Pinchot believes that entrepreneurship releases the energy’ in the direction of deep personal values while also it is a tool for releasing the creativity, values and entrepreneurial spirit of people who work in large corporations. “When you free people from fear and bureaucratic restraint, they are likely to choose innovation projects that serve their deeper values (Pinchot 1985) Intrapreneurs have a great zeal to be innovative and a drive to ownership. The entrepreneurial sence of independence is so high among intrapreneurs that Pinchot in his ten commandments of Intrapreneuring describes their attitude in work organizations as people who “come to work daily willing to be fired”.
For a productive and profit-oriented business success, intrapreneurship education is very useful. What relevance therefore, can there be, of entrepreneurship education to political recruitment in the Nigerian policy and how may we define the line of congruence between these variables.
Porter (1994) has established a relationship between entrepreneurship education and business education. We can extend this discourse by establishing some relationship between entrepreneurship education and political recruitment in Nigeria. Political recruitment is a process by which citizens are selected for involvement in politics. Party system is the most important mechanism of political recruitment, The process of political recruitment involves two levels namely: recruitment of power elite, that is, party and government cadres and the recruitment of grassroots membership – who provide political support for party programmes and policies. The recruitment of grassroots may involve a historical process whereby certain cadres of the society are targeted for recruitment e.g. peasant workers and revolutionary youths, and this is then followed by the recruitment of workers, students and rebellion youths and then the recruitment of professional and educated youths. The recruitment provides a stage of political screening such as the examination of class origin, political attitude, political participation or clientelism. Clientelism in the view of Protsyk & Matichescu (2009) involves contingent direct exchanges between political actors and both vote-rich and resource-rich constituencies. At the initial point, the role of educational credentials in political recruitment may be irrelevant, but with time, become positive or negative and finally very important.
The relevance of entrepreneurship education to political recruitment in Nigeria can be established in several ways. Firstly, entrepreneurship education provides the individual with the strong initiative to succeed in his political career. There is a strong imperative to see party politics as not merely a game being played by two or more persons, but more importantly as a field where excellence in service is required. The individual will take ownership of his actions with a strong sense of judgment that being a politician can be onerous and requires a lot of responsibility and expectations from the society in terms of excellent service to the people.
Entrepreneurship education can help promote the spirit of innovativeness among people who chose to enlist in party politics. The individual utilizes every new opportunity in his political environment to create new political images of success. For instance, a politician who observes that there is a growing school enrolment among children in his community and or neighbouring communities would devise new creative political slogans or even manifestoes that will appeal to the immediate passions of his proposed electorate. It is needless for an aspiring politician targeting upland dwellers to propose programmes designed or suitable for riverine areas – such as riverine transport system.
Entrepreneurship education would facilitate political education especially in rural or unenlightened communities as individual aspirant would localize training techniques or apply local technologies to provide the relevant learning materials to his subjects. This will also help in reducing costs to the ultimate advantage of the subsisting party to which the individual belongs.
Entrepreneurship education should be a suitable tool for sensitizing the right type of party membership at all cadres or recruitment. Subjects should therefore choose to belong to a political party with a genuine sense of awareness about his expectations not merely joining a band wagon. Subjects should have their energy released towards a vocation where their deep personnel values reside. The present phenomenon where party politics is seen as a residue to retire to where all other endeavours have failed or a place where quick wealth and fame can be realized can no longer prevail.
D. Conclusion and Recommendations
An entrepreneur is an owner of a business. Entrepreneurs are driven by the myths of greed, high risk taking, intuitive thinking and even sometimes dishonesty ( Pinchot, 2000) The business may be tangible for it to be observed by others. However, the sense of entrepreneurship may be presently dialectical and reside within the individual who only waits for any physical opportunity to realize his ownership dream. Entrepreneurship education should be a relevant tool to facilitate the ownership drives among people in various vocations including party politics. In particular reference to political recruitment entrepreneurship education should help stimulate the right type of practitioners and hence secure the right quality of leaders needed especially for a developing polity like Nigeria.
Existing educational programmes should be philosophically tailored to meet the needs of subjects who are the future entrepreneurs in Nigeria. This would lead to the redirection of subjects’ perception of schooling as not merely a means of securing paid jobs. In a society with dwindling employment options, entrepreneurship education should be a suitable tool for fostering the self-employment initiatives among the school leaving class and those enlisting in other entrepreneurial vocations.
The strong Connections between entrepreneurship education and good governance in Nigeria can therefore no longer be imaginary under this discourse but realistic.
Block, Z. & Stumpf, S. A. (1992) Entrepreneurship education research: Experience and challenge. In D. L. Sexton and J. D. Kasarda, (Eds.) The state of the art of entrepreneurship, Boston, MA: PWS-Kent Publishing, pp. 17-45.
Protsyk, O. & Matichescu, M.L. (2009) Clientelism and political recruitment in democratic transition. Evidence from Romania, retrieved from the net onO4/ 22/2011 @http://www.policy.hu/protsyk /Publications/Articles/CPRomClient 11 .pdf.
Pinchot, III G. (1985). Intrapreneuring; Why you do not have to leave the organization. New York, NY:,-. Harper & Row.
Pinchot, G. & Pellman, R. (2000) Intrapreneurship in action: A handbook for business innovation, San-Francisco, California : Berrett-Kohler.
Porter, L. W. (1994). The relation of entrepreneurship education to business education. Simulation & gaming 25(3): 416-419.

International Political Systems: Sumerian City-States

Why do I believe that there is an International Political System? First, I will discuss the interaction between Sumerian city-states that is divided by the river of Tigris and Euphrates, that now forms a modern Iraq[1], why these Sumerian city-states? Because I want to prove that there is an International Political Systems during that time, don’t get me wrong in this subject, I want you to feel you’re in these said ages to be in their position, hence this will be your roots, because if you will compare it with the International Political Systems nowadays a huge confusion may subdue.
Second, because of the thirty years of war north western Germany think of a treaty that will stop this war and this is the Treaty of Westphalia.
The last but not the least, the current situation of International Political System in this era and I will pick United Nations or (U.N) to be the based model of these current International Political Systems. I will cover different laws from the United Nations to prove my claim, these are United Nations Convention on the Law Of the Seas or (UNCLOS), second the Human Rights were play a huge role with the countries under the United Nations.

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Different theories has been made, different mainstream state have earned the title ‘where does International Political System began’ but we all know already that the legitimate birth of International Political System is the time that the treaty of Westphalia began[2], but here in my argument, I shall say that it’s the interaction between Sumerian city-states where International Political System was really born. They don’t know it yet that they are doing such thing, but I in my research, I will prove that what they are doing is International Political System which is use until now.
“Interaction between Sumerian City-States”
Tigris and Euphrates are much known because of the river that separates them but it connects these Sumerian City-States. These are considered to have been a fully-fledged International System, because these Sumerian city-states have already an existing religion, trade, interaction, language, educational system, laws and leaders.
They look up to their God as the Supreme leader and by that all of his or her people are subject to follow what their God wants, meaning being the Supreme (God and Goddesses) leader they must follow what laws He or She has made, for example their Gods or Goddesses are represented by natural entities such as the Sun interconnected with Justice and considered as the God Sun, He is God called ‘UTU’, Moon interconnected to Wisdom and their God Moon, She is called God ‘Nanna’ or ‘Suen’, and Earth connected to Life Force, several centuries before Hammurabi, Ur-Engur of the Ur dynasty (c. 2600 BC) declared that he rendered decisions “according to the just laws of Shamash.”[3] This reference of their Gods and Goddesses only makes my claim more evident. Even their God Ur-Engur has a law for the people to abide with, and by abiding such rule a state will be more powerful in terms of the law that is implemented to the people, and the people who happens to obey it diligently or faithfully from generation to generation which made the law effective and refrain the citizenry to do whatever they want if it was not in accordance to the existing laws that had been created by their Gods and Goddesses they believe in long before they were born.
The law their Gods and Goddesses has created, local laws have been extended to other city-states they dealt with, unconsciously they are already leading to an international law practice which were recognized, obeyed, respected and put into practice by both parties or city-states involved. These sectors of analysis are ingredient of an international system, hence this is international political system, because in those times, they’re knowledge about the world is their only city-state and treating other people outside their city-state as barbarians or inferior as compared to themselves, (ex. The Greek city-states even if they know that different states exist, they consider them as barbarians and these barbarians don’t contribute in the human populace much worst are even considered as uncivilized or unworthy people) so what I’m saying is that this exist as an International Political System using their own norm or gauge. Hence in this era International Political System in the Sumerian city-state for them is the best and the only one known to be followed by their citizenry and if they want to deal with the Sumerians it is mandatory for them to follow what the existing rules the Sumerians are using or following faithfully. In this case we could vividly see the influence of a very strong centralized government. Whatever the central government or the city-state of Sumerian is practicing, it has to be followed by the others having that principle that these laws were created by a Supreme Being (God or Goddesses) which includes issues regarding policies in their political, military, societal, and economic norms and other areas.
These standards already exist in this city-states, but as time goes by, these norms changes, because ‘change is nature’ hence if the nature is to change, when the modern times comes, these norms became more complex hence adds more norms to become an International Political System. Change in environment such as geographical features which includes boundaries, natural and manmade, resources which needs to be modified or altered to be able to catch up to the new ideas and development of new trends in the International Political Systems. That’s why I add this Sumerian city-states because this is the real cycle that goes with the ever changing and ever growing International Political System.
Because of the mainstream approach of Westphalia in the same context the title was given to them, and gave the title that the year Westphalia created was the real birth of International Political System which is a big fallacy. Why did I conclude so? It is because the treaty of Westphalia happened not just long ago it was exactly on October 24th 1648[4]. When the treaty of Westphalia was ratified or take into effect as a law so many events or major happenings had been recorded to had happened +which paved the way for the creation of a treaty that will not gave a birth but modified to adapt with the current needs and issues to be resolve even if the title was given for the Sumerian city-state was a ‘Pre-international System’ I will consider them an international political system, as part in my introduction said, the perspective point of view must be only in the Sumerian age, that’s why I arranged them according to the years where they exist so there will be a smooth flow of ideas, and one goal to justify if we had an international political system.
In these Sumerian city-states trade is also present, because of the creation of first calendar, which they adjusted to the phases of the moon. The lunar calendar helped the Greeks, Semites and Egyptians, because of this, it helped a lot of Sumerian City-States to interact with each other thus helping their economy to boost up leading to the growth of merchant class[5], did you know that they are very good navigators because of the calendar they made. They know exactly where they are going because of the stars in the sky, were that star will serve as a guide for every people of the city that will trade from other cities, that’s why when they created the first ever calendar which adjusted the phases of the moon it helped them a lot.[6][7]
Talking about trade, it helped to increase the interaction between these Sumerian city-states by simple talking to each other, of course the need of language is in need, and the language these times are divided into four: first is Archaic Sumerian, second is Old or Classical Sumerian, third is New Sumerian, last but not the least Post-Sumerian. These language had their own time at the existence of Sumerian city-states, Archaic Sumerian covered the period from 3100 B.C, when the first Sumerian wrote their very first documentary or records, down to about 2500 B.C, the content of writings in this time include business and administrative character, there is still school texts that form simple exercises in writing because this age of language was poorly understood because of the meagerness sources. Second the Old or Classical Sumerian lasted from 2500 to 2300 B.C, represented by the record of Lagash like in the first there is business, administrative texts here, but an addition is a legal text, in here the grammar of Sumerian improved and their vocabulary.[8]
It is very evident that once trade exists in between any country or countries, influx not only of money but most of all ideas, culture, laws, and even intermarriage will follow. So I strongly believe that International Political System has long been existing and put into practice even before the idea of the said system was said to be introduced.
“Treaty of Westphalia”
This said to be the legitimate year were International Political System was created the birth year of International Political System, why is it that this the legitimate one? Why is it that the interaction of Tigris and Euphrates was not the legitimate one? Because as said by Richard Little and Barry Buzan the point of being a western country we cannot accept the fact that they are the ones who are the elitist and they’re mind set of being Ethnocentrism, meaning they are the only ones who had think of these ideas that can be seen it the modern and early ages, being the elitist they are the ones who got the title of the work done, and by telling the story of their forefathers other early International Political System is discarded on the list, hence giving the title of the first legitimate International Political System to the Treaty of Westphalia.
Treaty of Westphalia was created for the Europeans, because of the thirty years war that was motivated by religious and political control all over Europe. And because of this thirty years of war countless man, child and women had died, it even overcome the deaths that has been made in World War I and World War II, it said to believe that one-third of the population died in result of the war, because of these people dying every day for the past thirty years. And because of the Treaty of Westphalia it was ratified with the concurrence of the state’s present whom to themselves considered as the elite and civilized one, which all must follow. This treaty is the first manifestation that they are creating an International Political System, this law is the law of war a doctrine concerning when it is permissible to go to war and what means of conducting war are (and are not) permissible, meaning that they cannot go to war anymore because of this said treaty, hence they already know that this war has been going for the past thirty years. If this will continue all that will be left to them are bones of their fallen comrades, which is not healthy to a state because man is the integral part and without man a state cannot exist.
As history has proven the root cause of the thirty years of war was the tug of war in between the protestants and Catholics who both claims that their religion is the best and the truth. The influence of these leaders namely the clergies or priests in the catholic side and ministers or pastors on the protestant side greatly affected the citizenry because their decisions and allegiance is determined by the religion they belong too. Much of these situation political leaders also relies and asks for the nod or approval of the strong religious leader for them to get the majority back-up of the nations or states. So you could clearly see how it did affect the whole state. The unimaginable result of the thirty years of war paved the way for the birth of Treaty of Westphalia but definitely not the birth of International Political System.
‘Current Situations of the World’s Systems’
United Nations (UN) is an example of current International Political Systems, which facilitates all its constituents, for example: Philippines, China, Japan, United States, and many more different states. This serve as an international political system because first, it is recognize globally by member countries. Leaders of the different department of the United Nations such as World Health Organization (WHO), United Nation International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), International Labor Organization (ILO)[9] and other departments are selected from the most respectable and able man whose integrity are doubtless. Military or (peace keeping forces), Political, Economic, Societal and Environmental, which are commonly known as sectors of analysis are all present in the United Nation. At far it is concern with the peace among the states, development, human rights, and International Law. Because member states are the ones who will judge if the merit of claims of one state to another if there is a conflict, United Nations will make a resolution against these conflicts, that’s why they are present when there is a war problem inside state for example Libya, they send peace keeping forces or military forces that got from its constituent states, even in Environmental disaster, they are there to help the people of their constituent states.
Human Rights a philosophical foundation[10], (covered societal interaction), as stated they are simply by virtue of human being against war that’s why peace is more rampant, ironically Human Rights were made after World War II in connection with the Holocaust, the experience of Nuremberg tribunal convinced leaders of the need to set forth international standards to prevent genocide from ever occurring again. Human rights is where they create laws that will served as a shield by every single person of a state and it will at most prevent wars and unhumanitarian acts whether it’s a girl, children or man, moreover this human right law is by far the greatest law the United Nation has made. United Nation’s goal of developing existing laws to cope with changes and prevention of possible war, talking about state to state wars, why say that? Because after the human right law has been implemented, the rights of the people were seen nowadays, they cannot kill people because they just want it to, hence they cannot kill because of their opposite religious beliefs, and lastly you cannot kill people anymore regardless what nationality they are, or else great consequences will be used against you if ever you will do such crime. Racism is vehemently trashed.
But a rebuttal here is Libya, Iraq, and Syria in this time is in a great war against, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as we can see this is not a state to state war because war is present inside the state. Ironically the above mentioned states are all members of the United Nations but they do not adhere to the principle of peace, humanity and unity among member states. Even though they have violated international rules still the United Nations tries its best to pacify the situation. As a proof of this our very own Philippines, as a member of the United Nations send troops to this country therefore in this context military is present in United Nations, because as a member of this organization we must share our resources, help in any possible means such as medical aid, medical force and even peace keeping forces.
Just like other countries doing to the Philippines when it comes to natural calamities and disaster, even the People’s Republic of China disregarded the conflict in West Philippine Sea they still send troops here to help, foods and other things which they think may help a lot the typhoon victim which happened to be the strongest recorded typhoon in the world. It is a manifestation that China recognizes his membership in the United Nation and since the Philippines is a member state of the United Nation it is a good sign that China has the initiative and good intention to help us in spite of all the odds that they are having with the Philippines.
Second best example I can give is the Philippines and China in connection with the West Philippine Sea, United Nations Convention on the Law Of the Seas (UNCLOS) this is a compulsory procedures for dispute resolution among state parties, this process have the right to choose either they’re case is going to International Tribunal for the Law Of the Sea (ITLOS), International Court of Justice (ICJ), Arbitral Tribunal, and last but not the least special technical arbitral tribunal. Why apply the provisions of UNCLOS and United Nations If there is still conflict? Because United Nation was established for peace and to avoid World War I or World War II or such things to happened again. Because in a war nobody wins, yes they might say that they win, but literally in war, millions of lives is lost. The United Nations’ ultimate goal is to prevent wars; hence with the help of human rights, it serves to be an important term to prevent World War III because when World War I and World War II happened, there is still no concrete data on human rights. Nowadays member states or nonmember states think of the consequences if they will violate human right laws. They know that even after the incident they will be persecuted by the international community through economic sanction, persona non grata and other international recognized form of disconformity.
Another good example is the International Labor Organization (ILO)[11]. Because of the creation of the International Law Organization member states are very keen in implementing rules regarding labor practices. International accredited systems regarding the way they treat local and foreign laborers are always given importance.
The major role of an employee, laborer or any manpower is always given top priority in any countries. The welfare, salary and other related activities or benefits of the working force are in compliance with accepted rules and systems.
International Political System as I viewed it is almost the same with any other system. It was made and pursued by respectable men whose goal is to have an orderly, respectful and effective way of life. We may be different in language, physical attributes, values, culture, religion, educational background and other things that makes a human different from an animal but for sure we the majority of the people would like to live in an atmosphere of peace, unity and love.
I would like to thank people who intimated these systems, for they had helped a lot the succeeding generations on what they have done. Not only the philosophical leaders but most especially the unwritten leaders of the past who may not have been mentioned in any document or book but for sure contributed a lot on who and where we are now. They may have made mistakes or imperfections but that’s the reality of life no one is perfect. Our life is a continuous trial and error with the guiding principle of being of help to his people and committed to make this world a better life and place to live with.
Buzan, B., & Little , R. (2000). International Systems in World History. New York: Oxford University Press.
D’Anieri, P. (2014). International Politics: Power and Purpose in Global Affairs. canada: Cenage learning.
Guisepi, R. A. (1980 and 2003). The History of Ancient Sumeria. Retrieved September 1, 2014, from The History of Ancient Sumeria: http://history-world.org/sumeria.htm
Sumerian Gods. (n.d.). Retrieved September 1, 2014, from Sumerian Gods: http://www.crystalinks.com/sumergods.html
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[1] Barry Buzan and Richard Little, International Systems in World History, (New York; Oxford University Press, 2000), 1.
Barry Buzan and Richard Little, International Systems in World History, (New York; Oxford University Press, 2000), 1.
[3] “Sumerian Gods”, Crystalinks.com, http://www.crystalinks.com/sumergods.html,
[4] “The Peace of Westphalia”.HistoryLearningSite.co.uk.2006. Web, http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/peace_of_westphalia.htm.
[5] Robert A. Guisepi, The History of Ancient Sumeria (Sumer) including its cities, kings, religions culture and contributions or civilization, (University of California, 1980 and 2003), http://history-world.org/sumeria.htm.
Robert A. Guisepi, The History of Ancient Sumeria (Sumer) including its cities, kings, religions culture and contributions or civilization, (University of California, 1980 and 2003), http://history-world.org/sumeria.htm.
Walter Baucum, Sumerians who were they? The Sudden Civilization, http://www.uhcg.org/Lost-10-Tribes/walt1-Sumerians.html.
Robert A. Guisepi, The History of Ancient Sumeria (Sumer) including its cities, kings, religions culture and contributions or civilization, (University of California, 1980 and 2003), http://history-world.org/sumerian_language.htm.
[9] United Nations http://www.un.org/en/
[10] United Nations http://www.un.org/en/.
[11] United Nations http://www.un.org/en/.