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Write a 3 to 4-page double-spaced (1” margins, 12 point font) “reflection paper” responding to the following questions:
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1) Evaluate the two major approaches to dealing with immigration: multiculturalism and assimilation. What are the benefits of and drawbacks to each?
Remember, a reflection paper is not just a summary of the course readings or a stream of conscious mind dump on paper. Rather, it is a means for you to analyze and respond in a substantive way to the content, issues and controversies raised in the assigned reading.
Reading:Essentials of Comparative Politics: fifth edition chapter 8
Review list provided by professor:
- Defining Developed Democracy
- Developed democracies are countries with institutional democracy and a high level of economic development and prosperity.
- They used to be called “first world” countries.
- The “three worlds” approach was problematic when it was originally used, and since the end of the Cold War, it has become a category of little use.
- As a category, developed democracies include, not just Western countries, but also more recent democratizers and postcommunist countries that exhibit the hallmarks of economic development and democracy.
- Freedom and Equality in Developed Democracies
- All developed democracies share the basic components of liberal democracies: commitment to private property and free markets, and a belief in liberty, political competition, and participation.
- Developed democracies differ significantly in other areas. For instance, how they reconcile freedom and equality (particularly in the area of political economy and the distribution of wealth), the level of their political participation, the form of political competition (especially campaigns and elections), and their guaranteed liberties.
- Developed Democracies Today
- Although they are changing significantly, the institutions present in developed democracies are part of what makes these countries modern—that is, secular, technological, bureaucratic, rational, materialistic, and placing a greater emphasis on individual freedom than on collective equality.
- Many scholars argue that developed democracies are undergoing significant social, political, and economic changes. As a result, they may be transitioning to a postmodern culture emphasizing “quality of life” considerations over material gain.
- Political Institutions: Sovereignty Transformed?
- Although developed democracies all display a relatively high level of sovereignty, there has been movement toward more integration(blurring the lines between countries by creating common policies, rules, and tighter connections) and devolution (shifting power toward more local governments).
- The European Union (EU) is a prime example of integration. Founded in the aftermath of World War II, the European Union first emerged as an intergovernmental system, helping its members cooperate on issues. While it began as a small agreement among a handful of countries that dealt primarily with the production of steel and coal; today it includes 28 members and has grown in political and economic power.
- Because of its statelike institutions—the European Commission, the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament, and the European Court of Justice (which rules on issues of EU law and settles disputes over legislation)—the European Union has been called a supranational system—that is, a system where sovereign powers are shared among the members and held by EU institutions over the member states themselves.
- Two recent projects demonstrate the growth of the European Union: the monetary union (the euro) and membership expansion.
- Though not all EU members have joined, the monetary union has helped increase the European Union economic influence worldwide, as the euro has become the second most commonly held reserve currency next to the U.S. dollar.
- However, the euro has also exposed significant economic tensions between EU members, as the Greek debt crisis highlights. Many are unsure of the future direction of EU monetary policy, especially as EU politicians are divided on whether the solution to this monetary crisis is more or less integration.
- EU membership has expanded, bringing the total population of the EU to 500 million (compared to the U.S. population of a bit over 300 million), and its combined economy is as large as that of the United States. This enlargement has raised new issues and concerns, especially in the issues of immigration and jobs, as many of these new countries are considerably poorer than the original members.
- A second challenge to traditional state sovereignty has been the tug of devolution from below.
- Many political leaders in developed democracies are concerned about public distrust of state power and advocate devolution as a solution to help bring government closer to the public.
- Critics warn that devolution may instead polarize a society and undermine the capacity and autonomy of the central state.
- More recent events (such as terrorist attacks in the United States and Europe and the failed Scottish referendum) hint that the trend toward greater devolution may be at its limit.
- Societal Institutions: New Identities in Formation?
- Political scientists see postmodern or “postmaterialist” values emerging in developed democracies. These values are focused less on the idea of progress as embodied by material gain or technological innovation than on concern for the environment, health, leisure, personal equality, and diversity.
- We must be careful not to overstate this trend toward postmodernism.
- Religious and cultural traditions have a long-lasting impact on a society’s values, even as they develop.
- In addition, recent immigration trends have limited the institutionalization of these postmodern values. Immigrant communities themselves may bring in different values, and increasing immigration may trigger xenophobia in the existing population.
- Far right parties (like the UK Independence Party and France’s National Front) often appeal to more traditional values. They tend to gain support under periods of material stress, suggesting that support for postmodernism depends largely on economics.
- Economic Institutions: A New Market?
- Developed democracies have seen a shift to postindustrialism—economies based, not on the manufacture of tangible goods, but rather on the service sector (industries like finance, real estate, education, and health care) and even the tech sector. This trend has been accelerated by globalization.
- This trend towards postindustrialism may reinforce existing political, economic, and social trends. For instance, as the economy becomes more technologically advanced, those who lack specialized training and education may fall behind.
- The recent financial crisis has also raised concerns about the long-term prospects of many postindustrial economies.
- The welfare state has brought significant benefits to developed democracies, but this has also brought costs and controversies, which have been further exacerbated by the global recession.
- Social expenditure has risen greatly in many of these countries as life expectancy has outpaced birthrate, but paying for these expenditures requires higher levels of taxation or state borrowing.
- Many developed democracies are struggling against these trends and often consider relying more heavily on immigration or cutting social benefits to keep their economies strong.
Elements considered in Reflection Paper grades:
- Does the paper contain a clear answer/argument addressing all components of the questions?
- Does the paper provide supporting evidence with examples from the text and other course materials?
- Does the paper show strong analytical thinking and understanding of the material in the text?
- Is the paper well organized and contain clear writing?