Class Notes I. Foundations of American National Government A. Government: Why's & What's 1. Intro: Why do human beings choose government at all? 2. Why bother? a. We know all human societies have some kind of system for making collective/group decisions i. A government a. the institutions & procedures through which a territory and its people are ruled b. the institution in society which has a monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force (Max Weber German Sociologist) c. a group of people within the state who have the ultimate authority to act on behalf of the state (Shively) 3. There must be some decisions & rules that will benefit us - mutual benefits a. do better together than standing alone 4. We need some kind of enforcement mechanism a. mutual defense against outside enemies b. peace & safety within our group c. active trade to meet needs/wants d. care of children e. perpetuation of our people and customs 5. Adam Smith - Lassiez faire a. Government has "the duty of protecting the society from violence and invasion of other independent societies." b. We prefer "private" action, "invisible hand" over public/gov. action 6. When should Governments act? a. majority believes it lies in market failures i. Market Failures a. a situation in which the competitive structures of a capitalist (free-market) economy fail to provide a commodity deemed worthy by the public ii. Types of Market Failures a. monopolies 1. quality can go down 2. price can go up b. unprovided public goods 1. goods/services government provides 2. not particularly profitable to produce & sell because of size 3. police, fire-squad, national parks c. externalities/ spill over effects 1. chicken waste from AR to OK 2. drinking age from 19--->21 WA--->ID d. asymmetric information (unequal) 1. FDA, recalls iii. Values a. Big (3) - Freedom, Order, & Equality 1. Freedom i. Liberty, no individual, should be under the control of another 2. Order i. safety, no-chaotic society, protect against enemies 3. Equality i. citizens should be treated fairly by the government & each other 7. What do Governments do? a. Public Policies i. tools that governments use to see the goals/values that the society has deemed important 8. Types of Government? a. (3) types, but good & bad for each i. Good a. governmental decisions advance the good the whole society ii. Bad a. governmental decisions advance the good of the people in charge b. Government by the One i. Good - monarchy ii. Bad - tyranny c. Government by the Few i. Good - aristocracy, oligarchy ii. Bad - authoritarianism, totalitarianism d. Government by the Many i. Good - democracy a. peoples ability to govern ourselves ii. Bad - mobocracy a. political philosophers against 1. John Adams clip in class 9. (4) principles founders put in place to prevent mobocracy a. Steps they took i. they distinguished between direct & representative democracy b. representative or republic democracy i. a system of government in which citizens select representatives to make public policy decisions c. direct democracy i. a system of government that permits citizens to vote directly on laws and policies d. looked at French philosopher Rusoe i. He said a. # of citizens must be small b. property & wealth distributed nearly equally c. society must be culturally homogeneous
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