Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Conceptual Analysis question, 6

6. Nearly all nation states, even non-democratic ones, are based on assumed, if not explicit, social contracts.
  1. Define the concept of social contract.
  2. Explain a primary way in which a social contract is "enforced" in a state with a liberal democracy.
  3. Explain a primary way citizens can "enforce" a social contract in a state without a liberal democracy.
  4. Is it more difficult to enforce the social contract in the UK than it is to enforce the social contract in Mexico? Why?

10 comments:

klv said...


a. Social contract is an understanding (explicit or implicit in the constitution) between the regime and the people. Basically it’s the idea that the people’s civil liberties are respected and they have the right to benefits and privileges in exchange of doing their part in the nation (working, following the law).

b. In a liberal democracy by definition the rights of the people are respected. Hence, they have and can exercise their freedom of speech, freedom of expression and protest. As a result, the government tends to be legitimate in the eyes of the people; thus they feel a responsibility to follow the law. So, the primary way to “enforce” the contract is by using the benefits and respecting the law.

c.On the other hand, in an illiberal democracy the rights of people often are not respected. Hence, people are not as motivated to respect a government that does not respect them. A primary way in which citizens attempt to “enforce” the social contract is through protests, coups or any public manifestation that the people do not agree with the way they are being governed.

d. It is easier to enforce the social contract in the United Kingdom (UK). The UK’s government have history on their side; which means that in the history of the nation the rights of the people have been respected and the people have seen their government as legitimate. On the other hand, in Mexico elections have repeatedly been identified as fraudulent and thus legitimacy is weaker. In other words, a social contract does not exist where there is no legitimacy (or trust) and due to tradition, the UK’s regime is trustable.

odmAPComparative said...

6. Nearly all nation states, even non-democratic ones, are based on assumed, if not explicit, social contracts.
a. Define the concept of social contract.
b. Explain a primary way in which a social contract is "enforced" in a state with a liberal democracy.
c. Explain a primary way citizens can "enforce" a social contract in a state without a liberal democracy.
d. Is it more difficult to enforce the social contract in the UK than it is to enforce the social contract in Mexico? Why?

6.
a. The concept of social contract has to do with the origins of society and with rule of law. It is an agreement of the people with the government, where the people give the government legitimacy and the government takes care of the people. The social contract described by Thomas Hobbes and Rousseau was based in giving in some sovereignty in order for an entity to rule over, all for the betterment of society.

b. In a liberal democracy where there is freedom of speech, transparency and competitive elections a the social contract is not binding like in an illiberal democracy. In liberal democracies people agree with the parties and they can disagree when the party is doing something wrong while in an illiberal democracy there is a contract that can not be broken. In liberal democracies it is enforced by the political parties , they want to win people over.

C. In an illiberal democracy the social contract is enforced in a different way, it is more imposed on the people than optional. This is because an illiberal democracy is a partial democracy where people can vote but they do not know everything about the government , thus there is no transparency. The government enforces it, not the people.

D. It would be more difficult to enforce the social contract in the UK than in Mexico because the UK is a more democratic country so the contract would not be enforced against the will of the people , while in Mexico the contact could be enforced no matter what.

alvaroCGP said...

A social contract is the understanding of an individual, that was born with complete freedom, and the state, that the individual will sacrifice freedom and have limitations in order to maintain order in a state.
A primary way in which a social contract is enforced in a state with liberal democracy is through governmental regulations such as laws respecting the property of an individual. In a social contract in a liberal democracy, if you break a law concerning property, the state enforces a consequence or even a punishment to whoever broke the law.
A primary way in which a social contract is enforced in a state without liberal democracy is through interest groups.
It is more difficult to enforce a social contract in the UK than it is in Mexico. In Mexico, the citizens are granted a more direct election for their government's leadership than the one the UK provides. Another important factor in the UK that makes it more difficult to enforce a social contract is the fact that the UK is divided into four nations: the Welsh, the Scotts, the Irish, and the English. In conclusion, the UK is more difficult to enforce a social contract than Mexico due to its complexity in the government, although the UK has found ways to solve their problems through a great level of transparency and devolution to the nations.

Alex Astruc said...

a) A social contract is an agreement between the people and the government. The “signers” of the contract agree to give up some rights, in order to gain others, which the government agrees to protect. One’s rights end where another person’s rights start; when your rights infringe upon someone else’s, you are breaking the law. The importance of the social contract is that it is the basis for the concept of governing, legitimacy, stability and a functioning society. However, it also encourages homogeneity and conformity.
b) In a state with a liberal democracy, the social contract is “enforced” through the adherence to the constitution, separation of powers, free and competitive elections and the application of individual liberties.
c) It is interesting to note the difference between question b) and c): it implies that in a liberal democracy the state enforces the social contract, in contrast in an illiberal democracy the citizens do. An illiberal democracy is a state in which elections are held, however individual rights are often limited or non-existent. In this case, the social contract becomes an agreement among the citizens. The extent of “enforcement” correlates to the degree of illiberality, the more illiberal the less enforcement. If there is some latitude, which is unlikely because it would weaken the state, a major manifestation of the social contract would be interest groups.
d) It is more difficult to enforce the social contract in Mexico than in the UK because the United Kingdom is an established democracy where rule of law guides the political process, individual rights are guaranteed and protected, and the government needs a majority consent (there is election for representatives, thus will of the people) to legislate and enforce laws. Although there is social contract in Mexico, the patron-client system, PRI dominance and outside forces that can determine the political outcomes (drug cartels that have a heavy hand to guide politicians) are factors that make Mexico’s social binding between the people and the government more difficult to enforce than in the UK.

Alejandro Caldera said...


a. Social contract refers to a theory model in which an agreement is done between member of a society as to rules, rights, duties and other things that will help have a harmonic relationship. Usually parts of this contract are explicit in a constitution or implicit (like in UK). It is basically the acceptance of a society to be under the law with the objective of having communal wellbeing and respect. Social contract was present since the first civilization of the world, when people gave up some of their sovereignty to be under an authority or regime. Thomas Hobbes referred to this idea in Leviathan.
b. A written constitution is one of the primary ways in which social contract can be enforced to a liberal democracy since this usually contains explicit agreements on social contract. In liberal democracies there is usually respect for the individual rights, therefore in response the people also respect the social contract.

c. In contrast to a liberal democracy, an illiberal democracy is one in which commonly individual rights to liberty and equality are not respected. This is commonly one that has rigged elections or has lots of corruption inside the government. Since there is a lack of respect to the social contract in the side of the regime, therefore the society commonly doesn’t approve the government. The most efficient ways in which they can enforce a social contract in an illiberal democracy is by making protests and liberal movements and also having NGOs such as human rights organizations to promote respect to rights in the country.
d. It is more difficult in Mexico since it has had a long history of corruption, while UK has been an exemplary liberal democracy. In Mexico, they apparently had rigged elections for many years, in which the PRI would always simply chose the new president. Also, there has been lots of corruption inside the government, such as misuse of government money and selling government posts.

Ken Wedding said...


The sixth question is:
6. Nearly all nation states, even non-democratic ones, are based on assumed, if not explicit, social contracts.
a. Define the concept of social contract.
b. Explain a primary way in which a social contract is "enforced" in a state with a liberal democracy.
c. Explain a primary way citizens can "enforce" a social contract in a state without a liberal democracy.
d. Is it more difficult to enforce the social contract in the UK than it is to enforce the social contract in Mexico? Why?


This is a 7-point question. One point can be earned for the definition and two points can be earned for each of the other three questions.

kiv wrote:
a. Social contract is an understanding (explicit or implicit in the constitution) between the regime and the people. Basically it’s the idea that the people’s civil liberties are respected and they have the right to benefits and privileges in exchange of doing their part in the nation (working, following the law).

b. In a liberal democracy by definition the rights of the people are respected. Hence, they have and can exercise their freedom of speech, freedom of expression and protest. As a result, the government tends to be legitimate in the eyes of the people; thus they feel a responsibility to follow the law. So, the primary way to “enforce” the contract is by using the benefits and respecting the law.

c.On the other hand, in an illiberal democracy the rights of people often are not respected. Hence, people are not as motivated to respect a government that does not respect them. A primary way in which citizens attempt to “enforce” the social contract is through protests, coups or any public manifestation that the people do not agree with the way they are being governed.

d. It is easier to enforce the social contract in the United Kingdom (UK). The UK’s government have history on their side; which means that in the history of the nation the rights of the people have been respected and the people have seen their government as legitimate. On the other hand, in Mexico elections have repeatedly been identified as fraudulent and thus legitimacy is weaker. In other words, a social contract does not exist where there is no legitimacy (or trust) and due to tradition, the UK’s regime is trustable.


COMMENTARY

a. This is a good response except for the comment about "civil liberties." "Benefits and privileges" yes, but not all regimes respect civil liberties, e.g., China. If scoring rules allowed it, I'd be tempted to give this half a point. However, College Board rubrics do no allow half points. Given that the rest of the response is so good, it earns a point.

b. This response is very good. It earns 2 points.

c. This response is good. It earns 2 points.

d. This response is also good. It earns 2 points. However, the statement that "a social contract does not exist where there is no legitimacy…" comes close to making a broad claim that is unnecessary. And, the assertion would probably require a research paper to support the claim. Take care.

This response earns 7 points.


Ken Wedding said...


The sixth question is:
6. Nearly all nation states, even non-democratic ones, are based on assumed, if not explicit, social contracts.
a. Define the concept of social contract.
b. Explain a primary way in which a social contract is "enforced" in a state with a liberal democracy.
c. Explain a primary way citizens can "enforce" a social contract in a state without a liberal democracy.
d. Is it more difficult to enforce the social contract in the UK than it is to enforce the social contract in Mexico? Why?


This is a 7-point question. This question is asking how well you understand the concepts of social contract, liberal democracy, and illiberal democracy. One point can be earned for the definition and two points can be earned for each of the other three questions.

odmAPComparative wrote:
6.
a. The concept of social contract has to do with the origins of society and with rule of law. It is an agreement of the people with the government, where the people give the government legitimacy and the government takes care of the people. The social contract described by Thomas Hobbes and Rousseau was based in giving in some sovereignty in order for an entity to rule over, all for the betterment of society.

b. In a liberal democracy where there is freedom of speech, transparency and competitive elections a the social contract is not binding like in an illiberal democracy. In liberal democracies people agree with the parties and they can disagree when the party is doing something wrong while in an illiberal democracy there is a contract that can not be broken. In liberal democracies it is enforced by the political parties , they want to win people over.

C. In an illiberal democracy the social contract is enforced in a different way, it is more imposed on the people than optional. This is because an illiberal democracy is a partial democracy where people can vote but they do not know everything about the government , thus there is no transparency. The government enforces it, not the people.

D. It would be more difficult to enforce the social contract in the UK than in Mexico because the UK is a more democratic country so the contract would not be enforced against the will of the people , while in Mexico the contact could be enforced no matter what.


COMMENTARY

a. This is a good response. The classical references are good, but beyond the minimal requirements. This response earns a point.

b. This response implies that competitive elections enforce the social contract through the "mechanism" of political parties. That point needs to be more explicit. The comments about illiberal democracies are irrelevant and distracting. This response earns 1 point.

c. This response should be more explicit and specific. Yes, "the government enforces…" the social contract, but how? There are several ways: offering benefits, organizing nationalistic "victories," maintaining law and order, and the use of force. This response earns 1 point.

d. After the description in part "a." this response is difficult to understand. And the assertions about Mexico need more complete description. This response does not earn any points.

This response earns 3 points.


Ken Wedding said...


The sixth question is:
6. Nearly all nation states, even non-democratic ones, are based on assumed, if not explicit, social contracts.
a. Define the concept of social contract.
b. Explain a primary way in which a social contract is "enforced" in a state with a liberal democracy.
c. Explain a primary way citizens can "enforce" a social contract in a state without a liberal democracy.
d. Is it more difficult to enforce the social contract in the UK than it is to enforce the social contract in Mexico? Why?


This is a 7-point question. This question is asking how well you understand the concepts of social contract, liberal democracy, and illiberal democracy. One point can be earned for the definition and two points can be earned for each of the other three questions.

alvaroCGP wrote:

A social contract is the understanding of an individual, that was born with complete freedom, and the state, that the individual will sacrifice freedom and have limitations in order to maintain order in a state.

A primary way in which a social contract is enforced in a state with liberal democracy is through governmental regulations such as laws respecting the property of an individual. In a social contract in a liberal democracy, if you break a law concerning property, the state enforces a consequence or even a punishment to whoever broke the law.

A primary way in which a social contract is enforced in a state without liberal democracy is through interest groups.

It is more difficult to enforce a social contract in the UK than it is in Mexico. In Mexico, the citizens are granted a more direct election for their government's leadership than the one the UK provides. Another important factor in the UK that makes it more difficult to enforce a social contract is the fact that the UK is divided into four nations: the Welsh, the Scotts, the Irish, and the English. In conclusion, the UK is more difficult to enforce a social contract than Mexico due to its complexity in the government, although the UK has found ways to solve their problems through a great level of transparency and devolution to the nations.


COMMENTARY

a. This response is a very basic rephrasing of the classic definition. It's adequate, but I'd be tempted (if allowed) to award it half a point. As it is, it earns one point.

b. This response is focused on material property and that is part of the social contract in liberal democracies, but in those systems individual rights beyond property rights are also important. The response earns one point.

c. This response makes little sense. If interest groups had power and influence, public opinion would play a role in enforcing the social contract, contradicting the concept of an illiberal democracy. This response earns no points.

d. The last sentence tends to undermine the points made earlier. The argument also depends upon a simplistic comparison of the British and Mexican systems. Does the direct election of a president in Mexico grant citizens more power? Is a unitary regime less democratic than a federal one? Are there distinctive social contracts in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland? This response earns no points.

This response earns 2 points.


Ken Wedding said...

The sixth question is:
6. Nearly all nation states, even non-democratic ones, are based on assumed, if not explicit, social contracts.
a. Define the concept of social contract.
b. Explain a primary way in which a social contract is "enforced" in a state with a liberal democracy.
c. Explain a primary way citizens can "enforce" a social contract in a state without a liberal democracy.
d. Is it more difficult to enforce the social contract in the UK than it is to enforce the social contract in Mexico? Why?


This is a 7-point question. This question is asking how well you understand the concepts of social contract, liberal democracy, and illiberal democracy. One point can be earned for the definition and two points can be earned for each of the other three questions.

Alex Astruc wrote:

a) A social contract is an agreement between the people and the government. The “signers” of the contract agree to give up some rights, in order to gain others, which the government agrees to protect. One’s rights end where another person’s rights start; when your rights infringe upon someone else’s, you are breaking the law. The importance of the social contract is that it is the basis for the concept of governing, legitimacy, stability and a functioning society. However, it also encourages homogeneity and conformity.

b) In a state with a liberal democracy, the social contract is “enforced” through the adherence to the constitution, separation of powers, free and competitive elections and the application of individual liberties.

c) It is interesting to note the difference between question b) and c): it implies that in a liberal democracy the state enforces the social contract, in contrast in an illiberal democracy the citizens do. An illiberal democracy is a state in which elections are held, however individual rights are often limited or non-existent. In this case, the social contract becomes an agreement among the citizens. The extent of “enforcement” correlates to the degree of illiberality, the more illiberal the less enforcement. If there is some latitude, which is unlikely because it would weaken the state, a major manifestation of the social contract would be interest groups.

d) It is more difficult to enforce the social contract in Mexico than in the UK because the United Kingdom is an established democracy where rule of law guides the political process, individual rights are guaranteed and protected, and the government needs a majority consent (there is election for representatives, thus will of the people) to legislate and enforce laws. Although there is social contract in Mexico, the patron-client system, PRI dominance and outside forces that can determine the political outcomes (drug cartels that have a heavy hand to guide politicians) are factors that make Mexico’s social binding between the people and the government more difficult to enforce than in the UK.


COMMENTARY

a. This is a good response. It earns a point.

b. This response is clear, concise, and explicit. This response earns 2 points.

c. I don't understand this argument. How do citizens in an illiberal democracy enforce the social contract? Through interest groups? And how do interest groups exercise influence and power? An essential feature of an illiberal regime is the top-down exercise of power. The response correctly notes that "individual rights are often limited or non-existent" in an illiberal regime, but fails to suggest what other benefits citizens might have been offered (national pride, law and order, social services, etc.). This response earns no points.

d. This response is very good. It earns 2 points.

This response earns 5 points.

Ken Wedding said...

The sixth question is:
6. Nearly all nation states, even non-democratic ones, are based on assumed, if not explicit, social contracts.
a. Define the concept of social contract.
b. Explain a primary way in which a social contract is "enforced" in a state with a liberal democracy.
c. Explain a primary way citizens can "enforce" a social contract in a state without a liberal democracy.
d. Is it more difficult to enforce the social contract in the UK than it is to enforce the social contract in Mexico? Why?


This is a 7-point question. This question is asking how well you understand the concepts of social contract, liberal democracy, and illiberal democracy. One point can be earned for the definition and two points can be earned for each of the other three questions.

Alejandro Caldera wrote:

a. Social contract refers to a theory model in which an agreement is done between member of a society as to rules, rights, duties and other things that will help have a harmonic relationship. Usually parts of this contract are explicit in a constitution or implicit (like in UK). It is basically the acceptance of a society to be under the law with the objective of having communal wellbeing and respect. Social contract was present since the first civilization of the world, when people gave up some of their sovereignty to be under an authority or regime. Thomas Hobbes referred to this idea in Leviathan.

b. A written constitution is one of the primary ways in which social contract can be enforced to a liberal democracy since this usually contains explicit agreements on social contract. In liberal democracies there is usually respect for the individual rights, therefore in response the people also respect the social contract.

c. In contrast to a liberal democracy, an illiberal democracy is one in which commonly individual rights to liberty and equality are not respected. This is commonly one that has rigged elections or has lots of corruption inside the government. Since there is a lack of respect to the social contract in the side of the regime, therefore the society commonly doesn’t approve the government. The most efficient ways in which they can enforce a social contract in an illiberal democracy is by making protests and liberal movements and also having NGOs such as human rights organizations to promote respect to rights in the country.

d. It is more difficult in Mexico since it has had a long history of corruption, while UK has been an exemplary liberal democracy. In Mexico, they apparently had rigged elections for many years, in which the PRI would always simply chose the new president. Also, there has been lots of corruption inside the government, such as misuse of government money and selling government posts.


COMMENTARY

a. This is a very good response. It earns a point.

b. This is also a very good response. It earns 2 points.

c. It seems that "making protests and liberal movements and also having NGOs such as human rights organizations to promote respect to rights in the country." are ways of undermining an unpopular social contract. Enforcing a social contract in an illiberal democracy would depend mostly on the acquiescence of the populace and the actions of a government to offer security or material benefits or to enforce obedience through police powers. This response does not earn any points.

d. This response is good. It earns 2 points.

This response earns 5 points.