Foreign Contemporary Government
The European economic integration is a concept which has brought together friends and foes alike in one of the longest debates on the viability and practicability of a joint economic block. The main contention has been what each member has to offer with some arguing that some countries have nothing or little to contribute and therefore an integration of the European economies will disadvantage and that is unfair.
Therefore the issue has brought forth conflicting and mixed reactions. Britain is an industrial power which has enjoyed a stable political social and economic stability since the dawn of the 19th century. Britain has well established economic systems which outmatch any of those for members of the European zone. Only Germany, Canada, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands enjoy economic, political and social stability close to Britain’s. However the decision on whether the United Kingdom should join the euro zone should be arrived at after a careful analysis of the prevalent worldwide trends especially in the advent of globalisation (Alesina, and Howard, pg.34-67). The tendency currently being witnessed is that different regional subsystems are gaining momentum and the future seems to point to a growing relevance or importance of forming economic integrated blocks.
Membership or ratification of the Britain’s economic integration into the Euro zone has far reaching consequences for Britain. However the focus should shift from immediate gains to long term goals and gains. As it stands today the GDP of Britain in comparison to the other European countries is one of the highest (Kesselman, Krieger, Joseph, 234-321). The Britain’s domestic market is stable and the purchasing power amongst the Britain is high something which means that British does not necessarily need to rely on the European zone for its products market. However this situation is bound to shift in the long term as there is a likelihood of market saturation. The over-reliance on domestic market means that the industries back in Britain can only grow proportionately with domestic environment. This is not good for the economy of Britain and therefore Britain must embrace the euro zone not necessarily for immediate gains but for long term benefits.
In addition Britain stands to gain much political influence in the region if it freely embraces the European economic integration. Therefore by joining the European economic block the UK will have a direct interest in affairs of the member countries. This is a good way of exerting regional influence and a good bargaining policy for its economic and political interests. In addition, Britain stands to gain from a big market for its products as well as the opportunity to learn from the other member countries, considering that every country in Euro zone can comparatively gain either politically or economically from the rest of the countries. Britain will stand better chances of pushing its economic agenda in the world markets through the European economic integration. Although some have opposed Britain’s ratification of the European economic integration citing stiff competition for the Britain’s produce the implications for not failing to endorse the European economic integration are far much costly than the benefits of staying away. Therefore Britain should join the Euro zone.
Collective responsibility of the cabinet refers to the duty of the cabinet members to function in unity and harmony in pushing of the government’s policies. The cabinet is responsible for formulating government policy and pushing the agenda through the house to gain acceptance. The cabinet is also supposed to offer advice to the Prime Minister in the formulation of government’s policy on both international and domestic issues. The cabinet has its own independence. Although the members of the cabinet are supposed to function under a call for collective responsibility, members are free to advice the prime Minister accordingly and to make sure that all the decisions of the Prime Minister are for the common good of the country and are therefore not meant to some individual interests.
The members of the cabinet have a responsibility to adhere to cabinet’s code of ethics which allow cabinet members to democratically and on principle differ with the official government position. However the tendency in the past has been that cabinet ministers rarely express opposition to the Prime Minister’s official position on government matters. This is usually the case even when the Prime Minister evidently makes decisions which are totally against the general public’s opinion. This can be explained by the fact that traditionally, Prime Ministers have tended to appoint to the cabinet people who are loyal to them and as such the cabinet has largely been very ineffective in checking on the powers of Prime Minister. For example the decisions by British Prime Minister Tony Blair were clearly against the public mood and expectations, yet only a few cabinet ministers openly objected to the Prime Minister’s decision. This was a classic example of how the cabinet has failed in its mandate to check on the powers of the Prime Minister.
Technological, social and cultural activities occasioned by the industrial revolution had the biggest impact in Western Europe and particularly in Britain. The society was instrumental in the cultural and technological changes, which characterized the industries revolution. It is worth noting that the technological levels during the industrial evolution were very manual. The industrial revolution depended on supply of labour for the growing industries. Industrial revolution was characterized by social changes in such forms such as the change of the social relations amongst people.
Supply of labor was one of the greatest social impacts on the industrial revolution. The textile industry, which was the very first among industries during the industrial revolution, was labor intensive considering the high demand for textiles and the raw materials required for the industries to run. People were needed to work in the farms so as to meet the demand at the industries. On the other hand, constant supply of skilled, semi-skilled as well as unskilled labour meant that the industries could meet the high demands for industrial products. This contributed to an economic boom in Britain in the late 18th century and the early 19th century (Taylor, pg.53). Another social impact on the industrial revolution was the increased rate of urbanization. With industrial revolution many people moved into industrial centers in search of employment. This led to a rapid growth of urban centers and high rates of rural-urban migration as well as urban-urban migration. This led to the sprawling of cheap houses (slums) near major industrial centers as the wages the industrial workers received were little and therefore most of them could not have afforded decent living.
The need for shelter characterized the industrial revolution. Hitherto the industrial revolution, the society co-existed as a unified unit with most people embracing the extended family as opposed to the nuclear family. With the advent of industrial revolution, there was need to look for jobs as many people left agricultural economic activities in search of salaried job. Therefore as a result of industrial revolution, new social institutions emerged as people convened in and around industrial centers. Such institutions included trade unions, entertainment centers as well as schools. As a result of industrial revolution, the society changed in some ways especially due to introduction of steam engines. The steam engines saw movement from place to place become easier. Technological discoveries also implied an increased quality of life as people could work and earn wages and therefore increase their buying power. As people concentrated in urban centers most people were skilled and this led to a heightened interaction of people from different places with divergent views.
Employees of the industries would hold meetings after work especially trade union meetings. From the trade unions, people deliberated on political issues, human rights and worker rights. The increased awareness levels in the society slowly gave birth to the democratization process. The other significant social impact of the industrial revolution was the improvement of health care. This saw a population boom as infant mortality was greatly reduced and therefore the population grew at a faster rate (Sanderson, pg.14). Despite the creation of skilled jobs, industrial revolution led to the loss of jobs in some levels of manpower therefore leaving many people who had been depending on agriculture to move to towns to search for factory jobs.
The fact that there was an influx of labor supply to the urban centers implied that people were going to be paid little wages, which also impacted on the quality of life. Since family sizes during the industrial revolution were still large, coupled with high living costs occasioned by urbanization resulted into many people lacking in basic needs something which contributed to civil strife.
Prior to the industrial revolution, child labor was not pronounced and most jobs were gendered such that, women were left at the homes to do domestic chores while men worked and supported the families. All this changed with industrial revolution. As the demand for labor increased, women joined men at the factories as unskilled employees (Thomis, pg.97). The demand for cheap labor also contributed to the popularity of child labour.
The inclusion of children and women in the job market had social impact in that, women who were earning spent less time in doing domestic chores and were more liberal (Berlanstein, & Lenard, pg.32). This formed the root for women rights as women became more aware of their rights. The fact that both parents could work meant financial independence of the women. In addition women started to bear fewer children, as most jobs required that women do not take maternity leaves very often. The child labor resulting from industrial revolution contributed to the fight for labour rights. Child labour also had impact on the society especially the fact that most children could not attend schools something, which affected literacy levels in the society.
Industrial revolution had many positive as well as negative impacts on the society. However the industrial revolution still remains the most significant event of the recent centuries. Industrial revolution led to the disintegration of the family unit in that more time was committed to looking for money than bringing up a united family, in addition, industrial brought about social change in lifestyle from a predominantly agricultural society to a mechanized society. It is worth noting that although some social impacts of industries were negative there were some positive changes such as the emergency of a rich class, which resulted from entrepreneurship and wages.
Social classes have been a very pronounced component of the French society in the centuries preceding the French revolution. The social classification of the society was characterised by oppression of the majority by the ruling minority as well as the unfair distribution of resources meaning that resources were concentrated to the top de crème of he society. Social injustice was common and the political elite ensured that status quo was maintained and the poor did not have access to state resources or to political power. Social classification was evident in how gendered the society had become. Women were at the periphery of political leadership and were viewed as a source of cheap labour while at other times they were only needed by politicians for votes especially with introduction of the voting system in France.
Social changes in France of the late 18th century greatly contributed to the emancipation of the woman. These social changes resulted into working class women who had the bargaining power and could actively influence political decisions in France (Davis, pg.65). The social structure in France was headed into a major change and come the 1950’s 3 discrete social structure emerged. There emerged a top class comprised of the mighty in the society who at that time happened to be composed of politicians, traders as well as clique of wealthy family lines whose family wealth had been inherited (Davis, pg.43-76). There also emerged a middle class who comprised of office workers and professionals who courtesy of their academic credentials earned a lot to sustain a lucrative and lavish lifestyle. The least of the classes which emerged in the late 1950’s according to (Davis, pg.21-54) comprised of labourers and the unemployed who could not secure well paying jobs and as a result were languishing in poverty.
With democratisation of France and the re-alignment of the country to regional economic blocks such as the European economic block the social structures in France are fast diminishing. Major contributions to the decline of the social classes includes effects of globalisation which means that more people can participate in self-empowerment, economic activities and therefore improve their livelihoods liberalization of the market, meaning that the environment of entrepreneurship is rife and many unemployed citizens can still participate in economical activities as well as social changes implemented by the subsequent governments aimed at creating an empowering environment to facilitate wealth creation in France. One characteristic of the Fifth Republic’s style of decision-making which has significantly contributed to France’s democracy is the creation of An enabling investment environment in France. This has been achieved through a number of approaches such as the improvement and reforms in the education sector which aimed at producing graduates which would be responsive to the economic and development needs of France.
This ensured that France had the human resource power to run its industries and to be innovative therefore spurring economic growth. The weakness which had been very evident in the Fifth Republic’s style of decision-making is its rigidness which has seen France lag behind in embracing changes so as to allow for greater room for a conducive investment for growth. For instance the recent rejection of the European constitution is an indicator of the fact that France is widely a conservative society and this may take some time to change. What needs to be done to improve the quality of French democracy is the strengthening of its internal systems to allow room for a freer society which will be open to change. The constitution of France is the engine of the country’s political system and therefore some changes in the constitution largely view as conservative (Haupt, pg.103-109), would go a great way in improving the quality of French democracy. This will see France government as well as the subsequent become tolerant to internal criticism.
Ronald, (pg.116) defines Russia’s ‘shock therapy’ concept as the process of suddenly realising price as well as currency state control, coupled with the lack of state subsidies and a higher degree of trade liberalisation with an aim of revamping the economy especially to save it from collapse. Economists recommend shock therapy as an intervention measure geared at kick starting a crumbling or a declining economy. In Russia, the shock therapy was adapted as a salvation measure to curb the effects of the fallout of the USSR which saw the member state’s economies suffer from high levels of inflation coupled with unemployment and high levels of official communication.
The shock therapy as adopted in Russia was geared towards achieving an inbuilt market economy which would save Russia from an economic crisis. Russia therefore engaged in a process of releasing all state price control to allow a liberal market economy as well as the abandoning of state subsidies in addition to the selling of state assets. Russia also floated its currencies a measure which although considered radical was effective in normalising and stabilising the economy once more. As a consequence of the shock therapy, Russia experienced unprecedented high levels of unemployment, an increase in official corruption which saw government officials collaborate with organised criminal syndicates especially in money laundry and arms smuggling. This in turn resulted into enormous government losses in terms of lost government revenues and unpaid taxes. In addition a big social class difference emerged with some part of the Russian society becoming very rich while the other section became very poor.
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 was as a result of economical, political as well as social factors. According to (Barbara, and Posadskaya-Vanderbeck, pgs.79-81) the collapse of the Soviet Union, a world super power was a culmination of events shaped by the Soviet Union’s legacy and a result of the short-sightedness of its leaders. The collapse of the Soviet Union was indirectly as a result of the cold war in that the war over-stretched the Union’s economic resources given the fact that it involved a lot of resources. The cold war was fought by proxy and that meant that the Soviet Union expected to sponsor other nations which had aligned with its communist philosophy in an effort to outdo United States of America’s capitalist associates. The cold war also resulted into an arms race which saw USSR invest more of its wealth in developing military artillery at the cost of social development. Therefore Soviet Union concentrated in international affairs at the risk of domestic development (Harbour, pg.124-129). Consequently the Soviet Union’s internal structures were weakened and consequently the Union crumbled. Lack of strong internal political structure especially resulted into internal inconsistency between Mr. Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin (Flint, 52). This in turn resulted into internal wars which meant that the state could not cope with both internal and external pressures and eventually had to collapse.
Work Cited Page
Alesina, A. and Howard, R. Partisan Politics, Divided Governments and the Economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
Barbara, A. and Posadskaya-Vanderbeck, A. eds. A Revolutionary of their own: voices of women in the Soviet History. West view Press. 1998. 47-69.
Berlanstein, and Lenard R. The Industrial Revolution and Work in Nineteenth-Century Europe London: Routledge. 1992.
Davis, N. Society and Culture in Early Modern France. Stanford: Stanford University Press. 1987.
Flint, D. The Russian Federation. The Former Soviet States. Millbrook. 1992.
Harbour, M. The Break-up of the Soviet Union. London. New Discovery Books. 1993. 47
Haupt, H. The Petite Bourgeoisie in France, 1850 -1914: In Search of the Juste Millieu? Shopkeepers and master Artisans in 19th century Europe. New York: Methuen. 1984.
Kesselman, Krieger, Joseph. Introduction to comparative politics. 3rd Edition. Columbia University Press. 2004.
Ronald, G. The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR and successor states. Oxford University Press, 1998.
Sanderson, M. Literacy and Social Mobility in the Industrial Revolution in England: A Rejoinder. Past ; Present (64). 1974
Taylor, A. The Standard of Living in Britain in the Industrial Revolution. London: Methuen/ New York: Barnes ; Noble. 1975.
Thomis, M. 1974.The Town Labourer and the Industrial Revolution. London: Batsford/ New York: Barnes ; Noble,
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