Intro to Politics Paper #1: Political Power

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Intro to Politics Paper #1: Political Power by Mind Map: Intro to Politics Paper #1: Political Power

1. (5) What impact of corporate influence has had on the lives of average citizens? (MEDIA) Do they infringe on individual rights? How do corporations influence democracy? In what ways do you see government and corporations working together to promote the interest of a few?

1.1. Because most MNCs only care about their bottom-line and less about the public good, they have had a negative impact on the lives of average citizens. The Corporation explains that corporations were originally created as a gift for the benefit of the public good, but that original intention has flew out the window now that corporations seem to have more power and rights than ordinary citizens.

1.2. Lawmakers have been giving more rights to corporations for property and capital and are taking away more from the regular person.

1.3. Corporations and government work side-by-side by working to control politics and economics. Government and corporate leaders have a goal in common which is to obtain as much power as possible over the people. Since money is the currency of political power, and since these leaders are typically financial elisits, they feel obligated to work together in the interest of the few.This could have negative consequences for ordinary citizens (i.e. Politicians making millions off of the war on terror because they are members of companies like Haliburton or other military corporations). Corporations have become just as--if not more--influential than government on a geopolitical scale.

1.4. Corporations have taken over all aspects of the average citizens life for their own interests. Through the soft persuasion of media, corporations have turned their desires into out desires. They have steered what we should think, believe, and want through media such as commercials, radio, and news stations (i.e. Monsanto greatly editing the Fox news story about Posilac and its effects).



2.2. (1) What is "power"? What is "politics"? How does "power" relate to the concept of politics? How does it relate to the public interest?

2.2.1. "power is the currency of all politics" (p.03). Power can be described as "the capacity to influence or control the behavior of persons and institutions, whether by persuasion or coercion (force)" (p.03).

2.2.2. Politics is defined as "the process by which a community selects rulers and empowers them to make decisions, takes action to attain common goals, and reconciles conflicts within the community" (p.03).

2.2.3. In politics, leaders and rulers use power to influence their community or control their behavior. Politics is governed by power, which is wielded by those given legimate authority and other non-state actors, including leaders, politicians, states, large corporations etc.

2.2.4. Those with power in politics look to use this power toward influencing the public interest. This can be bias toward this person/corporations on self-interst, or toward the public good. It is here where the problem lies.

3. P. I

3.1. (2) What types of power does the textbook discuss? HOW DO LEADERS, STATES, AND CORPORATIONS DEMONSTRATE POWER? What power do they have over politics? What is "hard power"? What is "soft power"? Do leaders & MNCs have hard or soft power or both? (define terms from text)

3.1.1. Power can come in many sources. Though political power is the main term in question, "a large population, a booming economy, a cohesive society, and wise leadership--are all examples of quite different power sources" (p.03).

3.1.2. Leaders and states demonstrate hard power, which is "in international politics, the use of military force or the threat to use force or other coercive measures such as freezing foreign assets or imposing strict economic sanctions"p.04.

3.1.3. Corporations (especially MNCs) most typically use soft power to influence the people. Soft power is "the ability to get others to want what you want by example and moral suasion, as well as respect and admiration earned through the success of your ideas, institutions, and actions in the world" (p.04). Leaders and powerful politicians also commonly use this form of power to relate to the power and persuade them to access legitimate authority.

3.1.4. "Political power is clearly associated with the means of coercion (the regular police, secret police, and the army), but power can also flow from wealth, personal charisma, ideology, religion, and many other sources, including the moral standing of a particular individual or group in society" (p.04). Leaders and corporations use aspects of both means of power to have greater influence over the people and state.

4. P. II

4.1. (3) What other qualities allow for leaders to wield power over the people? (DISCUSS PUTIN SYSTEM AND ETHOS). How does Putin yield power as a leader? Is it through corrupt practices? Manipulation? Propoganda?

4.1.1. In history, we have seen many ways in which leaders wield power over the people. Ideal leaders, or what we call statesmen, use statecraft or "the use of the assets or the resources and tools (economic, military, intelligence, media) that a state has to persue its interest and to affect the behavior of others, whether friendly or hostile," (p.307).

4.1.2. Leaders can practice statecraft through coercive force, peaceful negotiation, manipulation, corruption, and propoganda. Vladimir Putin, for example, used manipulation and attractiveness to gain his position in Russia. He also used hard power when he froze oil imports in Chechnya in order to make his name known. He wanted power over foreign places and to make his self-interst a reality--to bring Russia back to the superpower it was during and before the Cold War. He has allegedly used corrupt practices to stay in power such as rigging elections and censoring media and propoganda to show him only in a positive light.

5. P. III

5.1. (4) What influence do MNCs have over politics and policy? (CORPORATION & ETHOS; CH. 1 & 18)

5.1.1. MNCs have had a great influence on politics and policy since they cleverly persuaded their way into making a corporation legally a person from the 14th Amendment. Though these corporations are not people, don't have feelings like people, and only care about their bottom-line, they are still able to sue and be sued, buy and sell property,and borrow money. In The Corporation, MNCs are often compared to such intimidating and predatorial symbols including Godzilla, Frankenstein, and a large whale

6. P. IV

6.1. (5) How might the corporations be brought under control?

6.1.1. The only way corporations can be brought under control is if the government limits corporate power and brings the system back to a democracy rather than the patriarchy we are now as eEthos described, which is when the power resides in the "wealth of the nation".

6.1.2. The only way corporations can be brought under control is if the government

6.2. (6) How are the citizens responding to this unequal distribution of power? (SPAIN'S NEO & T.I.W.D.L.L).

6.2.1. There are many naive people in the world that do not realize the unequal distribution of power between the people, government and corporations. Others on the other hand there are those that witness the consequences first hand and have no choice but to take action for the sake of the public interest. In Spain where there has been a five year economic collapse due to a housing market crash and widespread homelessnes/eviction rates, ordinary citizens are influencing Spain and working toward helping the public interest when their government has turned its back on them. These hippies, punks, and anarchists have taken on the job of social service to their communities by helping the homeless families relocate and rebuild their lives. They are making a statement to their government that they will overcome even when their distribution of power is unequal.

6.2.2. In "This is what Democracy Looks Like", regular citizens responded to the consequences of unequal distribution of power, specifically between the people and the WTO, which is an IGO designed to regulate the global economy. The people were angry with the WTO and its abuse to safety, labor, and environmental conditions globally within MNCs. The "Battle of Seattle" during the 1999 WTO meeting prompted nonviolent protestors to call to attention the abuse that corporations have and its negative influence on all people. These protests did not end in Seattle but turned global. The responses that the citizens had reached the ears of these leaders and prompted their attention. People can have a voice when it comes to politics.


7.1. (7) What can you conclude about the nature of power in politics? Why is this important to understanding politics? Why should we care?

7.1.1. The nature of power in politics is one that is driven by authority, persuasion hard or soft, decietfullness, and ultimate self-interest. It is important to understand politics because its effects spread across the globe. The decisions of leaders and corporations turn into consequences for the people and the environment. It is important that we are aware of these issues and take control when we are not in favor. We need to care because our power as people is at stake with the rising influence of corporate control in government systems. I believe the people are able to make a difference if they refuse to continue to let corporations and leaders influence their thoughts and behaviors. We need to take control of our government and not let corporate power control us any more. Political power needs to be given back to the people.