General Paper Notes: Politics – Government Priorities

Excerpt from Politics notes (copyright: Knowledge Skills LLP)

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Politics, Government and Democracy

I. Priorities and characteristics of good governments.

There is a long list of the characteristics of good governance. In GP, the primary focus is on the competing priorities that governments face. In other words, students should focus on being able to craft arguments showing how governments often face conflicting requirements and demands, even as some of these factors may strengthen each other.

For now, we shall focus on the economic, social and political demands governments often face:

A. Economic growth
B. Social Unity/Stability
C. Political Freedom

Key relationships:

A & B
Economic growth thrives when societies are stable and unified. (E.g. Singapore insists that social stability is a prerequisite of our economic growth; the absence of social stability has undermined the economic performance of many African nations, Latin American nations such as Brazil only really improved economically with social stability since the turn of the century.)

Simultaneously, nations that are economically successful tend to be socially more stable. Revolutions hardly ever occur in wealthy nations. (E.g. Historical: The French, Russian and Chinese revolutions all occurred under conditions of poverty. Modern Day: Note the social upheavals in Spain and Greece during the Eurozone Crisis, the Arab Spring.)

At the same time, an over-emphasis on economic growth in today’s world can undermine social equality and unity; this often leads to instability. (E.g. anti-globalisation protests in developed nations, arguably even Singapore in recent years.)

An overly consensual social compact can lead to economic stagnation if society becomes overly set in its ways (E.g. Japan)

A & C
The most successful economies in the world have tended to also be the freest nations on earth. (E.g. the USA, Nordic nations) Political freedom is seen by many to create the societal conditions conducive to economic growth and to innovation and creativity. (E.g. The rise of South Korean companies coincided with greater . . .

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