Culture, Theory and Society Module
- What is the most effective democratic model?
Parliamentary democracy is deemed the most democratic in the modern world. This is because the public participates in elections where they choose politicians who represent in the legislative assembly. The elected members then reach decisions via majority vote. Direct democracy is another form in which the voting public is involved directly in the political process (Allaire, 1984).
- Critiques of liberal democracy
Liberal democracy refers to a government system whereby elected representatives’ powers are limited by the constitution. The constitution guards liberal rights of individuals including freedom of speech, right to privacy and equality. Some of the criticisms of liberal democracy are that the democracy is not representative of the people’s will in that citizens are denied the right to cast votes on all issues apart from when they are asked to vote in their representatives (Allaire, 1984). Liberal democracy would therefore be deemed to be controlled by the elite few.
- To what extent is the Westminster model of democracy fit for purpose?
The Westminster system refers to a series of procedures set for the operation of a legislature in the United Kingdom. The operation of Westminster form of government is complex because the president holds a ceremonial role. As such, he does not exercise his executive powers. Instead, these powers are exercised by the cabinet. The cabinet is therefore responsible for government policy which implies that consensus has to be reached in reaching decisions hence time consuming. The system may therefore be ineffective for policies requiring immediate attention.
- Which of the three following voting systems is preferable: first-past-the-post, AV and AV-plus.
First past the vote system involves voters casting their votes in single member constituencies. The one with the most votes wins. As such, all the other contestants count for nothing. The system is not good for democracy because faulty leaders cannot be held to account. Alternative voting system on the contrary involves voters ranking candidates in order preference and the one with the least votes is eliminated and the one with more than 50% of the votes takes the seat (Knights, 2006). AV Plus is similar to alternative voting except each voter gets to vote for the second time to determine party representative to the legislature. As such, AV Plus would be most preferred to ensure democracy is upheld.
- What is the difference between gender and sex?
Sex refers to the biological differences pertaining internal and external sex organs. On the contrary, gender refers to the characteristics that the society perceives to be masculine or feminine.
- Has feminism gone too far?
Feminism refers to the advocating for the rights of women to be equal to those of men. However, in the recent past it has led confusion about the society’s gender roles as women are offered top positions by virtue of them being women. As such, normal behavior needs to be defined if equality is to be achieved as opposed to the feminine gender being given preference. Hence, feminism has been over emphasized (Allaire, 1984).
- To what extent was Tony Blair a Thatcherite?
Thatcherism refers to the political, social and economic ideas associated with Margaret Thatcher. Tony Blair was an advocate for Thatcherism in that he supported her ideas in his autobiography A Journey in which he supported Thatcher’s policies by claiming that Britain needed the economic and industrial changes instituted by Thatcher. Thatcherism could also be seen as having a longstanding influence on Labour Party which was closely associated with Tony Blair.
- Has British politics become more centrist since 1979? Is this a good or a bad thing?
In the short run, Margaret Thatcher’s regime political atmosphere could be seen as liberal following her ascension into power. However, after taking the necessary measures, the British government gained control of its economic and political situation. British political scene has since taken a centrist position with the adoption of trade union reforms, deregulation and tax controls. All these reforms have created better economic prospects for British economy (Knights, 2006).
- Is there such a thing as a “normal” sexual orientation?
Sexual orientation refers to the direction an individual’s sexual desires take. This is distinguished by the sex of an individual’s sex partner. It ranges from heterosexuality to various forms of homosexuality and bisexuality. It can be concluded that there is no normal sexual orientation as individuals do not necessarily expose their sexual orientation in their day to day activities.
- Should we welcome queer theory?
This is a theory that emerged in the 1990s which establishes that feminist challenges constitute the main reason for normative and deviant categories of sexual behavior. It does define any sexual behaviour in particular (Knights, 2006). However, queer theory should be welcomed because it forms a basis for distinguishing between gender and sexuality. It is also likely to place individuals in a single constrictive sexual orientation.
- The Washington Consensus: Success or Failure?
The consensus was a success at first as it allowed developing nations to operate free markets hence liberalism, however it lost popularity in the later years because the policies were found to be restrictive. This is because countries that did not abide by the policies experienced massive growth in the economy.
- How relevant is Keynesianism in 2012
Keynesian Theory argues that the aggregate demand is a major determinant for output and employment. Hence it calls for the public sector to step in to assist the economy. It is relevant in the present day because if the poor are distributed with wealth, they would be likely to spend it hence economic growth.
- To what extent have the Millennium Development Goals been a success?
Success has been uneven among countries with some fulfilling commitments on children’s health and adopting initiatives aimed at combating poverty. However, majority of the countries have not achieved the goals. This can be attributed to the fact that some goals are unachievable to some countries and there is lack of analysis and justification for the goals (Allaire, 1984).
- Who should play the greater role in poverty alleviation: governments, supra-governmental organisations or NGOs?
Poverty alleviation involves improving poor people’s living conditions. Poverty elimination lies with the government because its policies such as promoting economic freedoms and giving the poor property rights particularly with regards to land. By improving the basic infrastructure, governments would promote investment hence creation of employment. As such, other stakeholders would only assist in poverty alleviation with supportive government policies (Allaire, 1984).
- Is there any value in the term ‘race’?
The term race is still relevant because allegations on racial discrimination are still rife in our workplaces. Racial discrimination accounts for the highest percentage of employment discrimination. Additionally, some forms of illnesses are deemed to be race linked such as sickle cell anaemia. The disease is perceived are perceived to be prevalent among persons of African descent. Racial discrimination may also be linked to particular religions if a particular ethnicity is associated with a given religion such as Asians affiliation to Hinduism. Hence, we cannot dismiss the term race as irrelevant yet (Harper, 2000).
- Do liberal economic policies necessarily require liberal immigration policies?
Imposing liberal immigration policies would to some extent restrain countries from adopting restrictive economic policies. However, care needs to be exercised as a country’s economic agenda does not necessarily represent its political agenda. Further, membership criteria are not linked with liberal constitutionalism defining what a country’s members must do (Harper, 2000).
- To what extent do you agree with Rawls’ Veil of Ignorance theory?
Rawl’s ignorance theory determines morality in various issues by assuming that the concerned parties do not their abilities, tastes among other social positions assumed by the society. As such, the parties then decide on rights regarding the distribution of rights and resources. However, the veil is not realistic as materialism would be preferred to upholding self respect. Human beings are also prone to envy a factor that stands in the way of natural justice (Harper, 2000).
- Is the Welfare State immoral?
In order to uphold morality, morals need to be integrated in the economic systems, the rule of law among other policies by which we are governed (Harper, 2000). Morality of welfare state can be questioned given the discriminative and oppressive policies adopted in the modern world. Such violate morality and ultimately leads to self destruction.
- How should a pluralist society balance the rights of minorities with the national ethos?
A country that has embraced diversity should formulate policies that seek to promote unity among all its nationals including the minority. This can be achieved through allowing participation by the minority in public activities while allowing them to have access to a society’s resources. By balancing such rights among all its nationals, a pluralist society would be deemed to have achieved equity (Knights, 2006).
- Western society is “dominated by the Christian-Jewish roots of Christianity, humanism and the Enlightenment” (Angela Merkel). Do you agree?
Merkel’s statements are subjective because she implied that immigrants into German needed to do more to integrate into the German culture. In reference to her commentary, it can be concluded that she implied that a multicultural society would be impractical in Germany. Hence, her comments do not represent the position of the western culture. Further, the modern world has embraced diversity. The policies by which we are governed are not restrictive in terms of religion. I disagree with Merkel’s position.