Why do people conform?

Topic: LawGovernment
Sample donated:
Last updated: May 7, 2019

Dear Reader, The main point of my paper is to show the underlining reasons as to why people confirm to different forms of government structures, democracy and authoritarian, based on their economic background. I attempt to do this by working backwards, first I show why they would revolt or protest, and then I extrapolate the reasons why they followed the regime in the first place. Before reading my paper, my readers probably think that each class supports the government for money and survival.However, after reading my paper, my readers will think that the reasons for support are become ore self-serving than basic human rights as a person climbs the economic ladder. I believe a strength of my paper is the idea is engaging and the evidence is there to support it.

However, I did struggle with presenting my information in a more concise manner. As I wrote my paper I realized that there were a variety of ways that I could have structured the paper. The structure of my paper convolutes my thesis, but I do believe the general idea is there.

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A stronger structure and a more concise thesis would benefit my paper greatly.Do to a weak thesis, I had trouble writing my onclusion, I would like for my reader to maybe suggest some ideas as to how I can bring all of my ideas together to make a greater statement. Thank you, Michael Galathe What Causes an Economic Group to Conform? Michael Galathe- Pitzer College December 9, 2013 There are three distinct groups that society is broken up into based on economics: lower class, middle-class, and upper class. The lower class are generally filled with the manual laborers or the uneducated; the middle class is filled with varying ranking military officials; while the upper class is filled with politicians or usinessmen.These economic groups contain a wider variety of people and are interchangeable depending on the country and the political structure. However, each economic group, although ruled under the same government structure, are affected differently by political pressures. These pressures create opportunities and even give a certain degree of power to one group, while oppressing another.

However, all three groups are presented with opportunities and oppression generated by the government. The lower class may receive a free education or health care as in SovietRussia or present day China, but are exploited or swept aside by laws and government officials as in Nigeria or present day Russia. The middle class is able to have a louder voice in political matters depending on the type of government and the upper class have the greatest power within the political realm, yet both of these classes share the same drawback, if they decide to speak against the government they run the risk of losing everything. In an authoritarian regime these pros and cons well.

Most scholars look at the risk posed for the groups and explore why they choose o revolt and why they choose to stay complacent.Although the pros at first glance seem more lucrative than opposing, scholars represent both overt and covert reasons for each group to revolt against the government. In this paper I will examine how “members of economically disadvantaged groups” perpetuate “working class authoritarianism” (Napier and Jost, 2008); I will also look at Sharon Erickson Nepstad’s article looking at different factors that cause military defections; the major labor movement presented by Kevin Gray; and finally looking at he political role people in power had in the fall of the military-authoritarianism government in Bangladesh.Each article focuses on a different economic class, giving incite into the benefits each group has for going against the government in one form or another. Through Grays broad approach to the effectiveness of labor movements and the role that politicians played in the fall of the military-authoritarianism government in Bangladesh, I will show the broader theories of confirming on the lower and higher ends of the spectrum.

Then use the Napier and Jost’s article to how how the government structure, whether democratic or authoritarian still creates the same pressures for lower and middle class.Finally I will use Nepastad’s views on military defection to give a general sense of the broader reasons as to why any group would follow an authoritarian regime. I will use each article as a means to work backwards; starting with each group already rebelling against the government I will be able to show the more subtle reasons as to why the government was supported up until the point of revolution. Although each article is for a specific ssue, the underlying theme of defiance creates a bigger picture that begins to answer the question: What makes certain economic groups support a corrupt government?In Garys (2008) study he demonstrates how by focusing only on the global aspect of labor movements, we miss the many social implications that the social movements have. The effectiveness of the movements are brought highlighted, “a specifically global labour movement is understood as involving forms of activism that transgress national boundaries, through transnational solidarity,” showing that the poor workers f countries ranging from Seattle to Korea all have a common economic struggle (485).The workers are forced to work in less than ideal conditions and these conditions force the workers to speak out against the harsh laws that disenfranchise them.

Gary goes on to demonstrate how these unions are able to “[display] a remarkable self-confidence, independence, and will to resist’ (Lambert, 1998, p. 75), and has developed alternatives to neoliberalism despite government and business repression” (485). The workers were given a voice through the labor unions, with this oice they are able to defend themselves from the poor working conditions that were imposed on them.In this sense each country still had the same issues, the poor working class had no voice and were forced to band together in order to protect them against the government. Gary states “an international current is needed to promote the ideas and practices of social-movement unionism” (485) and that current is created through each country. However, ultimately “while such institutions have failed to produce genuine tripartite social agreements, they have been successful in ovement although very useful in showing the common theme of poverty that will drive any lower class citizen to unionize, ultimately the effectiveness is low.With this low effectiveness, it reveals that most lower class workers would not gamble to Join a group that will not be beneficial to them.

On a broader scale it would benefit the worker more to not try to revolt against the system through a union and continue to work their Jobs. This is broaden view is present in Bhutan Monoar Kabir’s article on the fall of the Ershad government. Where Gary focused on social movements made by the lower class, Kabir shows the political movement made by the upper class.

Kabir argues that the Ershad government fell due to the “role played both by endogenous forces such as opposition parties, civil society, the military, and the bureaucracy’ (553). The upper class in most authoritarian regime make up the “endogenous forces” that Kabir stated, they are the people approving laws and running the government. The government promised different political and economic reforms, but they could not eliver, this lead to the betrayal by different parties and the military.

The government “failed to build the popular support necessary for legitimization of the government through elections” (555). There was no way for the government to give the politicians the security that came with legitimacy, a key tool in keeping the support of the upper class. The government continued antagonize its supporters by denationalizing “nationalized financial institutions such as banks, credit organizations, and industries” which lead to the “further antagonized key political sectors of the Bangladeshi polity’ (556). Again the government affected what the upper class cared for the most, their money.

With the lack of legitimacy and the Jeopardizing the economy, the upper class was forced to revolt against the government, albeit through legal means. Where Gary demonstrated that the lower class must create unions that tried to change the government from the outside, Kabir demonstrates that the upper class is able to change it from the inside. He goes on to show that two main factor that keeps the upper class supporting the government is political and economic ecurity, as opposed to the workers who had no choice, but to keep their Jobs.

However, both of these pressures are present within a democracy or an authoritarian regime. Even though Gary and Kabir shows two of the three economic groups revolting against an authoritarian regime in one form or another, Napier and Jost shows how the lower class stands against democracy, through giving their “support to right-wing leaders and policies, even though doing so tends to increase the likelihood that their low-status position in society will be maintained or even worsened” (597). This support leads to a phenomenon called “working class authoritarianism” (596).The lower class perpetuates certain laws based on an “authoritarian impulses to limit or repeal the freedoms of those individuals or groups in society who are quite different from them” (596). Even though lower class may be impacted negatively by their decision to follow right-wing leaders and policies, Napier and Jost suggest that on a deeper psychological level they feel that they must do it in order to better themselves.

To limit one group inherently means that one is gaining some form of dvantage. This is distinctly different than a low class citizen in an authoritarian them to survive.Within a democracy, the lower class supports an authoritarian government in hopes of gaining some sort of leverage, in a sense revolting against democracy. However, Nepastad goes on to give a different view as to why a group would follow an authoritarian regime. Nepastad focuses on military obedience or defection towards an authoritarian regime. Nepastad simply argues “troops who receive benefits from a regime are more ikely to remain loyal while those who receive no such benefits are more likely to defect.

However, even the most underprivileged troops are unlikely to defect if they believe that the state is strong enough to withstand a major civilian uprising” (337). As troops can range from middle class to upper class, depending on rank and regime structure, a parallel is drown between Nepastad’s claim and Kabir’s implications. The soldier must feel secure in the government’s strength or they must receive some benefit. However, Napastad also states that a soldier could be persuaded to defect if civil resister could “Raise the political costs of regime loyalty.Raise the moral costs of regime loyalty. Raise the honor costs of regime loyalty. Lower personal costs of defecting” (338).

Each of these methods ultimately would make it detrimental for the military to continue supporting the regime, essentially taking away the security that the regime attempted to offer them. This shows that the middle class has more freedom in the since that they are not forced to take this Job, but they still value the same ideals as the upper class.


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