Comparative politics is an important aspect of political science in that instead of studying how this country functions, it studies why other countries around the world are the way they are. There must be some medium for finding the differences and similarities between one county and another in order discover what can effect such aspects as economic strength, military strength, and the structure of the regime in power. One reason to compare countries is to help ourselves by allowing us to learn about other countries while escaping the ethnocentric fallacy many of us have. The Unites States may have a good government but is not necessarily a perfect government; certain countries may have aspects of their own government that we could learn from and perhaps improve upon our own system. Another reason to compare countries is to understand how countries evolve, discover patterns, and why they evolve in the way they do. Another very important reason to study comparative politics is to better understand how certain regimes work for purposes of international relations and foreign policy. In order to create policy regarding other countries and in order to give aid to these countries we must know how these countries function so that we can work with the countries instead of blindly trying to change them in a way that we seem fit. This is especially important in the modern age with the evolution of a global cooperation between many countries and the fact that the United States has become the watchdog, big brother, and teacher for many of the less developed countries of the world.
The political culture of a country is the basic values, attitudes, beliefs, and ideas of the people that occupy a country. This ideology of the people has a major impact on the government itself. Foreign policy, the structure of the government itself, the laws, and the people that actually have power are strongly influenced by what the people believe. For example, many governments of the world are non-secular, such as Iran and Egypt. These country’s government and laws originated strongly from the Islamic roots of the people. Then one can note that most of these countries that are dominated by religion have weak economies and unstable regimes. Fundamentalist groups battling with socialist groups who battle with supporters of a democracy is what makes these countries what they are today. Another example of popular ideology of a country is Russia and the other remnants of the USSR.
Most of the people that live in these countries today lived under the Communist regime for years as they group up under its influence. Now that the regime has fallen and democratic capitalism taken its place the countries are struggling among themselves and each other. The views on working and the role of government are still archaic with many of these people. They still expect a paycheck and a guaranteed job despite the quality of their work. They came from an era where there was little motivation to work.
This helps cause a weakened economy as people are still adjusting to the new order. One major theory was Inglehart’s Post-Materialistic Theory. He says that as an advanced welfare emerges, then people become more liberal as conservative ideas of monetary gain take a backseat to ideas of autonomy and self-expression. The people hold values of well being, environmental quality, and free speech at a higher priority than ideals such as economic gain and material possessions. This kind of change would have a major effect on the government itself as policy would probably reflect personal liberty and environmental protection rather than policies leading to high material gain or a larger bureaucracy.
As seen there is a very important relationship between the political culture of countries and comparing the governments of different countries. The reason being that the culture of the citizens of a country are an invaluable resource in determining the functions, political agenda, and power holders of a country’s regime. Therefore when studying various countries one studied the political culture a person can begin to understand why a country exists as it does. They can study patterns of public ideas and find trends and discover common trends that could lead to the explanation of such phenomenon as why one country can have a strong successful economy that is highly industrialized exists in one country while another country is still non-industrialized and has a rather poor economy. This especially could be important when comparing countries of similar regime structures such as why Mexico even with regime very similar to our won still is on the most part under-industrialized and poor when compared to the position of the United States in the world order. Comparing culture could help explain dissimilarities in performance when comparing countries of similar regimes.
Also by mapping changes in a country’s political culture one can correlate those changes with changes in regime and find patterns and trends hopefully create theories and hypotheses that might explain such changes. Another possible use is perhaps applicable to foreign policy and international relations. If the culture of a country can be defined then policies can be formed that could better work with the type of people that live there with as little negative reaction as possible such as many countries that the United States helps are offended by our presence in their lands.Bibliography: