Russia and China once formed the backbone of the communist world

Russia and China once formed the backbone of the communist world, with one-party dictatorships and command economies. Going back to the 1980s, each has followed a very different reform path, however. Explain how each transitioned from the previous communist system and describe the type of system each has today. Taking into consideration both political and economic concerns, which country chose the better path to reform? Why?

Russia and China once formed the backbone of the communist world

Your answers should probably be somewhere around 300-500 words each.

1.            Russia and China once formed the backbone of the communist world, with one-party dictatorships and command economies. Going back to the 1980s, each has followed a very different reform path, however. Explain how each transitioned from the previous communist system and describe the type of system each has today. Taking into consideration both political and economic concerns, which country chose the better path to reform? Why?

2.            India and China are pegged by most analysts to be the rising economies of the 21st century. In comparative economic terms, China has certainly done better over the last few decades. But which county is likely to succeed in the future? Examine the political, social, and economic structures of both countries. Which country is best suited to prosper in the more globalized, technologically advanced, knowledge based 21st century economy?

3.            One of the most often studied correlations in comparative politics is that between democracy and economic development. Examine three of the five developing countries (India, China, Russia, Mexico, and Nigeria) that we have discussed in the second half of the course. What can these countries tell us about this connection? Can a country move from poverty to prosperity while maintaining the institutions of democracy? Or is a more authoritarian form of government more likely to produced economic development? Make sure to connect your arguments back to the specific countries we have examined.

Two developing countries that we have studied are Mexico and Nigeria.

4.            Two developing countries that we have studied are Mexico and Nigeria. Both are developing countries with semi-democratic regimes and economies that are disproportionately dependent on oil revenue. However, Mexico’s democratic transition and economic development have proceeded considerably farther than Nigeria’s. Explain Mexico and Nigeria’s political systems today and explain why you think Mexico has advanced farther in its democratic and economic transition.  Make sure to discuss the importance of economic integration with other rich countries, difficulties from social cleavages, and issues of nationalism that affect these nations differently.

5.            Germany and Japan are similar in many ways, both are high-functioning democracies with excellent economies, however one key difference is that while Germany has pursued a process of integration with other European countries through the European Union, Japan has not pursued supernational integration with its neighbors in East Asia. Discuss the current political systems in Germany and Japan, and discuss how you think integration will effect those country’s futures. You will want to talk about issues of nationalism and national identity in your answer.

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