SOC 300 Sociology of Developing Countries Week 4 Discussion 1


“Institutions” Please respond to the following:Based on the lecture and Webtext materials, address the following:Every country in the world is constructed around the same set of institutional frameworks that differ only in how governments manage them. Identify the specific components of an institution. Next, use two (2) examples of institutions —such as a financial system, a judicial system, or the armed forces — to illustrate what developing countries overall have done to weaken or strengthen such institutions.

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• The invisible world of systems and cultures,
which enable modern society;
• Good and bad governance;
• Banking and financial stability; and
• Justice and rule of law
The Invisible World of Systems and Cultures
• Invisible world of systems and cultures is
actually institutions
• Composed of government, economic
frameworks, religious groupings, armed forces,
banking systems and rules of law
• Living under repressive governments
• Interested in how the elites in a government
organize these institutions
Good and Bad Governance
• Good governance usually emanating from
democratic principles
• Bad governance usually stemming from
autocratic states, which can be subdivided into
following types of regimes:
– Authoritarian
– Totalitarian
Good and Bad Governance (con’t)
• Statist regimes
• Have economics as a focal point
• Don’t speak of government as a collection of
agencies but as embodiment of collective good
• Government makes decisions for individuals
• Coercion often necessary
Good and Bad Governance (con’t)
• Another institution is type of economic system a
country decides to adopt
• Can be one of three:
– Pure market
– Planned
– Mixed
• Pure markets allow laws of supply and demand
to evolve unimpeded and take market where
they will
Good and Bad Governance (con’t)
• Planned economies the reverse of pure markets
• Planned models have failed because were
unable to sustain economic growth and avoided
reliance on the normal laws of supply and
demand to stabilize markets
• With collapse of communism as ideology in
1991, planned economies disappeared virtually
Good and Bad Governance (con’t)
• No purely market economy in international
• First World economies are mixed, as a
combination of market and planned
• Third World ruling elites wasting a great deal of
money on personal preference projects
• No such thing as transparency with them
Good and Bad Governance (con’t)
• Third institutional reference we see is extent
religion plays role in peoples’ lives
• Religion’s responsibility to create constructive
conflict culture to help end inter-communal and
international violence
• Three institutional strengths and weaknesses of
religious organizations that help with
constructive conflict management
Good and Bad Governance (con’t)
• Armed forces is final institution to review
• Can be very useful if they train personnel in
technical and administrative skills that they can
later transfer into civilian fields
• But can be risks to civilian population when
forces are mobilized
• Latin America from the 1950s-1970s saw use of
armed forces for domestic political purposes
instead of protecting state
Banking and Financial Stability
• Banking system in the Third World is weak and
• Fundamental problems for foreign banking
systems are lack of foreign exchange reserves
and low capital stocks
• Countries borrowing abroad at high rates and
getting into debt trouble quickly
• Global financial crisis of 2008 hit developing
countries especially hard
Justice and the and Rule of Law
• Legal systems corrupt with untrained jurists and
an uneven enforcement of laws
• Collapse of Soviet Union and its legal system
• At end of the day, states fail because their
institutions fail
• Institutions that malfunction or are manipulated
by elites end as failed state
Check Your Understanding
• The invisible world of systems and cultures,
which enable modern society;
• Good and bad governance;
• Banking and financial stability; and
• Justice and rule of law

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