- Series: The Henry L. Stimson Lectures Series
- Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press; The Henry L. Stimson Lectures Series edition (May 15, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0300116209
- ISBN-13: 978-0300116205
- Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Political Order in Changing Societies (The Henry L. Stimson Lectures Series) The Henry L. Stimson Lectures Series Edition
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"This pioneering volume, examining as it does the relation between development and stability, is an interesting and exciting addition to the literature." American Political Science Review "'Must' reading for all those interested in comparative politics or in the study of development." Dankwart A. Rustow, Journal of International Affairs"
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Top Customer Reviews
But, this is a classic that should be in the library of every scholar. Huntington's basic thesis - to which I cannot begin to do justice - is that, contrary to the prevailing consensus among political economists and political scientists holding that economic aid leads inexorably to economic growth that leads inexorably to political stability, in fact countries in the process of economic development tend to have the highest levels of political instability.
Huntington avoids ideological bias - in a book written in 1968 - and treats the U.S., U.K. and U.S.S.R. as comparable in terms of political order. [The nature and quality of that order is, of course, another issue. But, quoting de Tocqueville, he says (I'm paraphrasing), "In organized political societies, it is critical that citizens be governed. Ideally, they will be governed by rulers of their choosing, and ideally they will have a significant measure of freedom, but the most important thing is that they be governed."] The explanation of the relationship between modernization and the tendency to political disorder and conflict is fascinating. This book will make any reader think.
This is not an easy read. Huntington is very clear, but there are many concepts and many relationships that affect political order in developing societies. Every minute is worth the effort. [I was astonished at his prescience in discussing the potential impact of the Muslim Brotherhood on stability in Egypt in a book written 46 years ago!]
Read this book. It will be personally memorable and influential.
Additionally, Huntington calls for a strong state structure during the modernization process. Modernization destroys traditional authority structures which must be replaced by one central authoritative body. This parallels the Weberian idea that as political freedoms expand in modern society, strong bureaucratic structures for social institutions are imperative.
When discussing modernization, Huntington argues that during the process it may be necessary to constrain some human rights in order to ensure political stability. This illustrates that modernization may not lead to total democracy. Donnelly (1984) referred to these human rights versus development conundrums as needs tradeoffs, equality tradeoffs, and liberty tradeoffs. For example, Huntington argues that economic development (modernization) may require that the central authority limit "consumption-oriented" human rights during the economic development process.
Huntington also sees the potential of an equality tradeoff. This idea holds that a society in transition to a modern economy will experience high levels of income inequality, but over time, this inequality will recede to a more moderate level. Where Huntington sees the equality tradeoff as temporary, Donelly argues that the problem may be more long lasting.
Lastly, Huntington argues that when modernization weakens traditional authority structures, other associational groups may arise, which may lead to political decay, i.e. these groups may rise up in opposition to the central political authority. As such, the civil and political rights of these groups may need to be suspended during the early stages of economic development. Huntington would argue that the long-term interests of modernization must take precedence over the short-term interests of various groups.
In my opinion there is a lot of material in the book that could be eliminated in favor of a more concise presentation.