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Cover Contemporary Political Philosophy

2. Utilitarianism  

This chapter examines the practical implications of utilitarianism as a political morality. It first considers two features of utilitarianism that make it an attractive theory of political morality. First, the goal being promoted by utilitarians does not depend on the existence of God, or a soul, or any other dubious metaphysical entity. The second attraction is utilitarianism’s ‘consequentialism’. The chapter proceeds by breaking utilitarianism into two parts: an account of human welfare, or ‘utility’, and an instruction to maximize utility, giving equal weight to each person’s utility. It also discusses the two main arguments for viewing utility maximization as the standard of moral rightness: equal consideration of interests, and teleological utilitarianism. Finally, it evaluates utilitarians’ claim that every source of happiness, or every kind of preference, should be given the same weight, if it yields equal utility. The chapter argues that utilitarianism is inadequate as an account of equal consideration.


Cover Foundations of European Politics

4. Ideology and Issues  

This chapter looks at the changing nature of ideology in Europe. It also delves into the issue of voter preference and considers how that has changed over time. It is all too often assumed that voters, as well as parties, exist along a single ideological left-to-right continuum. However, the truth is that there more deviations from this continuum than we might have in the past assumed. With the emergence of new salient issues, such as immigration, the environment and European integration, the old assumptions no longer hold true. The chapter also looks at populism, which it defines as a thin-central ideology. The final questions of this chapter are: how has populism challenged our current model of democracy? What does the future hold in this regard?


Cover European Union Politics

23. The Common Agricultural Policy  

Ève Fouilleux and Viviane Gravey

This chapter examines one of the first European policies, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). It does so by focusing on the policy’s objectives, instruments, actors, and debates. It looks at the way in which the CAP has evolved since the 1960s, and attempts to explain this evolution by asking and answering a number of important questions: why has the CAP been so problematic for European policy-makers? Why has it proven so resistant to change? Given the constraints identified, how has reform come about? This chapter also looks at some of the challenges facing agricultural policy, as new debates emerge among citizens on the place and the functions performed by agriculture. The chapter grants particular attention to the way the CAP tackles issues such as rural development, relations between agriculture, food and the environment, transparency, and social equity.


Cover Global Environmental Politics

3. States  

This chapter examines how states have very different preferences in global environmental politics. These state preferences are formed and shaped in a co-evolving process at both the domestic and international levels. Domestically, a rational choice analysis shows how environmental vulnerability and the costs of abatement contribute to defining a state's national interests in environmental politics. But the rational choice model, though useful, has its limits. It often presents the state as a unitary and monolithic actor, whereas in fact states come in multiple institutional forms and are made up of numerous actors with varying and sometimes conflicting interests. Several international factors also play an important role in shaping state preferences. Some of those international factors revolve around how states interact with one another in international negotiations. Indeed, state preferences can be revised during international negotiations via states' interactions in working and contact groups, with negotiating chairs, in coalitions, and through leadership efforts.


Cover Global Political Economy

4. The Domestic Sources of Foreign Economic Policies  

Michael J. Hiscox

This chapter examines the domestic sources of foreign economic policies. Different people in every society typically have different views about what their government should do when it comes to setting the policies that regulate international trade, immigration, investment, and exchange rates. These competing demands must be reconciled in some way by the political institutions that govern policy making. To really understand the domestic origins of foreign economic policies, we need to perform two critical tasks: identify or map the policy preferences of different groups in the domestic economy; and specify how political institutions determine the way these preferences are aggregated or converted into actual government decisions. The first task requires some economic analysis, while the second requires some political analysis. These two analytical steps put together like this, combining both economic and political analysis in tandem, are generally referred to as the political economy approach to the study of policy outcomes. The chapter then considers the impact of domestic politics on bargaining over economic issues between governments at the international level.