Comparative Policy Choice

Introduction

The approach to decision making that a country takes is normally shaped by different factors. One of the most influencing factors regarding the policy stand of a nation is the political inclination of that nation and especially the country in power.

The type and nature of government in place also determines the shape of the policies (Blyth, 2001). Differences in the policies depend on differences in these factors. This research paper shall delve into how policy choice differs between China and France. It shall also extend to uncover the root behind these differences.

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a. Differences between Policy choices

The choice of the two countries is influenced by the fact that France is a developed country while China is still a developing nation. The two countries also have disparity in terms of the population. They have political and socioeconomic ties which are based on similar as well as divergent policies. Both France and China have bilateral ties which also impact on the policies that they implement.

b. Factors influencing different policy choices

Generally, the history as well as political ideologies between these two countries has several differences. These differences are important as they form the foundations with which the policy influences and biases evolve. The need for interdependence as well as the international politics plays a very important role in making policy decisions. International ties also shape the manner in which decision is made by different countries (Adolino & Blake, 2011).

Some policies and decisions are influenced by what is at stake politically and economically. A good illustration of this is when a country fails to implement a certain policy because of the adverse effect that such a policy would have in its economic ties or when a country’s policy is actually inspired by an economic tie or international politics.

2. Choices regarding Environmental Policy

a. Influence from international legal framework

France environmental policies are guided under the international legal framework. These frameworks therefore indirectly influence the choices that France makes when environmental issues are involved. A good illustration is given by the Kyoto protocol (which is an international legal instrument dealing with environmental issues) France and their emission of gases is not allowed to reach the level it did in 1991. This has prompted France to initiate a long term strategic policy seeking to reduce the emission.

b. The Kyoto Protocol and its obligations

On the same avenue, China is also a party to the Kyoto protocol. However, the difference from France is that China, under the Kyoto protocol, is treated as a developing country (Sengupta, 2008). This means that there are no specific obligations regarding the emissions towards the environment. As a result, their environmental decisions are guided by other factors apart from the international legal framework. These influences affect the bound countries the most.

c. The Long term strategy

The long term strategy aims at reducing the emission to a maximum 75% of the target that they have been given. They have also made a plan to ensure that energy consumption for buildings is lowered. They target to achieve a reduction of 38% by the year 2020. From the illustration it is quite obvious that international legal instruments affect the policy choices of France. International legal instruments contribute to how policies are made (Kailash, 2007).

3. Choices regarding Military Spending

a. China military spending

While in environmental matters China is treated as a developing nation it is imperative to note that China’s military spending is one of the largest in the world. In fact, China has the second most expensive military budget. This means that military preparedness is a priority in China.

France also spends a huge amount of its budget to finance its defence composition. It is among the top five big spenders. However, comparing the military spending to their total budget the amount is less as compared to that of China. History plays an important role in the military budgeting and spending. The desire to have a strong defence force is increased by the vulnerability a country has had before.

b. France military spending

The French defence policy which covers military spending has three main tiers. These are the concept of nuclear deterrence, national independence and the concept of military self-sufficiency. The concept of nuclear deterrence is an obligation that has been set by the international legal framework.

This is derived from the implications of the nuclear weapon. The concept of national dependence means that France should be able to deal with its security issues without seeking help from other countries. This calls for full preparedness and this is why most defence forces have personnel who can attack from the land and even make aero attacks (air force).

The Chinese defence policy is one which focuses mainly on creating a strong defence. This could be as a result of the political upheavals that exist in the Middle East. The policy to inject a lot of budget in defence is also stimulated by the fact that the country has a vast territory and an equally big population. In order to have full security preparedness the security budget has to be high.

4. Choices regarding Welfare Policy

a. Difference between communism policies and capitalist policies

China has a history of being a communist country. France, on the other hand, has a capitalistic background. These two vary in the manner in which they make decisions on matters concerning the welfare of citizens. While France policy is inclined towards protection of individual wealth, the Chinese policy leans towards the communal protection. The most important goal in making a welfare policy is always to ensure that accessibility to public facilities is attained regardless of any social status.

b. Allocation of resources

Allocation of public resources is one of the outcomes of government actions. France is a democratic country and this means that the policies regarding social welfare are based on the happiness of the majority. This is a trait that is quite common in most Western countries (Manuel & Cammisa, 1999).

In order to enhance social equity France has a social fund which is normally used to help bring forth a balance between the rich and the poor. Apart from that, social amenities are also of paramount importance to France. This has greatly influenced decisions that are made regarding health care.

Choices regarding Drug and Narcotics Policy

a. Penalties regarding drug offences

China has very strict penalties for drug traffickers. These penalties are extended even to the foreigners who are guilty of the offence. There has been a strong stand on this issue that human rights activists have called for a review of the laws.

The maximum drug penalty for the trafficking offence is death. The policy that led to the enactment of this law is influenced by the need and desire to fight drug and narcotic problems at the point where it reaches the country. Some of these Chinese policies have been criticized to be too harsh.

In China, the possession of fifty kilogram of heroin is an offence that is punishable by death. A human rights activists have criticized this policy and law as a gross violation to right to life (Malinowska-Sempruch & Bartlett, 2006). The policy seems to be blind to the fact that drug addiction is a problem which requires a rehabilitation approach and not a severe punishment approach.

b. Anti Narcotic drug policies

The policies of France, when it comes to formulating Anti-Narcotic policies, are governed by International Framework. The better part of the French law concerning the problem of drug trafficking is mainly pushed by the European Union legal framework. There is no death penalty for drug related offences in France.

One of the reasons for this could be mainly because of the humanitarian approach that the death penalty is inhumane. France has a lenient approach compared to China in drug matters. Unlike China, France attempts to rehabilitate the drug addicts.

Furthermore, the punishment of a person in possession of drugs is normally given a lesser sentence if it can be established that the person is also a user of the drug. This means that France as a country recognizes the importance of rehabilitating drug users. Also it is important to note that harsher punishments as imposed by China does not mean that drug addiction is on the decline. In fact the opposite is true. This is actually a wakeup call for China to review its policies regarding drugs and narcotics.

6. Choices regarding Human Trafficking

I. Human trafficking as a precursor to forced labour

Human trafficking is a world recognized human right violation. Many countries have taken steps to ensure that this activity is stopped. China and France governments have strict laws against human trafficking. China has a labour intensive economy, it needs a strong labour force.

This has paved way for human trafficking. This is further heightened by the lack of proper monitoring channel by the Chinese authority. The human trafficking, both external and internal is aimed at increasing the labour in the factories. In 2007, China reportedly had massive forced labour within its boundaries.

This forced labour was promoted through internal human trafficking where women and children were submitted to hard labour in brick companies. Following the scandal as well as the international community intervention, China began a campaign against human trafficking and forced labour.

France, on the other hand, is a capital intensive country. The human trafficking in France is also a contributor to illegal practices such as prostitution and drug trafficking. The French government takes a rehabilitative approach towards the victims of human trafficking. This is shown by the fact that the government offers support to the victims of trafficking.

7. Conclusion

The two countries may differ in the manner which the choice for their policies is made but it is quite obvious that their criteria are the same. For instance, factors such as security concerns, history of the country are similar when it comes to considerations that are to be made when policies are being made (Lockhart, 2003). The disparity in policy choice also stems upon politics and factors which appear to be best for the general public of that particular country (Ethridge & Howard, 2010).

The power and will to create policies lies squarely on a country’s government. However, in order to come up with proper and beneficial policies, it is important that each government ensures that its policies are not infringing any rights. It is important that the minority population is considered. This could include the victims who are being affected by the policies.

References

Adolino, J & Blake, C. (2011). Comparing Public Policies: Issues and Choices in Industrialized Countries, (2nd Ed.) Australia: CQ Press,

Blyth, M. (2001). The Transformation of the Swedish Model: Economic Ideas, Distributional Conflict, and Institutional Change, World Politics, 5 (4), 1-26.

Ethridge, M. E. & Howard, C. (2010). Politics in a Changing World; a comparative introduction to political science (6th Ed.). Boston, US: Handelman Publisher

Kailash, K. (2007). Middle Game in Coalition Politics. Economic and Political Weekly, 1 (2), 307-317

Lockhart, C. (2003). The Roots of American Exceptionalism: Institutions, Culture, and Policies. New Zealand: Palgrave

Malinowska-Sempruch, K, & Bartlett, N. (2006) Who Needs Protecting? Rethinking HIV, Drugs and Security in the China Context. China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly, 4 (1), 25-30.

Manuel, C. P. & Cammisa, A.M. (1999). Checks and Balances: How A Parliamentary System Could Change American Politics. Canada: Westview Publishers.

Sengupta, M. (2008). How the State Changed Its Mind: Power, Politics and the Origins of India’s Market Reforms. Economic and Political Weekly, May 24, 2008, pp. 35-42.

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