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Socio-Economic Variables and Voting for the Radical Left: Chile, 1952*

  • Glaucio Soares (a1) and Robert L. Hamblin (a2)
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This is the first of a number of investigations of the socio-economic basis of politics, with a special focus on voting for the radical left or right. In this case, the voting data are the percentage of votes cast for Allende, the socialist candidate in the 1952 presidential elections in Chile.

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“The computer analyses reported herein were supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, G-22296, to Washington University.”

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1 Although for Marx in a class society every individual is alienated from work, we are using here the term alienation in the sense of economic-political alienation. For theoretical statement on the Maxist theory of alienation see Calvez, Jean, El Pensamiento de Marx, Carlos (Madrid: Tourus, 1962), Chapter II.

2 Ridker, Ronald, “Discontent and Economic Growth,” Economic Development and Cultural Change, XI (10, 1962), 115.

3 Clark, Colin, The Conditions of Economic Progress, (London: Macmillan, 1951). See also Kuznets, S. S., Six Lectures on Economic Growth, (Glencoe: The Free Press, 1959), Lecture III.

4 Kornhauser, William, The Politics of Mass Society, (London: Routledge and Kegan, Paul, 1960).

5 Cutright, Phillip, “National Political Development: Measurement and Analysis,” American Sociological Review, 28 (04, 1963), 253264.

6 Lipset, Seymour M., Political Man, (New York: Doubleday, 1960), Part I, and “Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy,” this Review, 53 (1959), 69–105.

7 Ulam, Adam B., The Unfinished Revolution, (New York: Random House, 1960).

8 Dillon Soares, Glaucio A., “Desenvolvimento Económico e Radicalismo Político; o Teste de una Hipótese,” América Latina, ano V, n. 3 Julho-Setembro, 1962), 6582. See also Dillon Soares, Glaucio A., “Desarrollo Económico en América Latina (México, D. F., 1965), 516559.

9 We deemed it necessary to emphasize this point because many sociologists working in the area of comparative studies all too often forget that cross-sectional analyses are poor substitutes for longitudinal analysis.

10 Most Latin American countries do not provide alternatives such as atheists, free-thinkers, and non-religious in their censuses. As a result, the overwhelming majority (say, 99%) of the population appears as Catholic, thus rendering this variable useless at the operational level. The Chilean questionnaire, fortunately, included alternatives in the instructions. (It reads: What is the respondent's religion? Write down whichever he declares. Exs. Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Free-Thinker, None, etc.).

11 Notice that the percentage Protestant in a predominantly Catholic country may be considered as an indicator of the breakdown of traditionalism. Actually, the same may be true of any religion. Thus, the percentage Catholic in some sections of a few African countries may be taken as an indicator of modernization as opposed to traditionalism. The point that is being made here is that the meaning of indicators of values is dependent upon the concerte socio-economic context at hand.

12 Durkheim, Emile, Suicide (Glencoe, Illinois: Free Press, 1951), 259276.

13 There is some evidence that most migrants from deprived areas at first have a feeling of relative reward as they compare their present status with their rural past. However, as time goes on, relative reward gives place to relative deprivation as their rural past is progressively idealized.

14 Kornhauser, op. cit., and Dillon Soares, Glaueio A., Economie Ddvelopment and Political Radicalism, (unpublished doctoral dissertation, Washington University, St. Louis. 1964).

15 Kornhauser, op. cit. Soares has suggested that Labor and Socialist vote is positively related to social development after economic development is controlled, whereas the Communist vote is negatively related to social development. See Dillon Soares, Glaueio A., “Congruencias e Incongruencias entre Indicadores de Desenvolvimento Economico,” America Latina (01, 1965), 4760. Note, however, that Chilean socialists are far more radical than the European social democrats, and that in recent times a considerable wing of the party is attracted to the Peking line.

16 We used this reduction process based on the beta coefficients and t-values as a simplifying device only. Insofar as we deal with census and electoral data, all errors are non-sampling errors but there is room for problems of significance.

17 Stevens, S. S., “The Surprising Simplicity of Sensory Metrics,” American Psychologist, 17, 1962, 2939. See also “The Psychophysics of Sensory Function,” American Scientist, 48, 1960, 226–253. These are summary articles.

18 For two straightforward physiological studies see Hovland, C. I., and Riesen, H. H., “Magnitude of Galvanic and Vasomotor Response as a Function of Stimulus Intensity,” Journal of General Psychology, 23 (1940), 103121; Bartoshuk, H. K., “Human Neonatal Cardiac Response to Sound: A Power Function,” Psychonomie Science, 1 (1964), 161–152. For two social psychological studies which suggest a stimulus response power law see Hamblin, R. L. et al., “The Interference-Aggression Law?Sociometry, 26 (1963), 190216; Sellin, T. and Wolfgang, M. E., The Measurement of Delinquency (New York: Wiley, 1964).

19 Hamblin, R. L. and Smith, Carole, “Values, Status, and Professors,” Sociometry, 29, (09 1966), 183196; and Hamblin, R. L., Ratio, Measurement and Sociological Theory, (mimeographed, Department of Sociology, Washington University, St. Louis, 1966).

20 Kornhauser, op. cit.

21 Cutright, op. cit.

22 Lipset, op. cit.

23 Ulam, op. cit.

24 Although historical data suggest that the longitudinal trend is curvilinear and that twentieth cetnury economic take-offs may co-exist with a growth in both middle-classness and urban unemployment. See Dillon Soares, Glaucio A., “Economic Development and the Class Structure,” in Bendix, R. and Lipset, S. M. (eds.), Class, Status and Power: Social Stratification in Comparative Perspective, (New York: The Free Press, 1966, rev. ed.).

25 Actually, the self-employed category may artificially increase the middleclassness of the agricultural sector. For there are many small farmers, with no hired labor, with no mechanization whatsoever, with a very small plot of poor land, who would be better classified in the working class group.

26 It might be argued that sheer literacy should be used instead of high school membership. However, the Chilean 1952 census indicates that workers (trabajadores) comprised 79% of the economically active population. This suggests that a large proportion of the workers is literate, as illiterates accounted for only 20% of the population 14 years and older. Actually, the manual non-manual stratification (working class-middle class) might, in the Chilean case, correspond more closely to the less than high school-high school or more educational stratification. However, in countries where over half of the population is illiterate, sheer literacy may grant individuals an upper-working class or even lower-middle class status.

27 This is confirmed by Brazilian data, which show that recent immigrants to Rio de Janeiro identify with the “poor” or “working” classes and many vote conservative, whereas many old migrants identify with the proletariat (classe operario) and vote for reformist parties. See Dillon Soares, Glaucio A., “The Political Sociology of Uneven Development in Brazil,” in Horowitz, Irving L. (ed.). Revolution in Brazil, (New York, Dutton, 1964), 192.

28 The description of the Marxist model as a single factor determinism exists in what has been called “vulgar Marxism.” Engels clearly refuted the idea that the economic factor was the only determinant factor in Marxist theory. See his celebrated Letter to Joseph Block,” in Feuer, L. (ed.), Marx and Engels, (Garden City: Doubleday-Anchor, 1959), 397398.

29 Although we have stressed the importance of relative deprivation, whereas Marx tended to stress absolute deprivation, and underscore the relative approach. Thus, the Verelendung theory was stated by Marx in absolute terms, not in relative ones. See Marx, Karl, Salario, Preco e Lucro, (Rio de Janeiro: Vitoria, 1955).

30 Homans, George C., “Putting Man Back In.American Sociological Review, 01, 1965.

* “The computer analyses reported herein were supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, G-22296, to Washington University.”

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American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
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