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Chapter 6: Issue Orientation (pp. 53-77), this is p. 55
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This basic scoring matrix was applied to thirteen issues selected for inclusion in our "issue orientation" cluster:

5.01 -- Government Ownership of Means of Production
5.02 -- Government Role in Economic Planning
5.03 -- Redistribution of Wealth
5.04 -- Social Welfare
5.05 -- Secularization of Society
5.06 -- Support of the Military
5.07 -- Alignment with East/West Blocs
5.08 -- Anticolonialism
5.09 -- Supranational Integration
5.10 -- National Integration
5.11 -- Electoral Participation
5.12 -- Protection of Civil Rights
5.13 -- Interference with Civil Liberties
[NOTE: Two other variables (5.14 State Department Left-Right Rating and 5.15 Soviet Expert Left-Right Rating)
reflected the politics of the Cold War and employed a different scoring scheme.]

See Editor's note below for four additional variables capturing contemporary issues

In general, the underlying principle for fixing the pro and con positions on each of these issues was to link the pro position with greater governmental activity in the issue area, interpreted as the leftist response and (arbitrarily) assigned positive scale scores to a maximum of + 5. It follows that parties opposed to greater governmental activity in the issue area were regarded as rightist and assigned negative scale scores to a maximum of + 5. It remains to be determined whether our arbitrary assignment of left and right positions on these issues is consistent with the empirical relationships among the data. This question and others concerning the unidimensionality of the scale must await full analysis in future studies. But some insight into the forthcoming answers can be gleaned from the correlations obtained between these variables and two other basic variables in the cluster that were included to provide reliability checks on composite left-right scales that will be generated from these variables in subsequent analysis. After all thirteen issue variables have been defined and discussed, we shall report their individual correlations with two sets of "expert" ratings of party left-right orientation. The first set, which is variable 5.14 in our study, comes from the U.S. Department of State; the second set, which is variable 5.15, comes from experts in the U.S.S.R. The correlations that obtain between these "expert" ratings and our separate issues reflect the extent to which the issues relate to an underlying left-right continuum, and they should provide a stimulus to thinking about substantive analysis of the issue orientation data.

Before presenting the variables and reporting the coding results, we should consider some general observations that apply to the entire cluster. The issue orientation variables proved more difficult to code than those in the institutionalization and governmental status clusters. Not only did we fail to code a substantially larger number of parties, but those which were coded were apt to be done with a lower level of confidence--as attested to by the relatively low mean AC codes. Nevertheless, it deserves to be pointed out that the product-moment correlation for "blind" double-coding of the same issue orientation variables in 160 cases was .87, which was considerably better than the .79 average computed over all instances of double-coding. So it appears that the more subjective nature of the scoring for these variables, while demanding and occasionally frustrating for the coders, did not result in unreliable data.

Basic Variable 5.01: Ownership of Means of Production*

The "means of production" is defined as the operative capacity to manufacture, construct, fabricate, grow, or otherwise produce goods to be marketed domestically or exported. Our interest in means of production is largely limited to "basic industries"--those that produce capital goods for use in production (e.g., lumber, mining, steel) or furnish services that are essential to an industrial economy (e.g., communications, transportation, and utilities). In our conceptualization, "ownership" differs from "control" mainly in degree. A party that advocates government ownership of the means of production is considered to have a stronger position on this issue than does one that advocates government control of privately owned means of production.

This variable must be kept distinct from the next, "government role in economic planning." Government ownership of the means of production should not be assumed when encountering references to "central economic control and direction," which pertain to operationalizing BV502 instead.

Conceptually, the party with a strong pro position on this issue is thought to reflect the classic Marxist position as represented in the Communist Manifesto: "The proletariat will use its political supremacy . . . to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state." Distinctions are drawn among those parties that seek something less than this with respect to basic industries.

Operational Definition. The issue orientation scoring matrix is used with "weak," "moderate," and "strong" positions on both sides of the issue as defined below and scored assuming no conflict between program and practice.

PRO-strong
+5

Strongly favors government ownership; advocates government ownership of all basic industries; advocates government ownership of means of production generally.


*This section was drafted by Donald Sylvan.
Note: In 1993, Paul Sum added four new variables to capture new issues that arose in the last quarter of the 20th century. They were
5.16 -- Industrial Relations
5.17 -- Environmental Policy
5.18 -- Immigration
5.19 -- Rights of Women.
Click on the variable name to see the conceptual and operational definitions, using the same -5 to +5 scale.

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