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Showing posts from May, 2007

The World System of Locally Driven Politics

As I jumped out of the shower and was toweling off one morning last week, an epiphany came to me: I realized DC isn’t where the action is. After living in Washington for six years, I have met some of the most amazing, inspiring, life-changing individuals who desire the best for the US government and the world. Diehard liberals, hardworking bureaucrats and deep pocketed conservatives are my neighbors who live doors down in the two by two mile radius of our nation’s capital. Yet, it’s not just those amazing bright individuals who will change the world, but instead the average American Bob, John and Barbara who will ultimately make the difference.

DC reflects some of the greatest paradoxes of our global village. While its population is diverse—the policies that come from it are not. Washington hosts extremely impoverish inter-city bums, ambassadors from around the world, veterans, the rich American elite, recent immigrants from El Salvador and Ethiopia and an active contingent of vocal g…

Institional Economics on People's Choices

In Structure and Change in Economic History (1981) I abandoned the notion that institutions were efficient and attempted to explain why "inefficient" rules would tend to exist and be perpetuated. This was tied to a very simple and still neo-classical theory of the state which could explain why the state could produce rules that did not encourage economic growth. I was still dissatisfied with our understanding of the political process, and indeed searched for colleagues who were interested in developing political-economic models. This led me to leave the University of Washington in 1983 after being there for 33 years, and to move to Washington University in St. Louis, where there was an exciting group of young political scientists and economists who were attempting to develop new models of political economy. This proved to be a felicitous move. I created the Center in Political Economy, which continues to be a creative research center.

The develop…

Decision making

Do individuals make decisions in institutions?
How do grassroots organization arrange to make better decisions?
Are they influenced by external forces (funds)?

Decision making
1. anthropological role of participation
2. organizational theory and group theory
3. institutionalized economics exchange/information asymmetries
4. social political power relationships
5. geography, political and historical influences