Democracy, Development & the Rule of Law
Waltzing with (Leo) Strauss
A new book arguing for the ubiquity of esoteric writing in pre-modern times redeems Leo Strauss from his many detractors.
The Limits of Transparency
The idea that more transparency in government is always an unalloyed good is a dangerous populist illusion.
A Bad Call
President Obama is frustrated by gridlock and partisanship, and is seeking to use executive authority to rescue something of a legacy from his second term. His unilateralism will in no way make things better, however—quite the opposite.
Political Order and Political Decay
Volume two of the project I started writing in 2011, titled Political Order in Changing Societies, hits bookstores later this month. It is an attempt to map out how modern states have evolved out of patrimonial ones, and tries to show how simplistic understandings of how development works can lead to disastrous policy.
Why We Need a New Pendleton Act
The botched rollout of healthcare.gov shows why the US desperately needs reform of its public sector. President Obama has shown great faith in the ability of government to provide services, but absolutely no awareness of how poorly it performs, or how desperately it needs a total restructuring. Getting the healthcare insurance web site up and […]
Bad Mandates and Dirty Water
I could spend the next ten posts or so describing how poorly crafted legislative mandates have led to bad administrative outcomes, but I’ll provide just one here that is quite typical of many developing-world public agencies. The city of Hyderabad, India, has been one of the fastest growing over the past two decades, and one […]
The US Army’s incorporation of mission orders into its combined arms doctrine described in an earlier post was an example of a government agency that was delegated an appropriate degree of bureaucratic autonomy, a delegation that extended down to the lowest levels of the organization. This kind of delegation is extremely rare in government operations, […]