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Francis Fukuyama
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Democracy, Development & the Rule of Law
January 28, 2013

Life in a G-Zero World

The nature of world politics has changed more rapidly in the past four years than anyone expected. From the fall of the Berlin Wall up to the financial crisis of 2008, the United States had enjoyed a unprecedented period of hegemony. A decade ago, the US defense budget by itself was larger than the combined […]

January 6, 2013

Albert O. Hirschman, 1915-2012

2012 saw the passing of a great development economist, Albert O. Hirschman, at the age of 97. Development economists spend their time these days performing randomized controlled experiments, in which a particular intervention like co-payments for mosquito bed nets are introduced into one group of villages and not into another matched set. This approach establishes […]

October 5, 2012

Democracy and Corruption

I want to make one correction to an assertion I made in my last blog post.  In it, I said that delivery of services like education and health care is something that “states accomplish, and not the institutions that check them.” This is a big overstatement.  The checking institutions actually play a big role in […]

October 2, 2012

The Strange Absence of the State in Political Science

It is a curious fact that in contemporary American political science, very few people want to study the state, that is, the functioning of executive branches and their bureaucracies. Since the onset of the Third Wave of democratizations now more than a generation ago, the overwhelming emphasis in comparative politics has been on democracy, transitions […]

September 20, 2012

Surveillance Drones, Take Two

A lot has happened since I last reported on my surveillance drone. My fleet has grown to three drones: in addition to the DJI quadcopter, I have a Bixler Sky Surfer equipped with a GoPro camera that can send a live video feed back to a base station. This is what’s called FPV, or “first […]

September 6, 2012
Aung San Suu KyiBurmademocracyMyanmar

What Myanmar Needs

The second leg of my recent trip took me from Mongolia to Myanmar (it’s not an easy itinerary getting from Ulaan Baator to Naypyidaw, believe me). I was there to teach a short course on private sector development with my former SAIS colleague Roger Leeds. This curriculum, which Roger and I have developed under the […]

September 2, 2012
corruptionElbegdorjminingmongolia

Mongolia, Mining, and Malfeasance

I recently returned from a trip to Mongolia and Myanmar. The linking of these countries on the same itinerary was accidental, though they both actually have a lot in common: they border China and much of their recent foreign policy has been driven by a desire to get out from under Chinese domination. It’s not […]

July 28, 2012

Conservatives and the State

When I was asked by the editors of the Financial Times to contribute to a series on the future of conservatism, I hesitated because it seemed to me that in both the US and Europe what was most needed was not a new form of conservatism but rather a reinvention of the left. For more […]

May 31, 2012

Getting Out of Afghanistan

President Obama’s signing of a strategic partnership agreement with President Karzai on May 1 and the ratification of a wind-down plan by NATO at its recent summit in Chicago in theory set the terms for the kind of presence the US will have after the “withdrawal” of US forces from that country in 2014. Of […]

May 28, 2012

China’s ‘Bad Emperor’ Problem

For more than 2000 years, the Chinese political system has been built around a highly sophisticated centralized bureaucracy, which has run what has always been a vast society through top-down methods.  What China never developed was a rule of law, that is, an independent legal institution that would limit the discretion of the government, or […]

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