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Francis Fukuyama
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Democracy, Development & the Rule of Law
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 […]

May 8, 2012

The Two Europes

The Greek election on Sunday was a predictable disaster: the two mainstream parties, the socialist PASOK and the center-right New Democracy (ND), were displaced by new extremist parties that appeared on their right and left, including the left-wing Syriza and KKE (Communist) parties which won a quarter of the vote between them, and the right-wing […]

March 26, 2012

Acemoglu and Robinson on Why Nations Fail

Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson have just published Why Nations Fail, a big book on development that will attract a lot of attention. The latest fad in development studies has been to conduct controlled randomized experiments on a host of micro-questions, such as whether co-payments for mosquito bed nets improves their uptake. Whether such studies […]

March 4, 2012

James Q. Wilson, 1931-2012

I never studied with Jim Wilson while getting my degree in the Harvard Government Department, though he was there at the time. My contacts with him came later, when we served together on the President’s Council on Bioethics in the early 2000s, and as fellow members of the Board of Governors of the Rand Graduate […]

February 12, 2012

Surveillance Drone, Maiden Flight

I’ve promised to write about the surveillance drone that I’ve been building over the past couple of months. I have always wanted to have my own drone that could send back a live video feed. This is partly inspired by products like the AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven, which is currently in use by the US military, […]

February 6, 2012

What’s Wrong with Hungary?

I have, to put it mildly, been somewhat astonished at the heated reaction that my blog post “Do Institutions Matter?” has provoked, culminating in a letter from the Hungarian State Secretary for Communication, Zoltán Kovács, to The American Interest complaining about my piece and contesting various points in it. I’m now one of the few […]

February 3, 2012

Hungary Responds

My earlier blog post on Hungary’s new constitution has elicited a large and often angry response from some Hungarians, and now the Hungarian State Secretary for Communication, Zoltán Kovács, has written a critical letter to The American Interest that you can read here.   I will be responding to all of this in a few days, […]

January 31, 2012

What is Governance?

I’m beginning a new project at Stanford/CDDRL called “The Governance Project.” The intention is to focus on conceptualizing and measuring governance, and applying those measures to two specific countries, China and the United States. The beginning point of the project is definition of governance that excludes the degree to which governments are either democratic or […]

January 23, 2012

Do Institutions Really Matter?

Over the past decade the mantra in both development studies and comparative politics has been “institutions matter”—that is, you aren’t going to get economic growth or other human development objectives in the absence of institutions like rule of law, transparent and accountable governments, low levels of corruption, and the like. The empirical basis for this […]

January 17, 2012

Symbolic Animals

I have been reading Terrence Deacon’s The Symbolic Species at the recommendation of David Sloan Wilson, who has been one of the leading proponents of group selection (or more properly, multi-level selection) in evolutionary theory over the last few years.  (These are people who took issue with the views of Richard Dawkins and many older […]

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