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The Problem of Donald Trump Didn’t Start with Donald Trump

democratic elections are not meant to adjudicate such matters anyway. They are by definition a mechanism of temporarily designating who gets to run the country. (The question is posed to voters again and again, on a regular schedule.) If the issues at stake are about the very “soul of America,” democracy quickly reveals itself to […]

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In Africa, Chinese Developers Are Building A Mini-China

Development is happening quickly, though not as quickly as megacities grew in China. Of 50 economic zones planned nine years ago, only six have been built. Developers are struggling to adapt to the differences in various African cultures and differences in governance. “I think from Chinese point of view, the biggest danger is corruption in […]

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What the Neoreaction Doesn’t Understand about Democracy

What the Neoreaction Doesn’t Understand about Democracy The key conclusion to draw from the Mulligan study is that political competition doesn’t go away when you switch away from democracy; rather, it moves to the metapolitical level. Competition within political systems is a substitute for competition over political systems. When the former is stifled, the latter […]

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“Democracy Has Descended Into Institutionalized Bribery”: An Interview with David Graeber

“Democracy Has Descended Into Institutionalized Bribery”: An Interview with David Graeber We’re taught that democracy was like a scientific breakthrough. People discovered democracy, as if people didn’t know how to count beforehand. But what you see when you look at the anthropological record, are countless examples of egalitarian decision making.

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Pirate Democracy?   – Why Nations Fail

Pirate Democracy?   – Why Nations Fail In his fascinating book The Invisible Hook, Peter Leeson shows that such democracy was the norm amongst pirate crews who ravaged the Caribbean and other parts of the world in the 18th century. Pirate crews not only elected their captains on the basis of universal pirate suffrage, but […]

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So how come the roads are so bad in the richest part of the country? Can’t even the rich people get the government to do things for them in Haiti? Actually they can and do, that’s not the problem here. Here is a hypothesis that was independently proposed by three different people last summer to […]

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Why is Haiti so poor?

Why is Haiti so poor? “At the end of World War II, Haiti and the Dominican Republic had essentially identical levels of income per capita. Thereafter, they diverged. ” Worth a read. Why Nations Fail is the most thought provoking blog in my reading queue these days.

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Rawls on Wall Street

to move forward and make a difference, Occupy Wall Street needs specific goals backed by a more coherent, more inspiring vision for American democracy.  To their credit, protestors have recently begun debating which specific demands the movement should make, but their conversations appear to be unguided by any deeper wisdom.  A perfect intellectual touchstone would […]

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The Power of Mockery

Otpor’s strategy mirrors one promoted by a rumpled Boston academic named Gene Sharp, who is little known in America but inspires tremors among dictators abroad. Sharp’s guide to toppling despots has been translated into 34 languages so far and was widely circulated in Egypt last year in Arabic. After Otpor toppled Milosevic, it began to […]

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Breaking: Mubarak Resigns

Breaking: Mubarak Resigns It’s over. A Republic, if you can keep it.