In this talk, Barak Richman will describe what is known about stateless commercial networks, how to understand them within the context of modernity, and what limits they reveal about the modern state. He will then explore new questions about how stateless networks and their host polities adapt, co-evolve, and suffer decline.
Norm nudging relies upon informing people about what others do or approve of. However, there has been little study about what people infer from such messages. Cristina Bicchieri shows that the valence of the message and the frequency and dispersion of the target behavior determine the inferences that people draw.
In many developing countries, non-state actors are important sources of basic social services, including those with religious or political affiliations. Do politicized ethnoreligious divisions shape citizen choices of providers? Does the quality of care vary depending on whether patients visit ingroup or outgroup facilities? Watch the full video by Melani Cammett.
In this lecture, James C. Scott challenges dominant historical narratives about non-state populations. He argues that by dominating trade routes, extracting tribute, and providing the connective tissue between large population centers, “barbarian” life was in general freer, more leisurely, healthier, and, contra Hobbes, less violent than life in the centers of civilization.
In this talk, Professor Jeffrey Friedman argues that populism is a simplistic distillation of an assumption about the purpose of government that is endemic in modern culture: the assumption that the purpose of government is to solve the people’s tangible social and economic problems.
In this talk, Professor Ian Shapiro discusses the purposes of political parties, distinguishing clientelist conceptions of parties as seeking benefits for members that Madison feared from the view Burke championed: that parties seek to govern in the public interest—if from inescapably partisan points of view.
The work ethic was invented by Puritan ministers in the 17th century. At the turn of the 20th century, sociologist Max Weber argued that it trapped workers in an “iron cage” of meaningless drudgery for the sake of interminable wealth accumulation. In the 21st century, anarchist anthropologist David Graeber has condemned it for consigning workers to “bullshit jobs.” They are only half right.
This talk focuses on the intellectual sources of the transformation of the modern state. It suggests that modernist social science informed the main narratives of the crisis of the administrative and welfare state in the 1970s and inspired the waves of subsequent public sector reform. Mark Bevir is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for British Studies, University of California, Berkeley.
Did the English patent system help spark the Industrial Revolution? Most scholars addressing this question have focused on whether patents improved the economic incentive to invent. In contrast, Professor Gary Cox focuses on whether patents improved access to useful knowledge—via the requirement (instituted in 1734) that patentees provide technical specifications for their inventions.