Democracy and the Economics of Politics

Lord Acton“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men . . .”

The truth of Lord Acton’s observation gets confirmed with sickening regularity. Here I explore that point in the context of democracy. Why do democracies, particularly those with powerful governments, tend to elect bad people? What’s the analytical relationship between power, politics, money and corruption? Continue reading “Democracy and the Economics of Politics”

ICT, Choice and Democracy 2.0 — Part 2

Institutions as Ideas

Institutions defined most generally are essentially ideas. They are big ideas, ideas that are persistent and which have a profound effect on the populations that evolve, and adopt, the ideas. Examples of powerful institutions – therefore powerful ideas – are easy to find: markets, state constitutions, legal systems, systems of governance, and so on. The institution called democracy is also an idea. The instantiation of an idea — its embodiment or implementation or incarnation – varies from place to place, and from time to time. How an institution is implemented depends on, among other things, preferences of the population and on the available technology. As tastes and technologies change, institutions can be implemented differently, and generally they are more efficiently implemented as time goes by.
Continue reading “ICT, Choice and Democracy 2.0 — Part 2”