A short history of political institutions


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What are political institutions and how did they evolve over time? In this episode I tell the story of how small, local societies based on kin were integrated into monarchies, and then finally made the transition to democracy.

First though, I comment on the devastating, barbaric attack by Putin on Ukraine. This is not only an insane assault on the Ukrainian people, but also on freedom, democracy and our rules based peace.

In this episode I explain what formal and informal institutions are, and how they function in our societies. I describe the transition from what Thomas Hobbes called a "state of nature", to more integrated sophisticated monarchies with developing yet non-elected parliamentary institutions. And finally how the struggle between the elites and the common people, between rich and poor, through many uprisings led to the extension of the franchise to all citizens, and to more inclusive, democratic institutions.

This simplified, and I hope useful account of the evolution of political and democratic institutions is mostly based on the books "Prosperity and Violence" by Robert H. Bates (2001, 2010), and "The Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy" by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson (2005). I highly recommend the former, while the latter is a very technical political-economic, though highly insightful book.

Find a full transcript and the show notes here: https://rulesofthegame.blog/a-short-history-of-political-institutions/

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/skyburz

Please enjoy this episode!

31 episoder