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Market augmenting governments will stand as a cutting edge work on economic growth and provide a useful framework in which to consider the Asian financial crisis and its aftermath As Susan Lee noted in Forbes his pioneering insights might have won a Nobel Prize for Olson had he lived a bit long. Fascinating though difficult read Got me imagining what an Olsonic analysis of the current budgetdebt crisis might look like particularly given his critiue of special interests and the impossibility of rational collective action by small groups

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Power and Prosperity Outgrowing Communist and Capitalist Dictatorships

Why do some economies do better than others How does society encourage the kind of market economy that generates continually increasing incomes How do particular styles of government affect economic performance World renowned economist Mancur Olson tackles these uestions and others in what will. Both force and voluntary exchange are present in every social order The challenge of designing a successful social order in Olson s view is to give the power to make collective decisions to an encompassing interest rather than to a special interest Olson develops the idea of special and encompassing interests in the following way If a bandit can gain an exclusive power to plunder an area he will have an incentive to protect the area from other predators Since plunder removes some incentive to create wealth the stationary bandit also has some incentive to cultivate prosperity in the area he controls With an exclusive power to plunder he has acuired an interest in the general welfare because he now bears a significant portion of plunder s cost to society Thus he will moderate his thievery to maximize his profit In contrast a roving bandit bears only an infinitesimal portion of the damage that his behavior brings to society and therefore will have no reason to restrain himself Since governments are simply legal plunderers this argument applies to them as well as to mafia groups and ancient warlords If a government s choices are determined by a sufficiently large portion of society they will constitute an encompassing interest and will choose policies that are in the best interest of the population as a wholeWhat is remarkable about this argument is that it identifies a reason for autocrats and warlords to improve social welfare This second invisible hand like the invisible hand of voluntary exchange which Adam Smith identified moves self interested actors to act in the common goodThis theory of the logic of force and the logic of voluntary exchange also had certain implications for the countries that were transitioning from communism to capitalism at the time that Mancur Olson wrote Power and Prosperity The key issue of transition is not how uickly the transition should occur but rather whether these countries will transition to systems that give power to encompassing interestsOlson stresses the importance of private property rights and the role of governments in protecting these Some economic exchanges are self enforcing but other exchanges depend upon the enforcement of long term contracts This is a proper function of government Olson concludes that the best form of government for prosperity is a democratic one which respects and protects private property rightsHowever this book is sophisticated than many defenses of free markets and property rights For example Olson takes the time to explain why the Soviet system was able to function as well as it did A kind of bureaucratic competition was a countervailing factor in the inefficiencies and lack of information that we would expect to occur in a socialist economy It was only after enough time had passed for the bureaucrats to collude with one another to serve private rather than encompassing interests that the system collapsed Thus Olson demonstrates that his categories of thought deal effectively with historical fact

Mancur Olson Í 8 Download

Surely be regarded as his magnum opus Olson contends that governments can play an essential role in the development of markets Reliable enforcement of private contracts and protection of individual rights to property depend on governments strong enough not to undermine them His exploration of. By a Nobel prize winning economist this text reuired for my interdisciplinary International Relations major at the College of William and Mary explains the dynamics that lead civilization to arise from anarchy the forces that cause communism and democracy outperform and euilibriums to keep in check A critical manual for any aspiring dictator or democrat


10 thoughts on “Power and Prosperity Outgrowing Communist and Capitalist Dictatorships

  1. says:

    A bit like Thinking Fast and Slow but with a lot less rambling and almost zero cross referencing in the main text this is a book that's meant to summarise a career's findings It's written by somebody who both knows a whole lot and wants to tell you everything he knows And it's written so beautifully you keep asking yourself why di

  2. says:

    Both force and voluntary exchange are present in every social order The challenge of designing a successful social order in Olson's view is to give the power to make collective decisions to an encompassing interest rather than to a special interest Olson develops the idea of special and encompassing interests in the following way If a bandit can gain an exclusive power to plunder an area he will have an incentive to p

  3. says:

    Like many of the books I pick up I came to this one because the author Mancur Olson was mentioned in several bookspapers I've been reading First he was mentioned in a book on lobbying I'm reading as representing a school of political economy Upon googling him I found that he had written one of the first books on the economic logic of collec

  4. says:

    Olson examines what it takes for societies to achieve economic prosperity by studying pre capitalist capitalist communist

  5. says:

    A deep and fascinating study of the development of power and of the resons why post Communist economies failed to live up to their promise The internal logic of Olson's theory is deeply compelling but I am afraid that his view despite its strong claims to realism is still somewhat Pollyannaish he assumes self interest and perfect ra

  6. says:

    By a Nobel prize winning economist this text reuired for my interdisciplinary International Relations major at the College of William

  7. says:

    The book tries to use the logic outlined in the logic of collective action to discuss soviet politics I think the book is pretty great in many respects and has a very clear argumentation style That said I don't feel like he argues against the Coasian paradigm very clearly The technical exposition with the graphs also di

  8. says:

    Fascinating though difficult read Got me imagining what an Olsonic analysis of the current budgetdebt crisis might look like particularly given his critiue of special interests and the impossibility of rational collective action by small groups

  9. says:

    So what do you do if you're fascinated by science but are incapable of scientific rigour you're fascinated by math but you're crap at it and you're fascinated by philosophy but are incapable of thinking logically? Easy become an economist

  10. says:

    Read this book for a graduate level public choice economics course it was fairly theoretical and I discovered that after discussing concepts in class I was able to better understand the book

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