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Notes on Acemoglu and Robinson Chapter 1: Paths of Political Development I. Path #1: non-democracy to consolidated democracy: Britain (pp.

-!" democracy began with the creation of a Parliament that was really just a concession to aristocracy after the Glorious Revolution (1688 Parliament began meeting regularly! "here was a #ouse of $ords (which included the clergy and a #ouse of %ommons& the latter of which was essentially controlled by the former due to uncontested and non'secret voting! (n other words& )ritain was essentially ruled by the rich! "he *ercent of the *o*ulation that had the right to vote grew slowly due to a series of reform acts that basically were concessions to buy off+silence+calm the middle classes and later the lower classes& which were beginning to revolt! ,irst Reform Act (18-. increased suffrage to 1/!01 of adult males2 3econd Reform Act (1864 almost doubled the suffrage& and allowed in more wor5ing class voters2 "hird Reform Act (188/ e6*anded suffrage to rural communities2 and so on! )y 17.8& all adults (male and female over the age of .1 had the right to vote! 8"he concessions were gradual because& in 18-.& social *eace could be *urchased by buying off the middle classes!9 (/ ! 8the threat of social disorder was the driving force behind the creation of democracy9 (/ II. Path # : non-democracy to #nconsolidated democracy: $r%entina (pp. ! & '" as in )ritain& there were attem*ts to *lacate the masses through mass (male suffrage however& due to corru*tion& elections were 8ritualistic *arodies9 (0 with the threat of more unrest& a *rogressive *resident attem*ted to reform suffrage in 171:& but as a result& the Radical *arty began to become a severe threat in 17-:& a military cou* and a fraudulent election restored *ower to the elites this *attern re*eated several more times ; a *rogressive leader (including Peron comes to *ower& establishes reforms that are su**orted by the underclasses& and then is de*osed by either a cou* or a fraudulent election& and *ower is restored to conservatives the regime that lasted under <idela from 1746 to 178. 8was the most re*ressive in Argentine history9 ; famous for the ten thousand *eo*le who 8disa**eared9 (that 3ting song 8=conomic develo*ment& changes in class structure& and ra*idly widening ine>uality!!! coincided with *ressure on the traditional *olitical elite to o*en the system! )ut!!! traditional interests were too threatened by the rise to *ower of the Radicals and continuously wor5ed to undermine democracy!9 (4 8?ictatorial regimes colla*sed because of social *rotests& and democracies colla*sed because the radical& *o*ulist& and often unsustainable *olicies they ado*ted induced military cou*s!9 (8

III.Path #(: persistent non-democracy #nder e%alitarian conditions: )in%apore (pp. ' & 1*" 8ac>uired9 by a 3ir Raffles from its @alay ruler for the )ritish =ast (ndia %om*any in 1817 soon became an im*ortant trading *ort and entre*ot (a *ort& city& or other center to which goods are brought for im*ort and e6*ort & a role which continued to grow became a %rown %olony in 1864 occu*ied by Aa*an in BB((& hel*ed lead to a 8*olitical awa5ening9 (8

from17/8 ;1707& riots and social unrest led to a series of *rogressively more o*en reforms until finally 3inga*ore had 8almost com*lete internal self'rule9 with universal suffrage& heavily dominated by the PAP *arty (8 des*ite a few small attem*ts to wrest control from PAP& PAP always bounces bac5& controlling elections so that they always dominate the council& gerrymandering& blatant threats etc! further& laws control the media& labor unrest (stri5es are illegal & and social unrest (which can be *unished by 8blac5listing& shunning& lawsuits& ta6 investigations& lost business o**ortunities& and detention without trial9 (7 ! 8Cverall!!! !the PAP ra*idly established one'*arty rule after 176-! 3ince then& the economy has boomed& ine>uality has been low9 (there is no aristocracy class 8and the PAP has maintained *ower through relatively benign means& fostering *o*ularity through e6tensive social welfare *rograms as well as engaging in threats and coercion!!!! "here is a**arently little o**osition to PAP rule and little *ressure for *olitical change!9 (1: I+. Path #,: persistent non-democracy #nder repressive conditions: )o#th $frica (pp. 1* & 1," the region was first settled by the ?utch =ast (ndia %om*any (160. & later on seiDed by the )ritish (18:6 & though some ?utch colonists remained and were called 8)oers9 both the ?utch and the )ritish were interested mainly in shi**ing routes& not the interior *ower struggle between the )ritish and the )oers led to some regions being held by the )oers first *olitical structures used )ritish rules about land'ownershi* to restrict suffrage (which basically meant that blac5s were e6cluded after the discovery of gold and diamonds& the *olitical struggles in the area became more intense between the )ritish and the )oers& and finally in 171:& the )ritish con>uered the whole area again and formed the Enion of 3outh Africa a*artheid cre*t u* slowly& first with rules as to which jobs each race was allowed to do& laws about where natives were allowed to *urchase land (restricting 4:1 of the *o*ulation to 1.1 of the land & and so on! )y 17/8& there was full'blown a*artheid! (11 the African National %ongress (AN% is formed 171. some attem*ts by blac5s to demand suffrage (17/- & becoming more radical as time went on 8"he a*artheid regime was sustained by massive infringements on *olitical and civil rights! "he government established tight control over the media!!!! "he *olice were given vast *owers to arrest *eo*le without trial and hold them indefinitely9 (1. @andela led AN% 5e*t fighting& the government fought bac5& riots and im*risonments& hundreds of deaths after a *articularly violent riot& 3oweto riot (1746 & 8a *rotest culture *ervaded the blac5 *o*ulation of 3outh Africa9 (1. in the 178:s government made some concessions& some of which it too5 bac5 again& but fundamentally a*artheid still was the same by 1787& with both domestic and international *ressures& a new *resident began to transition away from the a*artheid era& but the main *arty continued to try to 8wea5en the threat of blac5 majority rule9 (1 (n summaryF 8,rom its roots!!! 3outh Africa was a society of great ine>ualities!!!! After the 3econd Borld Bar& Africans began to successfully mobiliDe against this *olitical status >uo& and they were able to e6ert increasing *ressure& rendering the e6isting a*artheid regime infeasible!!!! "he a*artheid regime maintained *ower through the use of e6tensive re*ression and violence! (n 177/& the regime was forced to democratiDe rather than ris5 *otentially far worse alternatives!9

(1/ +. -he $%enda (p. 1," 8Be now *ro*ose a framewor5 to understand these various *aths and develo* *redictions for when we e6*ect to see one *ath versus another9 Chapter : .#r $r%#ment (pp. 1!- ,/" the goal is to come u* with a framewor5 to understand why some countries are democratic while others are not authors conceive of society as consisting of two *artsF the elites and the citiDens (who are more numerous ! 8Policies or social choices that benefit the elites will be different from those than benefit the citiDens!9 (16 the elites can be the rich& the white& the military!!! de*ends on conte6t! )ut often itGs the rich! Bealth H *ower& or *ower H wealth2 either way& thereGs a connection *olitical institutions control not only current situations& but future allocations of *ower I. Democracy vers#s 0on-democracy (pp. 11 & 12" authors rely on CccamGs raDor& which basically states that the sim*lest e6*lanation is *robably the best naturally there are differences among democracies and non'democracies2 but there are certain similarities! =ssentially& democracies are by the *eo*le for the *eo*le (*olitical e>uality and non'democracies are by the elites& for the elites (*olitical ine>uality (14 8Cur focus is to understand the social and economic forces *ushing some societies toward regimes with greater *olitical e>uality versus those encouraging the develo*ment of more nondemocratic systems9 (14 authors recogniDe that there are actually 8shades9 of democracy 8Cur a**roach means that we are not sim*ly interested in when universal adult suffrage was introduced but rather in understanding all movements in the direction of increased democracy9 (18 8when we discuss *olitical e>uality in democracy& it is always a relative statement9 (18 because of course some *eo*le are more e>ual than others!!! II. B#ildin% Bloc3s of o#r $pproach (pp. 12 & " 8the first overarching building bloc5 for our a**roach is that it is economic!!!! (ndividuals have well'defined *references over outcomes or the conse>uences of their actions!!!! They evaluate various different options, including democracy versus non-democracy, according to their assessments of their (economic and social) consequences. (17 8*eo*le often behave strategically and!!! their behavior should be modeled as a game9! Relying on game theory (which is basically the above statement that ( italiciDed 8Be are not denying that such ideological *references e6ist& but we believe that individualsG and grou*sG *references over regimes derived from the economic and social conse>uences of these regimes are more im*ortant!9 (.: 8our second building bloc5 is that *olitics is inherently conflictual!9 ; itGs a Dero'sum game& and every choice creates winners and losers! 8=very time society (or the government ma5es a decision or ado*ts a *olicy& it is im*licitly siding with one grou*& im*licitly resolving the underlying *olitical conflict in one way or another& and im*licitly or e6*licitly creating winners and losers9 (.:

grou*s may act together sometimes& of course2 8our focus on social grou*s as 5ey *olitical actors is motivated by our sense that the most im*ortant forces in *olitical conflict and change are grou*s of individuals9 (.1 8how does society resolve *olitical conflict in *racticeI!!!! which grou* is favored is determined by which grou* has political power! (n other words& *olitical *ower is the ca*acity of a grou* to obtain its favorite *olicies against the resistance of other grou*s!9 (.1 de facto *ower is the brute force of guns and money! ?e jure *ower is legitimate *ower as voted in by the *eo*le& for better or for worse! 8actual *olitical *ower is a combination of9 the two 8"hat democracies loo5 after the interests of the majority of citiDens more than nondemocracies is sim*ly a conse>uence& then& of the greater de jure *olitical *ower of the majority in democracy than in nondemocracy9 (.. III.-o4ard .#r Basic )tory (pp. & (" 8it is!!! natural to thin5 that the citiDens have a stronger *reference for democracy than the elites9 (.. often the drive toward democracy and universal (male suffrage ends u* as a struggle between the rich and the *oor the authorGs 8sim*le theory9 is that 8the citiDens want democracy and the elites want nondemocracy& and the balance of *olitical *ower between the two grou*s determines whether the society transits from nondemocracy to democracy9 (.- !!! but thatGs too sim*le of a theory because it leaves out *olitical institutions the 5ey issue is *olitical institutions because 8they regulate the future allocation of *olitical *ower between various social grou*s!!!! (ndividuals care not only about *olicies today but also about *olicies tomorrow9 (.I+. .#r -heory of Democrati5ation (pp. ( & (*" essentially& *olitical institutions are durable! "hey are a medium that can transition between 8today9 and 8tomorrow9 in a way that a more o*en+less institutionaliDed world cannot if citiDens use their current *ower to create a democracy& they are ensuring that their de jure *olitical *ower will be more durable democracy as a 8a way of regulating the future allocation of *olitical *ower9 (. by nature& *ower is usually transitory& and that is an essential *art of the authorsG argument the reason we donGt see more *easant+citiDen u*risings isnGt sim*ly that the elite control the military a**aratus (though itGs that too 2 itGs because the de facto *ower of the *eo*le is by nature transitory given that citiDens generally achieve more *olitical *ower after they get the right to vote& why would elites give them that right& as o**osed to using other more direct methods to *lacate themI "he answer is that they need something credible& and suffrage is credible as a durable way of achieving *ower 8A credible *romise!!! means that it has to change the future allocation of *olitical *ower! "hat is *recisely what a transition to democracy does9 (.6 8"he role that *olitical institutions *lay in allocating *ower and leading to relatively credible commitments is the third 5ey building bloc5 of our a**roach9 (.6 8Bhy& if a revolution is attractive to citiDens& does the creation of democracy sto* itI "his is *lausibly because revolution is costly9 (.6 ! good summary of this& first full *aragra*h on *age .4 (8Be now have our basic theory!!!!9

their theory ma5es sense with historical evidence for e6am*le& in =ngland& the suffrage reforms were *assed with e6*licit notes from the P@ that 8"he *rinci*le of my reform is to *revent the necessity of revolution9 (.4 similar events in other =uro*ean states and in $atin America as well (.8 8most moves toward democracy ha**en in the face of significant social conflict and *ossible threat of revolution! ?emocracy is not given by the elite because its values have changed! (t is demanded by the disenfranchised as a way to obtain *olitical *ower and thus secure a larger share of the economic benefits of the system9 (.7 itGs true that democracies colla*se& but they still seem durable+credible enough of a commitment to most because overthrowing a democracy is costly on many levels! "he level of threat+violence involved in an a*artheid'ty*e system is also costly ; loss of life& destruction of wealth& and sometimes international sanctions ; and can lead to revolutions +. Democratic Consolidation (pp. (*-(1" why do some countriesG democracies failI 8a democracy is consolidated if the set of institutions that characteriDe it endure through time9 (-: essentially& elites want to overthrow democracies for e6actly the same reason that citiDens want to overthrow non'democracies ; to further their own interests and ensure that their *ower will endure in the foreseeable future +I. Determinants of Democracy (pp. (1 & , " in this section& the authors list 4 factors that bear on whether democracies will arise (democratiDation and endure (consolidation 1! %ivil 3ociety (-1 8Bhen civil society is relatively develo*ed and the majority is organiDes& re*ression may be more difficult!9 (authors ta5e this as a given 8Not only is a well'organiDed civil society necessary to *ush for democracy& it is also necessary to *rotect it9 .! 3hoc5s and %rises (-1 8our theory *redicts that democratiDations are more li5ely to arise in a situation of economic or *olitical crisis9 (-. such a war& famine& economic de*ression& etc cou*s are also more li5ely to develo* in such times& so they can also lead to destruction of democracies -! 3ources of (ncome and %om*osition of Bealth (-. 8democracy is more li5ely when the elites are industrialists rather than land'owners9 for a variety of reasons (-. including the rate at which land can be ta6ed& a lac5 of need for coo*eration in the wor5force& and a different need for labor 8landed elites seem to favor re*ression rather than concessions& and when re*ression fails& revolutions ta5e *lace9 (- also& if elites are invested in land& cou*s will be less costly than for industrial elites& so democracies are more li5ely to fall if elites are landed /! Political (nstitutions (- though of course a democracy tends to be more fair to citiDens& there are ways for elites to maintain their *ower through both de jure and de facto means even within a democracy for e6am*le& )eard (171- suggested that the E3 %onstitution was written at least in *art to

0! 6! 4!

maintain the interests of the landed 8gentry9 of the time who wrote the document because 8democratic *olitical institutions can be structured to limit the *ower of the majority9 (for e6am*le& %hile under Pinochet2 3outh Africa during its transition away from a*artheid & that ma5es democracy less threatening to elites& which in turn can lead to more democratiDation similarly& 8institutions that *lace limits on *ro'majoritarian *olicies in democracy are li5ely to hel* consolidation9 (-/ in essence& countries such as %olumbia& "ur5ey& and %hile have sacrificed some interests of the majority in order to *acify the elites& which in turn 5ee*s democracy more stable (if *erha*s not truly a democracyI but if this goes too far& then there will be a revolt& so itGs im*ortant not to give the elites too much *ower "he Role of (nter'Grou* (ne>uality (-0 the more that there is ine>uality between grou*s (ie& between rich and *oor& etc & the more li5ely a democratic revolution will seem to be in the best interests of the downtrodden grou*s however& when there is star5 ine>uality between the grou*s& then the rich have even more to lose with democratiDation thus& democratiDation is unli5ely at both the very low end of ine>uality (the citiDens donGt feel a need to revolt and at the very high end of ine>uality (the elites are using e6tremely re*ressive tactics to *revent it and is most li5ely at the middle of the s*ectrum (-4 greater ine>uality can also im*ede consolidation because 8the burden of democracy on the elites is increasing in the income ga* between them and the citiDens9 this hel*s e6*lain $atin AmericaGs cycles with democratiDation and cou*s 8Cur framewor5 *redicts that in highly une>ual societies& democratic *olicies should be highly redistributive but then abru*tly come to an end +with a cou* that reverts bac5 to much less redistributive *olicies9 (-4'8 which matches Argentina and other $!A! %ountries this e6*lains all four cases from the first cha*ter (see middle *aragra*h& *! -8& 8%ombining the effects of ine>uality on democratiDation and cou*s!!!!9 "he @iddle %lass (-8 the middle class is a sort of swing vote between the elites and the citiDens& and have been a major *layer in many *revious revolutions often& the middle class is enfranchised before the citiDens they act as a buffer in the conflict between the elites and the citiDens the middle class ty*ically sides with elites as long as they are ha**y themselves so their *resence ma5es democratiDation 8more attractive to elites than re*ression9 and changes *olicy 8enough that the citiDens are content not to revolt9 (-7 with a large middle class& there will be less need for redistributive *olicies& which will hel* with consolidation (/: GlobaliDation (/: the *resence of international ban5s hel*s *rotect elites from redistributive *olicies (because they can hide their assets 2 this can hel* increase democratiDation and consolidation international trade can integrate non'democracies into a world economy and change the relationshi* between elites+management and citiDens+labor international sanctions can be strong against non'democracies who use re*ressive tactics cou*s become more costly in a well'integrated global economy Political Identities and the 0at#re of Conflict (pp. , & ,("

+II.

though their analysis is based on rich v! *oor for the most *art& it wor5s just as well with ethnic cleavages (they say ; itGs the same basic idea of choosing based on outcomes their theory suggests that *luralistic societies (such as the Enited 3tates 8would be more li5ely to have consolidated democracy because elites would have little to fear from majority rule9 (/because there isnGt necessarily a clear majority +III. Democracy in a Pict#re (pp. ,( & ,1" in this section& the authors attem*t to draw a diagram to show the relative effects of the 8costs of re*ression9 and of ine>uality! Bhen ine>uality is low& it doesnGt matter what the costs of re*ression are& because no one is trying to revolt! (3inga*ore & when ine>uality is high but the costs of re*ression are low& youGll see A*artheid 3outh Africa& etc! 8Cnce created& democracy will consolidate if it not too redistributive and if cou*s are sufficiently costly! #owever& when ine>uality is very high& the costs of a cou* may be sufficiently low that it is attractive!9 (/0 (good summary of their conce*t of consolidation Chapter 11: Concl#sions and the 6#t#re of Democracy (pp. (,2 & (1*" I. Paths of Political Development 7evisited ((,2 & (!!" a**lying their framewor5 to the same four cases from the first cha*ter 1! )ritain (-/7 ' -0. as mentioned& democracy grew as a series of concessions that the elites made to avoid revolution& but there were also some im*ortant *arameters in *lay the *olitical changes gave de jure *olitical *ower over to *eo*le with business interests& and this created economic e6*ansion two factors behind the scenes that made these changes more li5elyF 1 that the monarchy was already limited because of other reasons& and . the economy had already begun to turn into a ca*italistic one with a strong merchant class that could side with Parliament& away from the %rown urbaniDation and the beginning of a factory system 8began to ma5e the e6ercise of de facto *ower by the *oor and *olitically disenfranchised much easier9 and also tended to increase ine>ualities between elite and citiDens& and this 8made the e6isting regime unsustainable9 (-0: re*ression would have been too costly! 8industrialiDation and the *olicy of free trade after the 18/:s!!! had led to an economy based on *hysical& and increasingly& human ca*ital! 3ch assets are easily destroyed by re*ression and conflict!!!! )ecause ca*ital is more difficult to redistribute& the elites in )ritain found the *ros*ect of democracy less threatening9 (-01 )ritain 8consolidated because cou*s were too e6*ensive and& in any case& democracy was not radical enough to *ose a sufficient threat to the traditional elites!!!! "he elites never faced the ty*e of threats common in democratiDations elsewhere in the world& such as radical asset redistribution 9 (-0. .! Argentina (-0. ; -0 the 5ey difference between Argentina and )ritain is that in Argentina& the elitesG wealth was in land'ownershi*& the value of which continued to rise as the economy changed ; this meant the citiDens werenGt getting the de facto *ower we saw in )ritain also the economy was more unstable& 8creating windows of o**ortunity to induce *olitical change9 (-0.

*olitical institutions were less restrained& which made the RadicalsG *olicies too radical and redistributive& ma5ing it more li5ely that a cou* would ta5e *lace the authors are ho*eful that Argentina may now have consolidated fully since it has a stronger middle class and a wea5er far left -! 3inga*ore (-0- ; -0/ 3inga*ore is 8a very e>ual society9 with no landed elites& and it a**ears that for the citiDens& 8there is little to gain relative to what they already have9 (-0 similarly& the elites of the PAP have little to gain by going to a more re*ressive state authors *redict that 8at some *oint9 3inga*ore will transition to a more fully democratic state& though they donGt really say when or why /! 3outh Africa (-0/ ; -00 83outh Africa was founded as a settler colony similar in many ways to those in North America or Australia! Jet unli5e in the Enited 3tates& the indigenous *eo*le did not die off from im*orted diseases& which led to a situation in which the indigenous Africans became the labor force that the rich white elites could em*loy chea*ly and control with coercive methods9 (-0/ a*artheid was easy in some ways since it was 8justified9 by racist *hiloso*hy and aimed at 8one easily identifiable racial grou*9 8yet& the a*artheid regime was ultimately unsustainable9 because in a more industrial society& labor was more im*ortant and re*ression more costly! Also& international *ressures made re*ression more costly! 8As land became less im*ortant and mobile ca*ital more im*ortant&9 democracy became less frightening of an idea to elites authors note that a major threat to consolidation of democracy in 3A is the lac5 of an educated s5illed labor force II. 89tensions and $reas for 6#t#re 7esearch ((!! & (!/" authors have focused *rimarily on 8social conflict as the main driving force that leads to different *olitical institutions9 (-00 but ac5nowledge that other models could be *otentially com*limentary and need more em*irical research authors have five 8im*ortant areas in which more theoretical wor5 a**ears to be a high *riority9 1 the role of the militaryF "he authors generally wor5ed from the theory that the military either sides with elites or citiDens& but itGs *ossible that the military is a se*arate actor . variations in democratic institutionsF for e6am*le& *residential versus *arliamentarian& *ro*ortional versus majoritarian - alternative political identities: for e6am*le& ethnic identities& or anything that isnGt sim*ly socio'economic / collective action and revolutionF what ha**ens after a revolutionI #ow does it differ from or wor5 alongside of collective actionI 0 richer models of the wor ings of economy!form of economic institutionsF what is the relationshi* between economic institutions and *olitical onesI III.-he 6#t#re of Democracy ((!' & (1*" as human ca*ital rises in im*ortance relative to land and *hysical ca*ital& it will tend to lessen

the ga* between citiDens and elites (e6ce*t for in the Enited 3tates& where it has actually increased in the last -: years & and many countries will see less conflict in the future 8conflict between the elites and the K citiDens will remain in the global world economy& but globaliDation may ta5e the most disru*tive wea*ons from both sidesG arsenal in this fight9 (-08 because radicals become less radical and elites become more averse to cou*s 8the end of the %old Bar im*lies that the im*licit!!! su**ort that many nondemocratic regimes received has come to an end9 which means more democracy in the futureI 3till there are some reasons to thin5 that the elites will become more *owerful in democracy elites will continue to ta5e hold of *arty *olitics 8interest grou*s LwillM become stronger over time9& and one of those interest grou*s is the elite! "his is ha**ening right now in the E3 with the Noch brothers with a changing economy& labor unions are becoming less influential& which again gives the *ower bac5 to the elites 8"hus democracy will become more consolidated& however!!! it may be a disa**ointing form of democracy!9 (-6: