The primary aim in this paper is to explore the contribution that the economic way of thinking can make to this existing literature. Specifically, this paper examines the economic concepts of incentives, constraints, opportunity cost, institutional path dependency, and gains from trade in the context of reconstruction and reconciliation.
A growing literature focuses on the economic benefits of empires, benefits sometimes referred to as “global public goods” and neglects the associated public bads. This paper highlights the potential public bads.
Critical to successful reconstruction is common knowledge among citizens, which facilitates the coordination of activities on a set of beliefs aligning with the aims of reconstruction. The nature of common knowledge in the post-conflict context and its importance in coordinating citizens on reconstruction efforts are analyzed. Emphasis is placed on the role that existing cultural products play in generating common knowledge and institutional change.
Attempts to reconstruct weak and failed countries suffer from a nirvana fallacy. Where central governments are absent or dysfunctional, it is assumed that reconstruction efforts by foreign governments generate a preferable outcome. An analysis of Somalia, a prototypical failed state, is provided to illuminate these claims.
It is argued that the process of reconstructing weak and failed states along liberal democratic lines is a cultural rather than a merely technical issue. The work of Alexis de Tocqueville provides key insights into the foundations of liberal democracy and the limitations on the ability of foreign countries to export liberal democratic institutions via military occupation and reconstruction.
The main implication of this analysis is that efforts to increase productivity and preserve the American Creed should not focus on restricting immigration but rather on shifting the payoffs that face immigrants and citizens alike.
A successful post-conﬂict reconstruction is characterized by a self-sustaining liberal political, economic and social order that does not rely on external support. It is argued that the extent of reconstructed orders is constrained by their institutional prerequisites. The main conclusion is that societies lacking adequate horizontal ties will require a high level of continual intervention and reconstruction efforts will have a lower probability of success.
This paper documents and articulates Murray N. Rothbard’s contribution to our understanding of the theory and practice of socialism. This article makes and supports the conjecture that Rothbard anticipated allthe major subsequent developments in the economic analysis regarding the problems of the Soviet economy and all the major works in comparative political economy for real-existing socialism in the Soviet Union.
This paper has considered two accounts of the evolution from a state of nature to a social order that allows for interaction and exchange. Both accounts begin with pessimistic assumptions about individuals in the absence of a central government. In both cases, the authors conclude that the state, with a monopoly on force, is in the interest of all in society.
In this webinar for the Foundation for Economic Education, Mercatus Graduate Student Programs alumnus Edward Stringham talks about how government regulation affects entrepreneurship, and how entrepreneurs regulate themselves.