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Archive for the ‘Guest Posting’ Category

Seth and I would like to welcome our colleague Greg Mitchell to the blog.  Take a gander  at his first post.  Here’s hoping he becomes a regular.

Robin Hanson’s week-old post is mind bending. Read it. His particularly penetrating and concise description of democracy got me thinking.

Hanson characterizes democracy as the political system that is “designed to emphasize the hardly-considered fleeting delusory thoughts of the median voter rather than the considered opinions of our best experts.”

Indeed.

But in the study of institutions, we always place democracy at the positive end of the spectrum, contrasted with dictatorship, always at the negative end.

Why is this inefficient system of political organization considered so desirable?

Because the market for government is really dysfunctional. Transaction costs of “switching providers” are extremely high. To move from one country to another includes a large monetary cost, lots of time in preparing to immigrate (legally or illegally), learning a new language and culture, and leaving all the important people and places one has ever known in favor of the uncertain. People don’t have a lot of choice over which government governs them.

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