Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History

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All societies must deal with the possibility of violence, and they do so in different ways. This book integrates the problem of violence into a larger social science and historical framework, showing how economic and political behavior are closely linked. Most societies, which we call natural states, limit violence by political manipulation of the economy to create privileged interests. These privileges limit the use of violence by powerful individuals, but doing so hinders both economic and political development. In contrast, modern societies create open access to economic and political organizations, fostering political and economic competition. The book provides a framework for understanding the two types of social orders, why open access societies are both politically and economically more developed, and how some 25 countries have made the transition between the two types.
 

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User Review  - thcson - LibraryThing

The authors suggest that historical and contemporary societies can parsimoniously be classified into natural states and open access orders. The former are characterized by a division of violent power ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

Douglass C. North is co-recipient of the 1993 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science. He is Spencer T. Olin Professor in Arts and Sciences at Washington University, St Louis and Bartlett Burnap Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

John Joseph Wallis is Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Barry R. Weingast is Ward C. Krebs Family Professor in the Department of Political Science and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

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