Monday, August 13, 2012

Chapter 6 - Drifting Apart

This key chapter analyzes the nature of institutional drift, critical junctures and the evolution toward or away from inclusive institutions. The take aways from this chapter, and the book are, I think:

Most societies have historically been and continue to be extractive in nature

Inclusiveness is fragile and easily can be reversed

Small institutional differences and critical junctures are ephemeral (157)

The use of example in this chapter (Venice, Rome and England) illustrate these three points and, I found provocative the use of Virtues and Vices as an organizing paradigm when examining the evolution of Rome. This terminology echoed Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments and the development in this book of the complex nature of human character and behavior. The role of the "moral sense" and the dimly understood manner in which this sense develops seems to be a key variable in the movement toward inclusiveness.

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