I’m feeling a bit burned out and writer-blocked, but here is other stuff to read until the muse strikes —
The story of Veniceâ€™s rise and fall is told by the scholars Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, in their book â€œWhy Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty,â€ as an illustration of their thesis that what separates successful states from failed ones is whether their governing institutions are inclusive or extractive. Extractive states are controlled by ruling elites whose objective is to extract as much wealth as they can from the rest of society. Inclusive states give everyone access to economic opportunity; often, greater inclusiveness creates more prosperity, which creates an incentive for ever greater inclusiveness.
The history of the United States can be read as one such virtuous circle. But as the story of Venice shows, virtuous circles can be broken. Elites that have prospered from inclusive systems can be tempted to pull up the ladder they climbed to the top. Eventually, their societies become extractive and their economies languish.
It’s so obvious that unfettered capitalism turns into a cancer that eats itself. Capitalism needs government oversight and limits to stay healthy. It boggles the mind that so many people who are so clever at making money are too stupid to see the bigger picture.
Jonathan Bernstein, “Substance-free Republicans default to lazy mendacity”
Are the wingnuts falling out of love with Ryan? — “The Hero, Diminished”