Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-45s75 Total loading time: 0.305 Render date: 2021-12-02T20:12:37.667Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

6 - The Transition Proper

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 August 2009

Douglass C. North
Affiliation:
Washington University, St Louis
John Joseph Wallis
Affiliation:
University of Maryland, College Park
Barry R. Weingast
Affiliation:
Stanford University, California
Get access

Summary

Institutionalizing Open Access

The transition proper begins when elites find a common interest in transforming some elite privileges into impersonal elite rights shared by all members of the elite. The process is by no means inevitable. The natural tendency of powerful groups faced with uncertainty and novel situations is to consolidate privileges, not to expand them to include more elites. The transition proper is the process by which elites open access within the dominant coalition, secure that open access through institutional changes, and then begin to expand access to citizenship rights to a wider share of the population.

In the logic of the transition, elites find it in their interests to protect their privileges by converting them into rights. The biggest threat to elite privileges is other elites, especially factions within the dominant coalition. It was believed that intra-elite competition in mature natural states presented the biggest internal threat to elites. Those ideas formed the core of a crystallizing political theory in the eighteenth century called the republican tradition or civic humanism by some (with roots stretching back to Greece and Republican Rome). The backward-looking idea that intra-elite competition posed the greatest threat to social order described a natural state, not an open access order. The specific idea that political manipulation of economic privileges posed the greatest threat to a republic was the central hypothesis of Whig or Commonwealth thinking in the eighteenth century in Britain, France, and the United States.

Type
Chapter
Information
Violence and Social Orders
A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History
, pp. 190 - 250
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2009

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×