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Taking conflicts over new solar energy projects on the agricultural landscape in the global North as its backdrop, the chapter demonstrates how work and labour (including that performed in the North by workers from the global South) are erased both by the opponents and the proponents of such projects. The erasure is consistent with prevailing ways of knowing the human-environment nexus, shaped by an underlying political economy derivative of how international law has constructed and maintained the foundational liberal mythology that separates labour from land. Grounded in our commitment to pursuing a ‘just transition’ to decarbonisation – that is to say, a transition that attends to the distributional effects and disproportionate impacts of decarbonisation on workers and communities – we strive to reconceptualise work and labour as embodied practices of working and living on the land. Everyday socio-spatial practices structured by law implicate ordinary people in the making of landscapes and continuing relations of settler capitalism, shaping how ‘we’ live together on the land, including who belongs and who gets to decide.
In this chapter I explore three extensions to the mathematical model presented in Chapter 4. First, I show that the results do not depend upon the balance of minority to majority assumed in Chapter 4. Instead, at any ratio of majority to minority size, candidates might side with an intense minority over a less-intense majority. Candidates do not, however, side with any intense minority, siding only with those of a sufficient combination of size and intensity. Second, I consider the free-rider problem in large electorates. I discuss a modification to the mathematical model where increasing the size of the electorate does not prevent some voters from choosing to incur costly political action. Finally, I consider the social welfare implications of intensity theory showing that utilitarian welfare can sometimes be higher with frustrated majorities and costly political action than under simple majority rule.
In this chapter I walk through the how and why of a theory of issue intensity and electoral competition and build the basics of the mathematical model used to explore intensity theory. I lay out six foundational assumptions of the model drawn from existing theories of elections in political science or political economy. The assumptions rule out current explanations for frustrated majorities so that I can show that the combination of issue intensity and electoral competition alone can cause frustrated majorities. I show how costly political action becomes an important part of the story when candidates cannot perfectly observe the issue intensity of voters. I then present a simple mathematical model with numerical examples to provide intuition for analysis in subsequent chapters.
We explore how macro and micro networks influence the diffusion of technological innovation and cultural/social behavior. Across the historical regimes in China and Europe, dynastic lordship's macro networks afforded different advantages in technological innovation. A network particular to Europe, the Roman Church, extended deep into local parishes with ethical norms prescribing fairness to strangers, and these cultural foundations helped guilds, trade associations, merchant courts, and universities operate cooperatively far beyond kinship. In contrast, Chinese emperors relied on ancient Confucian moral codes and system-spanning Confucian-educated officialdom; but fiscal limitations compelled officials to defer to local lineage orders, resulting in an enduring cultural pattern of guanxi and a polity whose institutional problem-solving capacity falter beyond the local level. Yet the civil service system has enabled China to outperform similar lineage-dependent regimes. Probing network topologies, we find that system-spanning networks can facilitate technological diffusion, but local networks influence cultural and behavioral change.
Democratic elections do not always deliver what majorities want. Many conclude from frustrated majorities a failure of democracy. This book argues the opposite may be true – that politicians who represent their constituents sometimes frustrate majorities. A theory of issue intensity explains how the intensity with which different voters care about political issues drives key features of elections, political participation, representation, and public policy. Because candidates for office are more certain of winning the votes of those who care intensely, they sometimes side with an intense minority over a less intense majority. Voters who care intensely communicate their intensity by taking political action: volunteering, contributing, and speaking out. From questions like whose voices should matter in a democracy to whose voices actually matter, this rigorous book blends ideas from democratic theory and formal political economy with new empirical evidence to tackle a topic of central importance to American politics.
Transitional justice – the act of reckoning with a former authoritarian regime after it has ceased to exist – has direct implications for democratic processes. Mechanisms of transitional justice have the power to influence who decides to go into politics, can shape politicians' behavior while in office, and can affect how politicians delegate policy decisions. However, these mechanisms are not all alike: some, known as transparency mechanisms, uncover authoritarian collaborators who did their work in secret while others, known as purges, fire open collaborators of the old regime. After Authoritarianism analyzes this distinction in order to uncover the contrasting effects these mechanisms have on sustaining and shaping the qualities of democratic processes. Using a highly disaggregated global transitional justice dataset, the book shows that mechanisms of transitional justice are far from being the epilogue of an outgoing authoritarian regime, and instead represent the crucial first chapter in a country's democratic story.
Why is an understanding of political competition essential for the study of public economics and public policy generally? How can political competition be described and understood, and how does it differ from its strictly economic counterpart? What are the implications of the fact that policy proposals in a democracy must always pass a political test? What are the strengths and weaknesses of electoral competition as a mechanism for the allocation of economic resources? Why are tax structures in democratic polities so complicated, and what implications follow from this for normative views about good policy choice? How can the intensity of political competition be measured, why and how does it vary in mature democracies, and what are the consequences? This Element considers how answers to these questions can be approached, while also illustrating some of the interesting theoretical and empirical work that has been done on them.
Decentralized finance, including cryptocurrency and other blockchain-based applications, promises participants benefits such as financial freedom, security, privacy, and wealth accumulation. More recently, it has also offered the promise of participation, lowering financial barriers, and empowerment—especially to women, the poor, and those residing in the Global South. I argue that the rise of decentralized finance as an alternative development platform is explicitly gendered and calls for feminist analysis. I discuss how cryptocurrency-based approaches to development rest on foundations that are gendered, interacting with hierarchies of race/ethnicity and class. I also explore how they are part of a lineage of neoliberalism, leveraging neoliberal beliefs about entrepreneurialism, financial inclusion, and gender roles. The discussion further introduces the concept of neolibertarianism as an extension of neoliberal logics that advocates for bypassing states entirely in favor of private actors. The current analysis compares this new model of decentralized finance to similarly problematic development trends and assesses how it has—as of yet—failed to deliver on the promises of participation, lowering financial barriers, and empowerment. This analysis concludes with a call to action for feminist and critical scholars, encouraging further work on the topic.
A core region is the first place for expected shifts in archaeological materials before, during, and after political changes like state emergence and imperial consolidation. Yet, studies of ceramic production have shown that there are sometimes limited or more subtle changes in the ceramic economy throughout such political fluctuations. This article synthesizes recent efforts to address political economic changes via geochemical characterization (neutron activation analysis; NAA) in the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin in western Mexico. This region was home to the Purépecha state and then empire (Tarascan; ca. AD 1350–1530), one of the most powerful kingdoms in the Americas before European arrival. The combined ceramic dataset from four sites in the region result in eight geochemical groups. Our analysis indicates that the region experienced long-term and relatively stable ceramic production that was not substantially altered by the emergence of the state and empire. In addition, we find evidence for (1) dispersed, localized production; (2) long-lived compositional ceramic recipes; and (3) a complex ceramic economy with differential community participation. We discuss why documenting local ceramic production and craft production more generally is important for the study of past political economies.
Trade before Civilization explores the role that long-distance exchange played in the establishment and/or maintenance of social complexity, and its role in the transformation of societies from egalitarian to non-egalitarian. Bringing together research by an international and methodologically diverse team of scholars, it analyses the relationship between long-distance trade and the rise of inequality. The volume illustrates how elites used exotic prestige goods to enhance and maintain their elevated social positions in society. Global in scope, it offers case studies of early societies and sites in Europe, Asia, Oceania, North America, and Mesoamerica. Deploying a range of inter-disciplinary and cutting-edge theoretical approaches from a cross-cultural framework, the volume offers new insights and enhances our understanding of socio-political evolution. It will appeal to archaeologists, cultural anthropologists, conflict theorists, and ethnohistorians, as well as economists seeking to understand the nexus between imported luxury items and cultural evolution.
Margaret Conrad's history of Canada explains what makes up this diverse, complex, and often contested nation-state. Beginning in Canada's deep past with the arrival of its Indigenous peoples, she traces its history through the conquest by Europeans, the American Revolutionary War, and Confederation in the nineteenth century to its prosperous present. This impressive second edition has expanded by 20 percent, including revised chapters and an insightful analysis of the fraught relationship between Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump. As a social historian, Conrad emphasizes the relationships between Indigenous peoples and settlers, French and English, Catholic and Protestant, men and women, rich and poor. It is this grounded approach that drives the narrative and makes for compelling reading. Despite its successes and its popularity as a destination for immigrants from across the world, Canada remains a cautious and contested country. This thorough yet concise new edition explains why.
This chapter focuses on some of the principal ways in which the family has been viewed, or theorized, in political-economic thought, but focuses in particular on the legacy of Edmund Burke’s conservative defense of that institution against radical challenge on the grounds that inheritance materially underpins moral and cultural continuity. Tracing the the complex evolution of this essentially elitist argument in relation to Malthusianism, as well as through both the discourse of eugenics and literary responses to the emergence of a “mass society,” the chapter also highlights the role of Burkean traditions in affirming an orthodox heteronormativity against sexual liberationist movements, theorists, and writers. Ultimately, though, the conclusion demonstrates that the commodification of queer sexuality has contributed to new forms of sociocultural tension at the heart of our contemporary politics.
The development of a scientific economic discourse and the expansion of the financial system and markets across the nineteenth century and through the British Empire proved to be rich sources of inspiration to novelists and poets. Fictional writers not only explored the themes of stock market crashes, imperial investments, industrial expansion, gambling and risk taking, fraudulent currencies, and bank failures, but also the failure of political economy to account properly for the inadequacies of the economic system and the people who fell victim to those failures. Examining the interplay, interaction, and coconstitution of literary and economic discourses in the nineteenth century, this chapter demonstrates the celebratory and critical ways economic writers, essayists, novelists, and poets represented and responded to political economy’s evolution. Reading the history of economic thought alongside the literary texts of the nineteenth century – this chapter argues – reveals their shared investments in value, representation, and human desires.
Britain in the “long eighteenth century” was the stage for some of the most momentous phases in the emergence of modern capitalism, from the founding of key financial institutions to stock market crashes, rapid urbanization, the beginnings of industrialization, and the expansion of empire. This chapter traces the often-formative role of imaginative writing in conceptualizing monetary and socioeconomic transformation. Prior to the division of disciplines, figures such as Daniel Defoe and Bernard Mandeville moved between modes now differentiated as “literary” and “economic” while, at the end of the period, even exponents of emergent political economy such as Thomas Malthus and Jane Marcet felt called to answer the representations of a poet, and a verse satire helped to shift government economic policy. The chapter examines by turn the place of literature in framing and contesting the new centrality of credit, the defining metaphors that marked the route to a “de-moralized” economic science, and how the focus on landed property and wealth inequality in the work of realist and Gothic novelists relates to heterodox traditions, outside neoclassical economics.
The introduction sets out the chronological and geographical frame as well as the main issues in the study of the ancient Greek economy. It is targeted at a readership with no prior knowledge of the ancient economy and emphasises the importance of understanding economic structures, economic change, and the causes for change. As research on the ancient economy is dependent on theoretical assumptions about the nature and causation of economic change, a special section of the Companion is devoted to the discussion of the most important theoretical approaches to the ancient Greek economy. Other sections treat key themes of the ancient Greek economy, such as taxation, money, markets and labour regimes, as well as network approaches that are currently at the centre of research on ancient economies. A chronologically narrow but geographically wide perspective is taken on the Greek economy, including the Hellenistic economies in Egypt and the Near East but excluding Greek economies in the western Mediterranean and those in the eastern Mediterranean that continued to be dominated by Greek language and culture and therefore still might be termed Greek under the Roman Empire.
Although significant progress has been made in dealing with ancient economies through the establishing of new methodological approaches (like the New Institutional Economics), old-school Political Economy still plays an important role. It endeavours among other things to describe and evaluate the causes which lead to economic growth, thereby including factors which cannot be subsumed under the category of ‘institutions’ (exclusively focused on by the NIE) like demography or climate. Recently, this traditional approach has been intensively adopted to explain and measure the growth of ancient Greek economies between the ninth and fourth centuries, today viewed as an established fact in contrast to the older consensus, which was characterised by scepticism regarding the capability of ancient societies to generate sustainable growth. This chapter presents the most important factors that were (supposedly) conducive to growth and describes and their mutual interplay and interferences. In a further section, some methodological and empirical problems of the way 'ancient growth' is quantified in contemporary research are discussed. In a final section, some thoughts are offered on geo-economic factors, assumed by the author to have had a decisive impact in bringing about 'growth' or concentrations of wealth in some areas and milieus.
This chapter discusses the economic developments occurring within the Ptolemaic empire (323–30 BCE), of which Egypt was the core province. It explores how state formation affected economic development and how Ptolemaic imperialism, demography, and the interaction between Egyptian and Greek social networks were factors of economic change and economic exploitation. After an overview of past and current approaches to the economy of the Ptolemaic empire and of the geography of the empire, it assesses the cost and benefits of military conquests and the management of migrations patterns and new settlements by the Ptolemies, who increased their revenues and reduced the cost of their army through land allotments to cleruchs. The political economy of the Ptolemies relied on a complex tax system, with some documents pointing to a centralized taxation of the provinces, and innovative but also unusual monetary policies, such as closed-currency system based on a lower weight standard than the Attic standard in Egypt, Cyprus, and Syria-Phoenicia. The chapter concludes with examples of the synergistic relationship between empire, warfare, and trade and between the public and private spheres of the economy, and sketches the purchasing power of different economic groups in Egypt.
The 21st century has not been good to the science of economics. Economic crises such as the 2007–2008 mortgage crisis and subsequent recession were neither predicted by economists nor perceived to be the result of economic planning based on neoclassical models. This chapter combines insights from the history of economic anthropology and sociology to develop a theory of economic behavior that returns economic practice to its social and cultural contexts. It is less a critique of the science of economics than a synthesis of economic and social theory that speaks to the changes outlined in the previous chapters and questions of value raised in part two of this book.
Chapter 8 examines the economic and fiscal dimensions of decentralization in the Islamic Republic of Iran. It presents a comprehensive empirical picture of fiscal decentralization and municipal finances under the IRI, which up till now has been a black box to Iran scholars. This chapter provides a look inside by describing the structure of subnational finance in Iran by analyzing a unique dataset I assembled covering the first phase of decentralization (1998–2006) covering almost 90 cities over an eight-year period – the result of the only comprehensive empirical study of municipal finances in Iran to date. This dataset provides a picture of the revenue and expenditure responsibilities of municipalities. The chapter explores the incentive structure of local government actors and the extent to which the political economy of fiscal decentralization in Iran supports or hinders the three projects for local government laid out throughout the book so far. It shows that local government’s lack of financial autonomy – explicitly constrained by tax, administrative, and local government laws – both distorts broad democratic participation and weakens the capacity of local governments to stimulate local economic development. The chapter highlights that the failure of the original decentralization reforms to put local economic development as a core priority has led to a failure in this regard, a major shortcoming of decentralization Iran to date.
Traditional wage labor has experienced a significant decline in industrialized countries over the past few decades. The spread of temporary work, the proliferation of subcontracting arrangements, the use of artificial intelligence (AI), the shipment of manufacturing jobs overseas, and the employment of foreign contract workers are among the key factors driving this decline. The result is a rise of labor insecurity and fragmentation among increasingly diverse forms of flexible labor arrangements. This book examines this important transformation by considering the impact of foreign contract labor on temporary migrant workers in their places of employment and home communities. It assesses work as a source of value in capitalist, reproductive, domestic, and cultural economics, and argues for a new, work-centric field of economics. Rich in examples, it is a sophisticated anthropological appreciation of the many forms that work can take and what these forms mean for the creation of value in people's lives.