This book is wildly seen a very important and innovative work in the field of comparative politics. According to the title of this book, the authors try to develop a general theoretical framework to explain the logic and change of social order of the whole human history. However, the job is not done very well. Several critiques and unclear questions come up during my reading.
(1) How useful is this simplified categorization of social order to explain the development outcomes. After all, many of the developmental States in today's world are "natural states" (according to the definition of North et al.).
(2) How do North et al. actually weight the role of elites and polity itself. According to my reading, the elites play important roles only in the formation of the natural state. However, after the social order transforms to "open access order", the elites and polity becomes much less important, for the society is organized by impersonal norms. Therefore, their argument seems to echo the traditional institutionalism approach: to development, get the political constrains (in most cases the "states") out of the way.
(3) How on earth can the transformation from "limited access order" to "open access order" happen? Regarding this issue, their argument is very weak.
(4) Evolutionism and European centric after all? Where is the culture elements? Is impersonal-norm-regulated society the only approach to development?
The list of the question grows bigger when readers read the book for more times, and think more deeply. BUT, this book is influential at least, isn't it? Ah, liberalism!
©本文版权归 jediyu 所有, 任何形式转载请联系作者。