Possible Readings for

K. Governance

Government Systems

“The State: Its Rise and Decline,” excerpt from a talk by Martin van Creveld at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, October 16, 2000, 23 p.

What made the system of government that emerged in Europe after the end of the Thirty Years War different was the fact that it was a corporation — the government, made up of laws, rules, and regulations, was separate from its ruler. Now five trends are leading to the decline of the state. Long, good, possibly folks can read just parts

US Government System

“The Untold Story of America’s Democracy,” by Jack Weatherford, Yes! Magazine, Spring 2002.

Native Americans provided a model for the U.S. federal government.


An interview with Jane Mansbridge on Game Theory and Government, Kennedy School of Government, February 9, 2006, 10 p.

The logic of markets is that self-interest can satisfactorily regulate the economy. The problem is, that applies to goods that you can buy and own individually. It doesn’t apply to these larger goods, these free-rider goods where, once you bring them into effect, anybody can use them whether or not they’ve contributed. For those goods you need a combination of legitimacy, virtue, and governmental coercion. (I think discussion of the commons makes these points more accessibly)

Tax Cuts

“The Tax-Cut Con,” by Paul Krugman, NY Times Magazine, September 14, 2003, 29 p.

One-sentence description.


“Democracy as a Universal Value,” by Amartya Sen, Journal of Democracy, Volume 10, Number 3, 1999, pages 3-17, 26 p.

In the 20th century, democracy has emerged as the preeminently acceptable form of governance. Its appeal is universal and its value includes its intrinsic importance in human life, its instrumental role in generating political incentives, and its constructive function in the formation of values.

“In Defense of Democratic Government: Part I: The Best Distribution of Power,” by Steve Kangas, 11 p.

Discusses various forms of wielding power in a society.

“Deliberation Day,” by Carolyn McConnell, Yes! Magazine, Winter 2003, 3 p.

Proposal: One week before voting day, voters would be called together in neighborhood meetings to discuss the central issues of the campaigns. After discussion, it is likely those polled will be much better informed and their opinions will have changed.


“Tyranny of Structurelessness,” by Jo Freeman, 1971, 26 p.

A lesson from the women’s movement: groups that decide to avoid any structure can end up with implicit power structures, which can be even harder to shift than if they were explicit.

“Anarchism: Past and Present,” a lecture to the Critical Theory Seminar of the University of California at Los Angeles by Murray Bookchin, May 29, 1980, 21 p.

Anarchism not only encompasses a wide variety of theories and movements but more importantly it has a very rich historical genesis and development. Long, theoretical, historical, thought-provoking, including critiques of Marxism — about economics and hierarchical relationships more than governance.


“The Shaping of the American Polity” excerpts from Who Rules America Now? by G. William Domhoff, Touchstone Books, 1983, 27 p.

One-sentence description. This is more a governance piece than an economics one. — Then maybe it goes in Reading Set Collection K? --Randy