Tag Archives: elites
The Limited Access Order (LAO) conceptual framework is an excellent way to understand why developing countries work the way they do, analyze their political and economic dynamics, and formulate policy ideas appropriate to their context. Its focus on power, violence, rents, and elite bargains provides far greater explanatory and predictive power than the standard template that uses developed countries as a model for how countries ought to work. As such, everyone in the development field working in a policymaking role should make use of it.
No one, including the state, has a monopoly on violence . . . An LAO reduces violence by forming a dominant coalition containing all individuals and groups with sufficient access to violence . . . The dominant coalition creates cooperation and order by limiting access to valuable resources – land, labor, and capital – or access [to] and control of valuable activities – such as contract enforcement, property right enforcement, trade, worship, and education – to elite groups . . . The creation and distribution of rents therefore secures elite loyalty to the system, which in turn protects rents, limits violence, and prevents disorder most of the time. (more…)
Greece is not a fragile state, but its governance problems share many of the same characteristics. The state’s struggles to enact reforms are an important case study in how politics, corruption, and elite self-interest can triumph over good ideas:
In exchange for the bailout money that Greece needs by March to avoid what could be a catastrophic default, the country’s foreign lenders have demanded radical changes to make the state more efficient and bring in more tax revenue. But . . . good intentions and directives can easily be evaded or sabotaged by the political class, if its members have not signed on. (more…)