Nested Games

Become a Patron! The Nested Games of Brexit It's typical to talk about a political calculus, but less common to think about politics like calculus. A common misconception about politicians is they care about public opinion. This is a half-truth. They do care about what voters think, but they don't care about the totality of... Continue Reading →

Institutional Weakness in Hard Places

Become a Patron! Institutional Weakness I learned about institutional weakness for the first time from a book called The Politics of Institutional Weakness in Latin America. Initially, I thought it was just another name for state capacity. But Mala Htun and Francesca Jensenius point out, "Weak institutions are not just a matter of weak state... Continue Reading →

Introducing Democracy in Hard Places

Become a Patron! Democracy in Hard Places Yesterday I kicked off a series of episodes focused on democracy in hard places. The first episode featured Dan Slater in a discussion about democracy in Indonesia. The conversation loosely focused on a chapter Dan wrote in a forthcoming book called Democracy in Hard Places. It's a fascinating examination of... Continue Reading →

Are the Democrats an Authoritarian Successor Party?

Become a Patron! An Authoritarian Successor Party in America The Democrats represent a big tent coalition of many disadvantaged groups alongside educated elites. However, they have a complicated history. The party arose out of demands for greater popular participation and democratic sentiments. The Democrats gained support through the expansion of voting rights and pushed to... Continue Reading →

Will China Become a Democracy?

Become a Patron! Will China Become a Democracy? Many political thinkers wonder whether China will become a democracy. Some think it is inevitable, while others believe it is impossible. But most simply don't know how. As China continues to modernize, it seems inevitable citizens will demand greater influence in their government. Still, it is unclear... Continue Reading →

The Democratization of Taiwan

Become a Patron! The Democratization of Taiwan Dan Slater and Joseph Wong view Taiwan as the paradigmatic example where an authoritarian party embraced democratization due to its strength rather than its weakness. Other examples in Asia include Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia. It's also possible to identify other examples from around the world. One notable... Continue Reading →

Democratization Through Strength

  Become a Patron! Considering Democratization Through Strength This podcast has explored many counterintuitive theories about democracy and autocracy. Bryn Rosenfeld explained why a state-dependent middle class resists efforts to democratize. James Loxton introduced listeners to the idea of authoritarian successor parties. Michael Miller made an ambitious argument where "democratization is most likely when the resulting... Continue Reading →

Serhii Plokhy’s Atoms to Ashes

Become a Patron!Review of Atoms to Ashes Serhi Plokhy wrote his latest book Atoms to Ashes as a warning against nuclear power. When he wrote the book, many intellectuals had reconsidered nuclear power as a solution to climate change. However, it's likely its momentum will grow as others consider dependence on Russian oil and gas as an... Continue Reading →

Nuclear Energy Leads to Black Swans

Nuclear Energy Leads to Black Swans In early March Russia seized the Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility in Southeastern Ukraine. It is the largest in Europe and among the ten largest in the world. During an early morning battle for control of the facility, a fire  broke out in the plant. It did not cause a radiation... Continue Reading →

The Moderation of Liberalism?

Become a Patron! The sixth and final post on Francis Fukuyama’s recent book Liberalism and its Discontents. The Moderation of Liberalism Francis Fukuyama includes a puzzling line near the beginning of Liberalism and its Discontents. The title suggests an uncompromising defense of liberalism against its critics. However, Fykuyama writes, "The answer to these discontents is... Continue Reading →

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