Lecture: Escape from the Violence Trap: A New View of Adam Smith and The Political Economics of Development

 
Escape from the Violence Trap: A New View of Adam Smith and The Political Economics of Development
Kane 210 – Friday, Feb 7, 2014 – 6:30 PM (University of Washington, Seattle)
More than two centuries ago, Adam Smith asked, what accounts for the differing levels of the “wealth of nations”? Why do so many countries fail to achieve high levels of wealth or, in Smith’s terms, “opulence”? With the seeming intransigence of high levels of poverty throughout the world, this question is as relevant today as in Smith’s time, as Barry Weingast (Political Science, Stanford University) shows, so too is Smith’s approach. He argues that Adam Smith’s explanation for the economic development of Europe involved a simultaneous, three-part revolution: the creation of liberty and justice; commerce and markets; and security. Achieving high levels of opulence required all three pieces, not just markets alone. Weingast traces Smith’s approach, revealing his explanation for why feudalism was a stable equilibrium of the violence trap, unable to produce opulence; how Europe escaped the violence trap and came to be rich. Weingast is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has won numerous awards, including the James L. Barr Memorial Prize in Public Economics, the William H. Riker Prize in recognition of scholarly achievement in political science, and a number of best article and paper awards. Reception to follow: Walker Ames Room (Kane 225). This talk is part of the Earl & Edna Stice Memorial Lectureship in Social Science.
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3 Responses to Lecture: Escape from the Violence Trap: A New View of Adam Smith and The Political Economics of Development

  1. Frederick says:

    How European and American development really occurred 101.
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~spanmod/mural/panel21.html
    Which is to say that all of the usual tedious explanations that refer to what Adam Smith said etc are cow-manure.

  2. Keith Harris says:

    thanks for the link, frederick; those are great. for what it’s worth, i’m not endorsing the perspective of the advertised talk, just sharing one of the few interesting presentations to come through this “seaside shanytown” (dobrowolsky n.d.).

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