Sunday, September 17, 2006

Examples from Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel

Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel" chapter on "Kleptocracy" is a good intro to history of non-western political economy and the Maori invasion of Chatham Island is a memorable example of the collision of whole socio-political systems. This book was useful teaching 100 sophomore non-native English speakers in a Thai university economic history since there is a translation in Thai that can be read in parallel.

This newly coined word "Kleptocracy" seems to have been the inspiration behind Acemoglu paper: Kleptocracy and Divide-and-Rule: A Model of Personal Rule (The Alfred Marshall Lecture) Daron Acemoglu, James A. Robinson and Thierry Verdier April 2004, Journal of the European Economic Association Papers and Proceedings, v.2, 162-192

Brad DeLong's blog today showed how a fantastically inclusive course that includes everything an informed undergraduate should understand can be transformed by the brutish bigotry of conservative journalism. Self-reinforcing idiocy at the Weekly Standard cited the names of courses without the content of the courses to make them sound ridiculous. To anyone with some knowledge who probes a little, the conservative journalists are the ones who end up sounding completely ridiculous. William Kristol, editor and founder of the Weekly Standard, teaches a course on intellectual history at Harvard and he allows this sort of ridiculous article as editor? What a charade! Someone should call him to task on it.