Violence and the Rise of Open-Access Orders

Douglass C. North, John Joseph Wallis, and Barry R. Weingast , Journal of Democracy 20(1) , 55-68 , January 2009.

The problem of controlling the use of force and those who are best at wielding it is foundational to human collective life. For most of history, a social order that was relatively "closed" has seemed the most natural way to manage this problem. But over the past century or two, a transition from closed- to open-access orders has led to the emergence of societies with widespread political participation, the use of elections to select governments, constitutional arrangements to limit and define the powers of government, and unbiased application of the rule of law.

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