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Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History
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Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  186 ratings  ·  18 reviews
All societies must deal with the possibility of violence, and they do so in different ways. This book integrates the problem of violence into a larger social science and historical framework, showing how economic and political behavior are closely linked. Most societies, which we call natural states, limit violence by political manipulation of the economy to create privile ...more
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Cambridge University Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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Jim Stogdill
Sep 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Every so often you pick up a book that doesn't just inform you, but reframes your world view. This was one of those books. Whether considering the impact of the tea party, China's authoritarian model of economic development, post war "nation building" in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, or U.S. spectrum auctions (and subsequent monopolies), this book has changed the way I think. I'm sure it will be one of those books that is still influencing how I look at the world ten years from now.
Yifan (Evan) Xu (Hsu)
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
 There is little need to readdress the significance of this book. A minimal introduction will suffice.
  The book is a bold attempt to consolidate fragments of political theories under one roof. It purposes a framework to understand the operation of political, economic and other social systems alltogether. Many well-known academics pondered this as one of the most important books in political science in recent years. On personal level, by reading the book, one, like me, can find assorted inte
Sam Schulman
Jan 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
It's exactly correct about all of human history, without being exactly elegant.
May 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is unlike anything I have ever read. These are things I wanted to write at the moment, not a summary of the book.

This book distinguishes between natural states, with limited access, and what we consider to be modern states with open access. Briefly, humans evolved to form personal relationships with fellow foragers through repeated interactions. Natural states scale up that framework through patron-client relationships. Open access orders transcend it by disregarding identities.
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a book about political economy - a theoretical perspective of how politics and economics fit together to produce highly productive economies with a broad and resiliant democratic basis in some (few) states and not in others. The work of North and his colleagues is rich and multilayered, involving extended arguments about institutional economics, the legal, institutional, and historical bases of different types of polities, and how economics and politics are linked in these polities, even ...more
Vasily Burnin
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
книга пытается дать ответ на вопрос, почему одни страны смогли достигнуть экономического благополучия, а другие - нет. Для ответа на этот вопрос авторы анализируют историю стран Западной Европы - все вместе получается очень интересно
Юрий Рифяк
Aug 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Extremely profound, an eye-opener on the functioning of different types of states. However you have to struggle with the text: sometimes too academic and even dull
Solveig Singleton
This is a very interesting "revisionist" account of how humans societies today form governments that limit destructive violence. The book explores why some nations are so much more stable and prosperous than others. The authors hypothesize that these nations have succeeded at establishing a new type of social order, the "open access" order, in which elite privileges are replaced by more widely accessible rights. The book includes an interesting critique of public choice theory, a branch of econo ...more
Mike Kanner
As with many academic texts, North builds on the work of others. In this case, he leans heavily on Acemoglu's argument that some types of institutions (which he calls open)are better than others. This is not particularly surprising nor would consider it a spoiler. Unfortunately, like many academic texts, the subject could have been dealt with by an article.

The book's strength does lie in its literature review and if you are not familiar with the historical evidence in support of this concept, th
Наталя Федорович
Так і не зрозуміло, а до чого у назві книжки є слово "насильство". Так, у книжці проскакує теза, що еліта у певний момент розуміє, що можна не воюючи, отримати більше рент, аніж провадячи війну. Однак, це явно не те, що очікуєш від книжки. Мої сподівання були на те, що у книзі проаналізовано, чому все-таки насильство існує у суспільних порядках, які причини існування, як змінюється насильство зі зміною політичного ладу. Однак, натомість я прочитала щось на кшталт "Чому нації занепадають?".
Jon Webber
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Academic read, deep, but interesting, two types of states, with sub categories and their political, economic, religious entities and their organizations, institutions and control of violence create a framework toward moving to an open access society.
Дуже дивно читати книгу про відкритий доступ і на третині віднайти побіжне пояснення того, який конкретно відкритий доступ мається на увазі, до яких саме благ чи вроджених прав. Історія традиційно пропонується з країн першого світу, Франція, Англія, Ватикан, одні й ті самі європейські мармизи.
Tobi Lawson
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Very good analytical framework. But their interpretation of history is too simplistic.
Oct 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Interesting analysis on the role of violence in the history of society. North's theory on the importance of kinship relationships in the development of society is engaging, although I find the supposed futility of its basis in future societies questionable. Worth the read though, if just for a better understanding of political and economic engagement since the dawning of the agricultural revolution.
Kw Estes
Jan 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Decent ideas of state development, but nothing entirely novel. Also, a great amount of repetition--how many different ways can you say there is more economic and political freedom in developed states than non-developed?
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Nope. The time of NEI is long over (fingers crossed).
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
A fascinating perspective on the formation of states through the lens of elite competition and compromise.
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Douglass Cecil North (November 5, 1920 – November 23, 2015) was an American economist known for his work in economic history. He was the co-recipient (with Robert William Fogel) of the 1993 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. In the words of the Nobel Committee, North and Fogel "renewed research in economic history by applying economic theory and quantitative methods in order to explain eco ...more

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