Philippine Standard time

Douglass North, Killing Us Softly with His Song

Philippines. “Throughout history, human societies have been organized to solve the problem of violence. Surprisingly, there have only been three forms of social orders: the primitive one of the hunters-gatherers, the limited access order (LAO) of almost all states over the last 10 millennia, and the open access order (OAO) of the two dozen or so states that, by a fortuitous series of events, were able to transition out of the LAO. There are three types of LAOs. The fragile LAO can hardly keep itself together in the face of internal and/or external strife. Examples are Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia. The basic LAO has the state as the only durable organization in the society, so that all elite organizations are, in effect, extensions of the state. Burma, Cuba, North Korea, and many Arab states belong to this category. The mature LAO supports an array of nongovernmental organizations, but these have to be sanctioned by the state to limit entry and to ensure that rents are consistent with the preservation of the dominant coalition. Most Latin American countries, India, and the Philippines, are mature LAOs…The last social order, the OAO, is characterized by open access and entry (by citizens) to political and economic organizations, fostering competition for rents both in politics and in the economy.” The framework according to Dr. Alba helps us to understand why it is difficult for the Philippines to move to OAO stage from its current mature LAO status. It points to the role played by institutions in opening access to the economic and political activities for ordinary citizens and the development that is the product of the broadening of such access.


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Jul 03, 2013

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