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Robber Barons and Stationary Bandits | Bird's Eye

Join Harry and Philip as they explore how aspects of "stationary bandit" authoritarianism persist in America!

Join Harry and Philip as they apply the theoretical and historical lessons from our past two episodes on the "stationary bandit" to the United States!

Are there latent authoritarian characteristics in the political and economic institutions of the US? To what extent have we eliminated them, and to what extent to authoritarian legacies persist? How can democracy help rebalance social forces in favor of citizens over elites?

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Further Reading:

  • "Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development," by Mancur Olson, in The American Political Science Review.
  • Why Nations Fail, by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson.
  • The Narrow Corridor, by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson.

Table of Contents:

00:00 - Intro & Housekeeping
00:32 - Today's topic and questions
05:50 - Starting at the Founding
08:42 - Dangers of federalism
14:14 - Robber barons, the Gilded Age
15:41 - Political leadership
19:15 - Active failures of power-checking
26:00 - Creeping totalitarianism
30:57 - Conclusion
32:44 - Signing Off

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The Bandit in Portugal? - Bird’s Eye
Join the editors as they continue their analysis of dictatorship! This week, we turn to midcentury Portugal to look at the autocratic Salazar.
Don't forget about last week's episode. It helps set the stage, and it is one of the best so far!


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