Thursday, May 24, 2007

Its good to have tenure

Arnold Kling blogs (emphasis mine)

Economic conferences rarely produce great papers. Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and the Growth Mechanism of the Free-Enterprise Economies, a conference dedicated to the work of William Baumol, is typically pedestrian, with particularly forgettable contributions from Kenneth Arrow and Robert Solow.

Anyway, he quotes Barry Weingast on what constitutions do (to paraphrase: they restrict the power of the government and put in mechanisms to enforce those restrictions. This lowers "the stakes of politics"), on how they do this (to paraphrase, they make all elites sufficiently better off so that they have an incentive to protect the new arrangement), and on how the U.S. constitution almost collapsed

many Federalists sought to expand the powers of the federal government beyond those enumerated...Alexander Hamilton expand national power...the Federalists sought to deal with growing opposition through the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798), allowing them among other things to jail opposition newspaper editors. The situation was sufficiently desperate that both Madison and Jefferson thought the Constitution had failed...

Yet the Constitution did not fail, in part because a sufficient number of Federalist voters agreed with Jefferson that the Federalists' use of powers was illegitimate, switching allegiance and booting out President John Adams in the election of 1800...With Jefferson taking power in 1801, the Jeffersonians (including many former Anti-Federalists who opposed the Constitution) joined the remaining Federalists in supporting the Constitution.

How does one map this to the situation in India in 1947? Which were the relevant elites? What kept them in line?

In particular, why did the Army (so far as we know) never intervene in politics?

No comments: