Thursday, January 18, 2007

Excerpt of the day
There is another reason why political action frequently requires coordination. Many of the goals that political actors pursue have a "humpy" or "winner-take-all" quality to them (politicians seeking reelection, coup plotters, and lobbyists either win or lose; legislation either passes or is rejected). Unlike economic markets, where there is usually room for many firms, finishing second may not count for much in politics. Indeed - the Russian Menshiviks in 1917 come to mind - it can be extremely problematic.

Hee hee. By the way, I really shouldn't be laughing. Some 20 million Russians died in their civil war. A few years later, in the early 1930s, a further 20 odd million became victims of the deliberate famines carried out by Stalin in the Ukraine. A few years later, a further 20 odd million died in World War II. So basically three events within the space of 25 years cost 60 million lives for one nation. Not funny. Anyhow, the passage is from Paul Pierson's Politics in Time: History, Institutions, and Social Analysis.

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