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Thus, in pre-modern Japan, people knew how to gather together, communicate with one another, organize public events, and maintain weak ties. Ikegami maintains that these cultural networks and activities subtly but successfully undermined the feudal status system and paved the way for modern forms of civic relationships. The power of frivolity in a society of strict hierarchy and control lies in its seeming irrelevance combined with the subversive nature of pleasure. The popularity of sake drinking contests reminds us of the importance of irrelevance and the power of play in creating social bonds. As shogunate control became stronger and explicitly political associations were abolished, flourishing cultural networks took on increased importance. A pictorial scroll by a famous Edo period painter, Sakai Hoitsu, depicts an early 19th-century sake drinking contest (see the figure) held in Senju, a suburb of Edo. With the offer of free sake to all participants, people of any social status were invited to show off their ability to hold liquor and compete for a top spot in the rankings that were printed and widely distributed afterward. A prominent sign hung over the event read No Admission for Bad Guests Teetotalers and Logical Minds. This playful event was graced with the presence of famous writers, poets, and painters who served as judges of the competition, and whose own artistic works vividly depicted its state of anarchy. Free association in cultural activities of various kinds, including foolishness, constitutes an important alternative to characterizations of emerging civil society in Western societies and suggests the importance of sense and sensibility as well as logic and rationality in social life. Prior to modernization, Japan had established forms for interaction across social classes and formal categories of identity that emphasized shared appreciation for arts and collective experience of moments of beauty, joy, humor, and pleasure. Social networks based on these activities later served as important models for creating communities of shared heritage, orientations, and meaningswhat Benedict Anderson has termed imagined communities (4)that constituted an emerging national culture. Ikegamis history reminds us that strangers emerge in a historical context and that frequency, density, and complexity of contact change over time. Haiku and sake may seem unlikely objects around which to build networks that come to resemble an educational program for developing civility in public space, but the authors elegant con5. Now widely used, the framework of the west and the ceptualization of a wide field of arts, conrest was developed by the political scientist Samuel P. tests, hobbies, and pleasures as sites of Huntington in The Clash of Civilizations and the social interaction between otherwise unreRemaking of World Order (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1996). In that work, he labels Japan a lone country. lated individuals is persuasive. As a network theorist, Ikegami is better at 10.1126/science.1130749 analyzing relationships between those within networks than at accounting for those who are left out. Her book is likely to pro- POLITICAL SCIENCE voke contests of its own within sociology. Networks, she precariously claims, matter more than the revered hard categories of class, status, and gender. It is, however, her more modest claim that in real life, the boundaries of hard social categories are Romain Wacziarg often not as unyielding as we expect that resonates with research on overlapping idenconomic Origins of Dictatorship tities and the problem with locating clear and Democracy is the latest salvo in lines of demarcation. a methodological debate that promOne of the excesses of our characteriza- ises to change the face of political science. tion of civil society is the dominance of In this superb volume, Daron Acemoglu rational debate and interest-based activi- and James A. Robinson seek to answer ageties. Ikegami takes exception to this em- old questions in political economy: What phasis, suggesting that a wider range of factors, particularly economic factors, exactivities in public space matter to political plain why some countries pass from dictalife. If political culture and the analysis of torship to democracy? What determines power can incorporate shared practices, whether such transitions will be consoliaesthetics, sensuality, tacit forms of com- dated or whether a country will revert to munication, and embodied forms of knowl- rule by a small elite? Their answers, and the edge, we might begin to understand why manner in which these were obtained, are people are moved to act and not just how refreshingly new. they decide to do so. The books main argument is subtle and Unable to rest comfortably with either the complex, so a short summary cannot do it West or the rest in our new world justice. Let me attempt Economic Origins of order, Japan makes us dimly aware one nonetheless. Suppose Dictatorship and that something is amiss in the that a country is initially Democracy dichotomous topography of our ruled by a wealthy elite times (5). Ikegami is right in noting that faces demands from by Daron Acemoglu and that we may need a new form the majority for policies James A. Robinson of global civility to deal with that benefit the latter. The Cambridge University our own network revolution. Travelelite can respond in three Press, New York, 2006. ing outside ones own national culbasic ways: They can 431 pp. $35, 25. ISBN 0ture is often said to improve selfrepress the revolutionary 521-85526-8. knowledge. Reading Ikegami is tendencies of the majority like taking a trip through time, across social through violence and coercion. They can classes, and beyond the boundaries of nations. implement policies beneficial to the majorOne returns convinced that art and politics, ity, for instance by enacting monetary transaesthetics and economics, the rational and fers from the elite to the populace. Lastly, the sensual are so deeply interwoven that we they can transfer political power to the should reconsider not only our notions of masses by expanding the franchise, so that pre-modern Japan but also our notions of the majority can itself determine public polcontemporary social lifein Japan and in icy. Which outcome will result from the the rest as well. struggle played out through time between the elite and the masses? References and Notes The authors being trained as economists 1. C. Gluck, in Mirror of Modernity: Invented Traditions of (1), their answer (not surprisingly) involves Modern Japan, S. Vlastos, Ed. (Univ. California Press, consideration of the relative costs and beneBerkeley, 1998), pp. 262284. 2. A. Barshay, in Mirror of Modernity: Invented Traditions of fits of each of the three possible outcomes.

Determinants of Democratization

Modern Japan, S. Vlastos, Ed. (Univ. California Press, Berkeley, 1998), pp. 243261. 3. M. S. Granovetter, Am. J. Sociol. 78, 1360 (1973). 4. B. Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (Verso, London, 1983).

The reviewer is at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, 518 Memorial Way, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. E-mail: wacziarg@stanford.edu

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ing the reader hungry for empirical evidence. A critical reader might also take issue with a basic premise of the authors model: Acemoglu and Robinson assume that democratic institutions deliver policies beneficial to the masses. However, as the authors recognize, populist dictators have also been known to deliver policies beneficial to the majority, and in democracies the will of the majority can be subverted (through, e.g., corruption or vote buying) to the benefit of the elite. In fact, perhaps surprisingly, there is scant empirical evidence that greater income inequality leads to more redistribution in democratic systems. This is illustrated by the recent example of the United States, but holds more broadly across countries. A rigorous empirical evaluation of the link between democracy and redistribution therefore seems essential to evaluate the theorys relevance for real-world phenomena. Yet providing testable theories is not the books only contribution to scientific knowledge. Another, perhaps more important, contribution is the manner in which its central questions are approached. Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy contributes to social science by addressing issues traditionally studied by political scientists with the rigorous tools of economic analysis. Acemoglu and Robinson use formal game theoretic models, proceeding from assumptions to empirically falsifiable predictions, in keeping with the Popperian tradition. Such an approach is relatively new to political science, in spite of that disciplines name. This is particularly true for the subdiscipline of comparative politics, which still largely relies on rhetoric and anecdotesrather than mathematically rigorous proofs and large-sample statistical evidenceto explain social phenomena. The authors work is an admirable illustration of a growing trend toward formal reasoning and the derivation of empirically testable propositions from internally consistent, stylized models. This is a trend that revolutionized economics starting in the middle of the last century. It is now sweeping political science, and the experience of economics suggests it is the way of the future. As it takes hold, the social sciences are bound toward greater and greater consilience.
References and Notes
1. Acemoglu is a professor of applied economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Robinson, a professor of government at Harvard University. 2. K. Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (Berlin, 1859), preface. 3. D. C. North, B. R. Weingast, J. Econ. Hist. 49, 803 (1989). 10.1126/science.1131936

Le 28 Juillet. La Libert guidant le peuple. Eugne Delacroixs painting (1831 Salon) celebrates the unsuccessful 28 July 1830 attempt by the people of Paris to reestablish the Republic.

If repression is costly in terms of social upheaval and disruption of production, concessions will tend to be the elites preferred option. But why not always concede to the demands of the masses by simply enacting policies that benefit them rather than by transferring political power to the majority (that is, democratizing)? The answer is that when the elite concedes on policies but not on political institutions, there is no guarantee that the policy favored by the masses wont be overturned at a later date, when pressures for social change have eased. Only by transferring de jure political power, which is much harder to reverse, can the elite demonstrate a credible commitment to a regime that delivers policies favored by the masses. In some ways, this basic model is a formalization of Marxs dialectical materialism: Institutional change results from distributional struggles between two distinct social groups, a rich ruling class and a poor majority, each of whose interests are shaped primarily by economic forces (2). It goes beyond this by drawing on more recent ideas of Douglass North and Barry Weingast, who argued that institutional reform can be a way for the elite to credibly commit to future policies by delegating their enactment to interests that will not wish to reverse them (3). The books substantive contribution is to

bring these intellectual traditions together under a consistent theoretical framework, delivering rich empirical predictions on the factors leading to democratization and institutional stability. These factors are the economic, social, and institutional determinants of the costs and benefits of repressing versus conceding, such as the size of the middle class, the structure of production, economic inequality, the prevalence of economic shocks and crises, and the degree of globalization. Each is found to have sometimes complex, but always empirically testable, relationships with the political regime. The next step in this research agenda is to carry out an empirical evaluation of the many hypotheses formulated by Acemoglu and Robinson. Since the early 1980s, numerous developing countries have undergone a wave of democratization, and some of them have subsequently reversed course. These changes provide fertile ground for evaluating the books claims. Is it true, for instance, that high degrees of income inequality are not conducive to democratization? Are agricultural and resource-based countries really less likely to sustain democratization? What is the impact of globalization on the likelihood and persistence of political reforms? The book addresses such questions primarily from a theoretical perspective, leavSCIENCE VOL 313

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