The Locke Institute series
Edited by Ram Mudambi, Pietro Maria Navarra and Giuseppe Sobbrio
Chapter 1: Perspectives on Global Institutional Change
Ram Mudambi, Pietro Navarra and Giuseppe Sobbrio I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors. (Thomas Jefferson) 1. INTRODUCTION While the circumstances in which humanity finds itself are constantly changing, the great truths stand the test of time. The above quote from Jefferson is as relevant today as it was when it was written over two centuries ago. Jefferson understood the importance of making laws and institutions that are both supportive of a healthy polity and economy as well as being adaptable to change and development. The creation, preservation and transformation of political institutions and their impact on societal interactions is the subject matter of this volume. Individuals are shaped by and act through structures, organizations and institutions. Therefore, both individual choices and social outcomes cannot be explained without some reference to the larger social institutional context in which their actions take place. Economic historians studying the global shift from stagnation to growth during the twentieth century have pointed out that today there are relatively...
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