Cover image for The Constitution of Good Societies Edited by Karol Soltan and Stephen L. Elkin

The Constitution of Good Societies

Edited by Karol Soltan, and Edited by Stephen L. Elkin

BUY

$35.95 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-02555-1

228 pages
6" × 9"
1996

Committee on the Political Economy of the Good Society

The Constitution of Good Societies

Edited by Karol Soltan, and Edited by Stephen L. Elkin

“The book’s essays. . . . constitute a serious inquiry into the foundations of political reconstruction. In the spirit of James Madison, they are written for the serious citizen with the expectation that this may include both political scientists and policymakers.”

 

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  • Table of Contents
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The purpose of this volume is to help develop, through a variety of exploratory essays, the art and science of institutional design. The authors look at a variety of good societies as artifacts, as products—at least partly—of design, and consider how such societies can be crafted. They identify themselves with the New Constitutionalism movement, which aims to develop and promote the knowledge necessary for institutional reform and institutional creation through understanding the designer's, creator's, founder's, or reformer's perspective.

The first part of the volume considers some of the boundaries of what is humanly possible in politico-economic designs and the role in them of deliberation and the processes of adapting to limits. The second part considers different ways of exercising constitutionalist judgment analyzing a variety of cases, including general visions of the good society. Looking at whole societies, and at complexes of institutions, complements and informs the picture of the institutional microscale. Understanding the microscale, on the other hand, often makes the difference between empty slogans and realistic political proposals.

Contributors are Karol Edward Soltan, Elinor Ostrorn, Viktor J. Vanberg, James lvi. Buchanan, John S. Dryzek, Charles 'X". Anderson, Stephen U. Elkin, Car Alperovirz, and Philip Green.

“The book’s essays. . . . constitute a serious inquiry into the foundations of political reconstruction. In the spirit of James Madison, they are written for the serious citizen with the expectation that this may include both political scientists and policymakers.”

Karol Edward Soltan is Associate Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland at College Park. He is the author of The Causal Theory of Justice (1987).

Stephen L. Elkin is Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland at College Park. He is the author of City and Regime in the American Republic (1987).

Together they co-edited The New Constitutionalism (1993).

Contents

Introduction: Imagination, Political Competence, and Institutions / Karol Edward Soltan

Part I Human Capabilities and Institutional Design

1. Covenants, Collective Action, and Common-Pool Resources / Elinor Ostrom

2. Constitutional Choice, Rational Ignorance, and the Limits of

3. Reason / Viktor J. Vanberg and James M. Buchanan

4. From Irrationality to Autonomy: Two Sciences of Institutional Design / John S. Dryzek

5. Institution Building and Human Nature / Karol Edward Soltan

Part II Conceptions of the Good Society

6. How to Make a Good Society / Charles W. Anderson

7. The Constitution of a Good Society: The Case of the Commercial Republic / Stephen L. Elkin

8. Speculative Theory and Regime Alternatives: Beyond Socialism and Capitalism / Gar Alperovitz

9. The Political Institutions of the Good Society / Philip Green

Conclusion: Judging the Good Society / Stephen L. Elkin

Index

Contributors

Also of Interest

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