Working with the Grain: Fostering Democratic Development at the Edge of Chaos
Encina Hall, Second Floor, Central, C231
616 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305
“Best practices” prescriptions for democratic reform confuse the end point with the journey of getting from here to there, so are not useful in responding to the governance ambiguities of the early 21st century. In this seminar, Brian Levy will introduce an alternative approach laid out in his new book, Working with the Grain: Integrating Governance and Growth in Development Strategies (New York: OUP, 2014).
In many nascent democracies, power is fragmented, the rule of law and public bureaucracies are weak; political stability is sustained through personalized deals. The way forward in such settings is to set aside ‘best practices’, and engage with things as they actually are seeking out ‘with the grain’ opportunities for initiating a virtuous spiral of forward economic momentum and incremental, cumulative improvements in institutions. As the seminar will explore, the implications for action of this altered perspective are profound -- on the economic front, on the institutional front and vis-à-vis how commitment to a democratic approach to development can be sustained over the long-haul.