10.26.2007

the logic of political survival



If you're looking for a next book to read, pick up Bruce Bueno de Mesquita's (et. al.) "The Logic of Political Survival" (MIT Press).

(This might be of particular interest to you, Koikaze)



Bueno de Mesquita's thoughts on the "selectorate" and the "winning coalition" could pretty well explain the Arroyo-Estrada love dance and even explain the conduct of our national politics. (It also echoes MLQ's own thoughts in the early paragraphs of this post) .

Bueno de Mesquita and his colleagues apply game theory to political analysis and actually use mathematical models to predict political outcomes.

His track record has been impressive:

A sample of Bruce Bueno de Mesquita’s wilder—and most accurate—predictions:
  • Forecasted the second Intifada and the death of the Mideast peace process, two years before it happened.
  • Defied Russia specialists by predicting who would succeed Brezhnev. “The model identified Andropov, who nobody at the time even considered a possibility,” he says.
  • Predicted that Daniel Ortega and the Sandanistas would be voted out of office in Nicaragua, two years before it happened.
  • Four months before Tiananmen Square, said China’s hardliners would crack down harshly on dissidents.
  • Predicted France’s hair’s-breadth passage of the European Union’s Maastricht Treaty.
  • Predicted the exact implementation of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement between Britain and the IRA.
  • Predicted China’s reclaiming of Hong Kong and the exact manner the handover would take place, 12 years before it happened.

That list is from a great article in GOOD Magazine on Bueno de Mesquita.

You can also download two podcasts from EconTalk featuring the man and his thoughts:
More on Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and his previous work here.

I'm still reading through their work -which is admittedly a very cynical view of politics, but on first blush, the theories do appeal to me as a designer.


Image credit:
Cover art feat. B. Bueno de Mesquita
by Ethan Hill for GOOD Magazine

1 comment:

dave (",) said...

ah, the power of math! i feel bad that i was unable to reach the skill level of a "fortune-teller" (i pursued IT instead). but i know a handful of batchmates on their way to become actuaries.

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