Russ Roberts talks with Hoover Institution and NYU political scientist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita about his theory of political power—how dictators and democratically elected leaders respond to the political forces that keep them in office. This lengthy and intense conversation covers a wide range of topics including the evil political genius of Lenin, the dark side of US foreign aid, the sinister machinations of King Leopold of Belgium, the natural resource curse, the British monarchy in the 11th century, term limits and the inevitable failure of the standard methods of fighting world poverty.
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Bruce Bueno de Mesquita of NYU and Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks about the incentives facing dictators and democratic leaders. Both have to face competition from rivals. Both try to please their constituents and cronies to stay in power. He applies his insights to foreign aid, the Middle East, Venezuela, the potential for China’s evolution to a more democratic system, and Cuba. Along the way, he explains why true democracy is more than just elections—it depends crucially on freedom of assembly and freedom of the press.
Speaker: Professor Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Professor of Politics at NYU and Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. Chair: Professor Richard Steinberg