“Polycentric Sovereignty: The Medieval Constitution, Governance Quality, and the Wealth of Nations”

It is widely accepted that good institutions caused the massive increase in living standards enjoyed by ordinary people over the past two hundred years. But what caused good institutions? Scholars once pointed to the polycentric governance structures of medieval Europe, but this explanation has been replaced by arguments favoring state capacity. Here we revitalize the … Continue reading “Polycentric Sovereignty: The Medieval Constitution, Governance Quality, and the Wealth of Nations”

Afternoon Tea: “Confucian Constitutionalism in Imperial Vietnam”

The phantasm of “Oriental despotism” dominating our conventional views of East Asian imperial government has been recently challenged by the scholarship of “Confucian constitutionalism.” To contribute to our full discovery of the manifestations of Confucian constitutionalism in diverse Confucian areas, this paper considers the case of imperial Vietnam with a focus on the early Nguyễn … Continue reading Afternoon Tea: “Confucian Constitutionalism in Imperial Vietnam”

Afternoon Tea: “Dividing Power in the First and Second British Empires: Revisiting Durham’s Imperial Constitution”

In his Report on the Affairs of British North America, Lord Durham proposed that “internal” government be placed in the hands of the colonists themselves and that a short list of subjects be reserved for Imperial control. Janet Ajzenstat maintains that Durham did not intend to formally restrict the authority of the new colonial legislature … Continue reading Afternoon Tea: “Dividing Power in the First and Second British Empires: Revisiting Durham’s Imperial Constitution”

Afternoon Tea: “Albert Venn Dicey and the Constitutional Theory of Empire”

In the post-1945 world, constitutionalism has transcended the nation-state, with an array of transnational arrangements now manifesting constitutional characteristics — so says a growing number of scholars. This paper reveals an earlier but largely forgotten discourse of transnational constitutionalism: the constitutional theory of the British Empire in the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Focusing on … Continue reading Afternoon Tea: “Albert Venn Dicey and the Constitutional Theory of Empire”

A short non-political note

I have not been paying attention to the election news cycle. I have dropped out of that system. I am lucky that I was born in the United States. I marvel at the underpinnings of the American constitutional order (an internationalist order). I understand that self-government and elections go hand-in-hand (if only we were all … Continue reading A short non-political note

Forthcoming: Reviving the libertarian interstate federalist tradition

One of my papers was accepted for publication in the libertarian journal The Independent Review. Here’s an excerpt: This essay aims to fill that gap by making four arguments: 1. Prominent classical liberals and libertarians have long recognized the importance of interstate federalism for not only individual liberty but security for liberal polities in the … Continue reading Forthcoming: Reviving the libertarian interstate federalist tradition