Saturday, November 17, 2012

Information, organization, and freedom

My article “Information, organization, and freedom: Explaining the great reversal”, co-authored by colleague and friend Xavier de Vanssay (Glendon College, York university, Canada) has been published in the new issue of The Review of Austrian Economics (Volume 25, Issue 4(2012), Page 329-350) here.

We suggest, in a Coase-Demsetz perspective, that the social demand for individual rights – or freedoms (whether civil, political or economic) – is derived from, because complementary to, the changing size of hierarchical organizations. The general downsizing and decentralization process observed worldwide after 1975 is itself the result of the information revolution and the resulting abundance of information. It follows that social demand for freedoms depends in turn – and inversely – on the cost of information (and thus market imperfection) as well as on traditional determinants such as the distribution of resources and human capital. This implies that freedoms are adopted, implemented, or “produced” by various political regimes according to an objectively observable and contingent determinant. We believe this approach can shed light on the reason for the waxing and waning of freedoms in modern history.

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