Winner of the Harold Lasswell Award of the American Political Science Association The FSFIC failed spectacularly during the 1980s, costing taxpayers an estimated $200 billion. In this award-winning analysis, Rom examines the political causes of this “thrift tragedy.” He directly confronts-and rejects-the dominant scholarly “public choice” view that public officials were motivated mainly be self-interest. Instead, Rom argues that politicians and bureaucrats generally acted in the “public spirit” by attempting to obtain the common interest as they saw it. Using new evidence and innovative methods, Rom demonstrates that FSLIC's failure unfolded because of commitments that officials had made in the past and their uncertainties about how to fulfill these obligations in the future.
Edmund Burke and the Role of the Critic in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain
Author: Ian Crowe
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Patriotism and Public Spirit is an innovative study of the formative influences shaping the early writings of the Irish-English statesman Edmund Burke and an early case-study of the relationship between the business of bookselling and the politics of criticism and persuasion. Through a radical reassessment of the impact of Burke's "Irishness" and of his relationship with the London-based publisher Robert Dodsley, the book argues that Burke saw Patriotism as the best way to combine public spirit with the reinforcement of civil order and to combat the use of coded partisan thinking to achieve the dominance of one section of the population over another. No other study has drawn so extensively on the literary and commercial network through which Burke's first writings were published to help explain them. By linking contemporary reinterpretations of the work of Patriot sympathizers and writers such as Alexander Pope and Lord Bolingbroke with generally neglected trends in religious and literary criticism in the Republic of Letters, this book provides new ways of understanding Burke's early publications. The results call into question fundamental assumptions about the course of "Enlightenment" thought and challenge currently dominant post-colonialist and Irish nationalist interpretations of the early Burke.
In a work of unusual ambition and rigorous comparison, Roberto Romani considers the concept of 'national character' in the intellectual histories of Britain and France. Perceptions of collective mentalities influenced a variety of political and economic debates, ranging from anti-absolutist polemic in eighteenth-century France to appraisals of socialism in Edwardian Britain. Romani argues that the eighteenth-century notion of 'national character', with its stress on climate and government, evolved into a concern with the virtues of 'public spirit' irrespective of national traits, in parallel with the establishment of representative institutions on the Continent. His discussion of contemporary thinkers includes Montesquieu, Voltaire, Hume, Millar, Burke, Constant, de Staël and Tocqueville. After the mid-nineteenth century, the advent of social scientific approaches, including those of Spencer, Hobson and Durkheim, shifted the focus from the qualities required by political liberty to those needed to operate complex social systems, and to bear its psychological pressures.