A Campaign Issue that Matters | Romney on Why Nations Rise

Thankfully the fallout of Romney’s big overseas adventure has reached stage two.

So sure, Romney has been pilloried by political reporters and left-wing columnists and foreign policy writers and former U.S. diplomats and snooty British publications for a bad trip… but they’ve mostly been focusing on the “gaffes.”

via Mitt Romney is living every social scientist’s nightmare | Daniel W. Drezner.

Its nice to be talking about an issue that actually matters, even though Dan Drezner at FP calls this Romney’s “Annie Hall/Marshall McLuhan Moment” as Jared Diamond, Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, Fareed Zakaria, and Charles Kenny weigh in on the problems with the development argument.

As Acemoglu and Robinson, authors of Why Nations Fail, point out in another FP article that a lot more than culture accounts for prosperity.  Such as?  Institutions.

That’ won’t help Romney in the short run, but sometimes you lose an argument.  But  what is the lesson for budding IR students everywhere?  Professor Drezner (again):

Still, three out of four social scientists have flunked Romney’s comparative political economy comp. Will this make a whit of difference in the campaign? That depends entirely on whether you believe that voters still respond to cues from elites… so for me the answer is “probably not.” This entire episode is nevertheless an instructive parable for graduate students studying for comps everywhere:

1) Define your terms clearly;

2) Make sure you’ve done your reading and not staffed it out relied on book reviews or summaries of the Big Arguments — cause those summaries can be way off base;

3) Don’t double down when you make a bad argument.


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