By Guanghua Yu
This note argues that the logic underlying the open access order is not the only way of economic and human development in the contemporary non-Western world.
Douglass C. North, John Joseph Wallis, and Barry R. Weingast divide countries or regions into natural states and open access orders. Natural states solve the problem of violence by limiting to elite coalition groups any access to political organisations and activities and to economic organisations and activities. In this way, natural states maintain stability and make wide social interaction possible. As natural states have to implement greater rents or privileges to please the dominant coalition, it is less likely for these countries or regions to have a vibrant and dynamic economy, compared with countries or regions with open access orders.
The open access order advocated by North and his colleagues requires that a country have open access to political organisations and activities, and, open access to economic organisations and activities. An open access in the political sphere makes it difficult for the government, or any faction, to manipulate the open access order in the economy. Similarly, open access to economic organisations and activities requires political organisations to consider the broad interest of society in order to gain political power to run a government.
About the Author
Guanghua Yu is a professor of Law, teaching at the Faculty of Law in the University of Hong Kong. His specialised areas of teaching and research include Corporate Law, Contract Law, Constitutional Law, and Development. He graduated from the School of Law of York University and the University of Toronto.