Main topic


Neo-Institutionalism and the Success Story of Capitalism: Two Different Approaches to Social Change


The central weakness of every institutionalism is its attempt to elevate the significance of formal and informal institutions as some exterior self-acting mechanisms, productive or unproductive ones, extractive or inclusive ones, above the factors that made them as such. Those other factors are paired and merged with them. They create them and it is not just abstract element of contingency or historical luck that improve or deteriorate some state of affairs, it is human rationality and irrationality, mentalities, habits, languages, destructives, moeurs et manières as Tocqueville would put it. This is the reason why abstract models of social behavior and historical explanation are of limited use in any analysis of social change. In this article we seek to explore this type of theoretical reductivism on the example of two different neo-institutional approaches to a social change.

keywords :


    1. Acemoglu, D. & Robinson, J. (2012)Why Nations Fail – The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty. New York: Crown Publishers.
    2. Acemoglu, D., & Robinson, J. (2012a) “Response to Fukuyama’s Review”. Why Nations Fail [online]. Available at: [Accessed 9 June 2014].
    3. Aly, G. (2007) Hitler’s beneficiaries: Plunder, racial war, and the Nazi welfare state. New York: Metropolitan.
    4. Caplan, B. (2007) The myth of the rational voter: Why democracies choose bad policies. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
    5. Douglass C., N. (1991) “Institutions”.Journal of Economic Perspectives, 5(1): 97-112.
    6. Föster, S. & Sanandaji, N. (2014)Renaissance for Reforms. London: IEA & Timbro.
    7. Fukuyama, F. (2012) Acemoglu and Robinson on Why Nations Fail. The American Interest [online]. Available at: [Accessed 10 June 2014].
    8. Ganev, V. (2005) “The ‘Triumph of Neoliberalism’ Reconsidered: Critical Remarks on Ideas-Centered Analyses of Political and Economic Change in Post-Communism”. East European Politics and Societies, 19(3): 343-378.
    9. Hoppe, H. (2001)Democracy – The God That Failed: The Economics, Politics of Monarchy, Democracy, and Natural Order. Rutgers [NJ]:Transaction.
    10. McCloskey, D. (2007) The bourgeois virtues: Ethics for an age of commerce. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    11. Michels, R. & Paul, E. (1968) Political parties: A sociological study of the oligarchical tendencies of modern democracy (2nd). New York: Free Press.
    12. Mises, L. & Greaves, B. (2005) Liberalism the classical tradition. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund.
    13. Sanandaji, N. (2012) “The surprising ingredients of Swedish success – free markets and social cohesion”. IEA Discussion Paper, 41.
    14. Schumpeter, J. (1994) Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. London and New York: Rutledge.
    15. Steele, D. (1992)From Marx to Mises: Post-capitalist society and the challenge of economic calculation. La Salle [Ill.]: Open Court.
PERIODICS Serbian Political Thought 2/2014eng 2/2014 UDC 330.837:316.42 89-104