An adaptation of The narrow corridor

Author: James Fenske1
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Blithering idiot. You agreed to write an article-length review on the new book by Acemoglu and Robinson. Acemoglu has published more in the last five years than you have in your whole career. You’re pretty sure Robinson was one of your letter writers. Hither have you come? What if you make a fool of yourself? What if you say something that upsets them? … You have to do this. Manoel Bittencourt flew you to Johannesburg. You drank his scotch while making him listen to the latest Soen album. You owe him. It’s just a book review. You can do this.

Abstract

Blithering idiot. You agreed to write an article-length review on the new book by Acemoglu and Robinson. Acemoglu has published more in the last five years than you have in your whole career. You’re pretty sure Robinson was one of your letter writers. Hither have you come? What if you make a fool of yourself? What if you say something that upsets them? … You have to do this. Manoel Bittencourt flew you to Johannesburg. You drank his scotch while making him listen to the latest Soen album. You owe him. It’s just a book review. You can do this.

Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson (2020) The narrow corridor: States, societies, and the fate of liberty Penguin ISBN: 9780735224407

I 1

“I can’t do this.”

My twin brother Doug looks up from his book and reassures me from the other side of my living room: “You can, it’s just a book review.”

“It’s not just a book review. It’s a review essay. They want 10,000 words!”

“I still think you can do it. I’ve read The Narrow Corridor and the working paper it’s based on. They’re straightforward. The point is that societies under similar geographic and economic conditions and subject to similar external influences nonetheless develop very different types of states. They write a model in which two variables interact, and there are multiple types of state that can arise in equilibrium.”

“Why did you just speak in italics?”

“Who are you, Wade Wilson? If you’re going to write this review as a dialogue, regular citations won’t work. You should put direct quotes in italics, either from The Narrow Corridor or from other sources, and the bibliography should cite ideas in the order in which they first appear.”

“That’s bizarre.”

“It’s a storytelling device.”

“Fine, but I reserve the right to read the italics in a breathy, self-important voice. What are the two variables?”

“The first is state capacity, or the power of the state. A strong state is needed to control violence, enforce laws, and provide public services that are critical for a life in which people are empowered to make and pursue their choices. Without a state, humans live in a Hobbesian state of nature. The second is the power of society. A strong, mobilized society is needed to control and shackle the strong state.”

“How do you get a strong state or strong society?”

“Magnets and a positive attitude.”

“Be serious.”

“You’re no fun. You get them through investments in state capacity or the strength of society. These have increasing returns. This isn’t as clear in the book as it is in the paper that contains the mathematical model: the weaker your state, the harder it is to invest in state capacity. The same is true for the strength of society.”

“So, a stronger state is always better?”

“No: the state is ‘Janus-faced’. Unchecked, it becomes a ‘Despotic Leviathan’. A strong state can dominate citizens, imprison them, silence them, maim them and take their property. The state needs to be a ‘Shackled Leviathan’.”

“That sounds like a good band name.”

“Or an A24 film. But what I mean is that society needs to monitor it and keep it in check.”

“So, does society just make the state weaker?”

“In the model, citizens invest in their ability to win a share of total surplus, and this affects the incentive to invest in state capacity. Society isn’t really making the state weaker, even though that’s how they interpret the model in the book.”

“So, a stronger society is always better?”

“No: if society is too strong relative to the state, you can end up with no state. This is the Absent Leviathan.”

“And that sounds like a good album name.”

“Or an Ayn Rand novel. The Tiv of Nigeria used witchcraft accusations to stop individuals from becoming too powerful, and ended up stateless. In this case, the ‘Cage of Norms’ is a problem. The same norms that have evolved to coordinate action, resolve conflicts, and generate a shared understanding of justice also create a cage, imposing a different but no less disempowering sort of dominance on people. It can leave you stuck in subsistence agriculture. Farmers in Zambia who work hard for a better harvest than their neighbours might find that ‘ghosts’ have urinated on their granaries. Tiv farmers who asked lineage elders for more land in order to produce a marketable surplus were typically refused.”

***

Still confused, I ask: “How do these concepts fit together?”

“Through the Red Queen effect.”

“Is this how farmers have to make constant investments in new wheat varieties in order to stay ahead of constantly evolving stem rusts, just to maintain the same yield?”

“No.”

“Is this how companies need to keep innovating to stay ahead of the innovations made by their competitors, just to maintain the same market share?”

“No. Stop finding passive-aggressive ways to say you didn’t like their use of a cliché. The Red Queen effect is simple. If the state and the elites become too powerful, we end up with the Despotic Leviathan. If they fall behind, we get the Absent Leviathan. So we need both state and society running together and neither getting the upper hand. Pop culture references are easy to grasp and remember. This concept is an advance over past models, which have focused on the power of elites in building state capacity.”

“How can societies with similar starting conditions end up with such different states?”

“Because of the narrow corridor. Here’s the key picture on page 64.”

The graph shows two lines that rise from the origin as a single line but then drift apart very soon. The gap between the curves gradually increases as they rise. After rising away from one another for sometime, the curves slightly move toward one another for a short period but again start drifting away from one another; this time the gap between them is significantly large. Between the gap of the two curves are two arrows placed sequentially. They show the movement of the two curves and are labeled Shackled Leviathan: U S, U K. A counterclockwise arrow above the curves is labeled Despotic: Leviathan: China and points toward the vertical axis. A clockwise arrow below the curves is labeled Absent Leviathan: The Tiv.
Figure 1:

The key picture on page 64

Citation: Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice 2022; 10.1332/251569120X15992432483351

“You know what that looks like?”

“Grow up. … You can see that there’s a narrow equilibrium path where the powers of the state and society grow alongside each other. Outside of that corridor, societies are pulled towards Despotic Leviathans in the upper left, Absent Leviathans in the bottom right, and Paper Leviathans in the bottom left. Subtle differences in starting positions or the shape of the corridor can lead to different outcomes. Shocks that push a society into or out of the corridor can have permanent effects.”

“Paper Leviathans?”

“States like those in Latin America or Africa that have the appearance of a state and are able to exercise some power in some limited domains and in some major cities. But that power is hollow; it is incoherent and disorganized in most domains, and it is almost completely absent when you go to outlying areas of the country they are supposed to be ruling over.”

“I was hoping they were an indie folk duo.”

***

I begin to wonder how to take the model to data: “What do these investments in state capacity look like in real life?”

“Investments in state capacity are things like the Frankish king Clovis’s promulgation of a new legal code or the governor of Nigeria’s Lagos State instituting electronic tax payments. Investments in the power of society are things like open meetings in 18th-century England or black economic empowerment in South Africa.”

“How do they measure state capacity?”

“Sealing wax.”

“Again. Be serious.”

“Really. They use an almost tenfold increase in the volume of sealing wax used by the English state between the 1220s and the 1260s as evidence the state was doing more business.”

“That, or Henry III was abusing the internal mail. But without a consistent measure that can be reported across different contexts, can’t you make a weak but despotic state sound strong? Take the Ming and Qing dynasties. The emperor and elites had despotic powers but taxes as a share of output were lower than in Europe or Japan. Imperial China provided fewer public goods than Tokugawa Japan. This is why the tax-to-GDP ratio is a conventional measure of state capacity.”

“That’s not fair – they recognise that the Qing did not collect much tax. A despotic state is one that dominates society but it may not have a lot of capacity. … You can’t expect them to use the tax-to-GDP ratio throughout the book. They give examples from ancient Athens and colonial Tivland. These aren’t contexts for which we can measure GDP or taxes.”

“There are still measures in the literature they could have used to constrain their arguments with data. Couldn’t they have cited internal customs borders, archaeological sites, political authorities greater than paramount chiefdoms or how long a state has been present?”

“That’s also unfair. They admit there isn’t a clear mapping from the model to real data. That’s why they go through several case studies. You’re just wishing the book were something else. There are no equations. It isn’t published by an academic press. It isn’t the sort of book that has statistical correlations adjusting for confounders, a million robustness checks and clean natural experiments. … They should have used me to write the quotes for their back cover.”

“Fine. But how do they measure the strength of society?”

“They don’t, really.”

“Is this a weakness of the book? I don’t expect them to count the bowling clubs in ancient Athens, but they could show evidence of variation over space and time in associational density, and how that correlates with state capacity, like Voth does for Germany. Xue shows that Qing prefectures exposed to literary inquisitions saw measurable declines in the number of local charities. If, as you say, their claim is that the Qing state lacked capacity but still dominated society, a quantitative exercise like this could provide support for it.”

“That’s just not realistic. The means used to coordinate collective action have taken different forms in different societies. Any one specific measure would systematically miss societies that use alternative approaches.”

Frustrated, I change the subject: “How long are you staying with me this time?”

“You own a whole barn. You don’t have enough space for your own brother? I’m just between opportunities. I’ll move out when something comes up. … Actually, I was thinking of becoming an economist.”

“You can’t play the ‘brother’ card when you took Mom’s last name. … And you, an economist? You don’t know any economics. You spent most of your PhD reading colonial anthropology and the Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria. I’m going to go read the book.”

II

“What did you think of the book?”

Monik, sitting across the table from me, takes a sip of her beer and answers: “I liked it. More than Why Nations Fail. How’s your review going?”

“I haven’t started. I don’t understand why I need to do this. Why do economists write books? Why do they write book reviews? Do economists even read books? When Piketty’s book came out, most readers only highlighted passages in the first 26 pages. Books don’t count for tenure in economics.”

“Why would you even worry about this? No one writes for the audience that buys books to be seen owning books. Acemoglu and Robinson are established, tenured professors. They’re not writing to advance their careers. They have something to say.”

“But to whom? This isn’t a typical historian’s book that expands an article and gives it the ‘book-length treatment’. There is a companion paper with all the maths behind the model but I’ve never seen ‘the book of the unpublished working paper’ before. I expected this to be the typical economist’s book: a non-technical summary of several papers that could be read by scholars in other disciplines. But even though there are 31 of Acemoglu’s papers in the bibliography, this doesn’t seem like an attempt to popularise their own work. They draw so widely on work by scholars outside economics that their aim may be to shame economists for being parochial. They debate Ibn Khaldun. He’s been dead for centuries.”

“Are they writing for an academic audience?”

“I’m not sure. Some evidence in the book might not go over well with academic audiences. They use the ancient Mesopotamian epic of Gilgamesh to frame the book. They frame one chapter by discussing an Italian fresco. They cite 18th-century Chinese novels for evidence that it was lucrative to be part of the imperial bureaucracy, and that the elite was above the law. I don’t know how to critique that sort of claim. Do I point out that characters like Wang Xifeng and Jia She end up punished for their misdeeds, while the protagonist Jia Baoyu doesn’t join the bureaucracy, despite passing the exam?”

“Are they trying to write a bestseller?”

“Maybe? The book is entertaining. There are two separate discussions of hair. They use the Franks’s resistance to having their hair cut as evidence of their powerful, assertive societies. They use the Manchu tonsure decree as evidence that the Chinese state kept society weak.”

“You do know that even high school textbooks on Chinese history note the Manchus forced men to wear a specific hairstyle. If the government controls your hair, it controls you. … Maybe they’re trying to influence policy.”

“That’s probably true. The book contains a wide range of proposals and warnings, some of which I have trouble connecting to the broader argument. They caution against digital dictatorship and automation. They want more government spending on R&D, restrictions on lobbying, more autonomy for the civil service and less gerrymandering. They argue that labour unions are a good alternative to redistributive taxation because they avoid giving too much power to the state. The book ends with an endorsement of the #metoo movement. Microsoft’s CEO praised their book at Davos, so they’re getting their message out to people who matter.”

“The first 26 pages, anyway.”

***

Monik looks at me with disgust: “How can you drink that? It smells awful.”

“It’s a lager made with wild, foraged ingredients. It’s wonderful. … I still don’t understand why anyone writes book reviews.”

“You should have enough experience by now to know the main reason is that editors ask. It’s service to the profession. You don’t want a reputation for shirking on service. Academia doesn’t work if everyone values their time in terms of individual profit and loss.”

“What is the service? Summarising the book for an audience who doesn’t have time to read it? Letting people know what the book is about so they can decide whether to read it? Giving a list of criticisms so readers can check whether they reached the same conclusions?”

“You should know this. Book reviews force you to read a book more carefully, sharpen your skills of evaluating research, boost your reputation and generate ideas. They help others choose books for teaching, and change how the general public views a book. It’s a shame administrators treat them as unimportant, easy to write and hence, easy to get published, mere summaries, uncritical statements of praise, marketing gimmicks and poorly cited.”

“But I worry about all the things that can go wrong. One of my first publications was the literature review from my dissertation, reframed as a response to a Hopkins paper. I didn’t even send it to him before publishing it.”

“That was rude.”

“I know that now. Instead of starting a constructive dialogue, I reinforced the ‘historians-versus-economists’ narrative.”

“Now you know better. You’ll send this to Acemoglu and Robinson before you publish it.”

“Sure, but now my reviews are largely toothless summaries, especially if the author is junior to me. ‘Punching down’ isn’t a good look.”

“Be realistic. Nobody’s going to think you reviewing The Narrow Corridor is ‘punching down’. Acemoglu has more than 100 times as many Google Scholar citations as you.”

“I’m afraid of sounding snarky. I want to show that I know that my criticisms might be wrong, and give Robinson and Acemoglu a chance to speak.”

“How are you going to do that?”

“I’ll write myself into my review.”

“That’s bizarre.”

It’s self-indulgent. It’s narcissistic. It’s solipsistic. It’s pathetic.

“Stop whining. If you’re so worried what they’ll think, why don’t you just talk to Acemoglu?”

III

On my next visit to a co-author in Boston, Acemoglu meets with me after the development seminar. He sits in front of me in the audience and I’m too afraid to ask any questions, though I do type up some incoherent thoughts and email them to the speaker. We set out from the Sloan School of Management in search of lunch, and quickly walk past the Department of Economics at Brown University. Acemoglu starts the conversation: “What did you think of the book?”

“I enjoyed it. More than Why Nations Fail. But I still have some doubts. How can I reconcile a model of multiple equilibria with the evidence that both states and economic development display persistence, or ‘deep roots’?”

“Isn’t that literature all spurious spatial correlation?”

“I don’t know if that’s true. Don’t most persistence papers control for several geographic variables that account for a lot of the spatial correlation? … My point is that state antiquity, particularly at the population level, is a strong predictor of present-day development. Even if you don’t think this is causal, either development is persistent or its determinants are.”

“We have written a book on the causes of state capacity and of liberty, not of GDP.”

“But aren’t those so correlated that any source of persistence in development is a source of persistence in states? Hariri has shown that non-European countries with a longer history of states are less democratic today. Dell’s work on Vietnam, Heldring’s work on Rwanda, Bandyopadhyay’s work on Uganda and Michalopoulos’s work on Africa all show persistence over time in state capacity. I’m not sure that’s consistent with a model in which societies are easily knocked into or out of a corridor that sets them on a different path.”

“That’s consistent with our model. In the absence of shocks, the Shackled Leviathan, the Absent Leviathan and the Despotic Leviathan are all persistent. Indeed, you aren’t quite correct when you say that the model is one with multiple equilibria. The equilibria are unique, and in the absence of other shocks, initial conditions determine the path a society will take. So: our model is perfectly consistent with history dependence. The point is that subtle differences in initial conditions and parameters can lead similar societies into different, but persistent, equilibria.”

We turn onto Gammeltoftsgade, passing Copenhagen’s Økonomisk Institut. Acemoglu asks: “Why are we in Denmark?”

“Because I’m using physical locations to stand in for academic schools of thought that let me group ideas together. … A second doubt I have is whether you do enough to rule out alternative models. You say that you disagree with theories that see something distinctive in Europe long before the Middle Ages – its Judeo-Christian culture, its unique geography, its European values, whatever they were – making its subsequent political developments and economic ascendancy inevitable. I agree on inevitability but I’m not sure you acknowledge the evidence that these variables have explanatory power. Take geography. There is a literature on the effects of geography on economic development: vulnerability to eye disease because of UV radiation, exploitable marine fish, land suitable for agriculture, terrain ruggedness –”

“Again, this isn’t a book about GDP.”

“But isn’t there evidence that biogeographical endowments help explain why we see certain types of state in certain places? Tsetse-infected parts of Africa lacked states because draft animals could not survive, and this inhibited intensive agriculture. The ancient state in Egypt was stronger than in Mesopotamia because dependence on the Nile flood made output more observable and so easier to tax. Cereal grains are more easily stored than tubers; this makes them more taxable and so facilitates state formation. Circumscribed agricultural land made it easier for states to form because the population couldn’t escape taxation. Societies more dependent on irrigation are more autocratic because water in rivers is more easily monopolised than water falling from the sky. Societies that developed agriculture earlier because of their geographic endowments had states earlier and are more autocratic today. Large, diverse environments are hard to centralise. If you want a visual representation of how much geography correlates with state capacity, plot the ratio of tax revenue to GDP against distance from the equator. States in the tropics lack capacity.”

I pull up this scatter plot I made with Besley and Persson’s data on my phone and show it to Acemoglu.

In the graph, the horizontal axis is scaled from 0 to 80 in increments of 20 units and the vertical axis is scaled from 0 to 50 in increments of 10 units. The graph shows a fitted line, which rises from the bottom left to the top right of the graph. A majority of countries are along this line. The Scandinavian countries are on the right of the line. Several African and Middle East countries are on the left of the line. The United States is midway along the line.
Figure 2:

The ratio of tax revenue to GDP against distance from the equator

Citation: Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice 2022; 10.1332/251569120X15992432483351

“The states that exist today where the earliest states took hold are extremely different from their predecessors – you can’t simply claim that this is ‘persistence’ and that a simple theory of history without dynamics is sufficient to understand them. You’re trying to reopen a debate from 15 years ago. We showed then that the effects of geography on development are conditional.”

“You used to say that they were indirect, not conditional. Europe’s fragmented geography gave rise to a system of competing states that fostered the development of state capacity. The same geographic features that commonly predict borders between states, like mountains and rivers, predict development today. In your book, the conditionality is only based on the current values of state capacity and the power of society, and on the shape of the corridor. Can the shape of the corridor really incorporate all this prior work on the determinants of state capacity?”

“It doesn’t have to. You and I view the role of geography in history quite differently. In your view of the world, initial conditions determine the form a society will take in the future. Historical shocks and events might disrupt where a society is, but only temporarily. In your view, a society will eventually revert to its ‘factory settings’, as it were. In our view, this could move a society permanently onto a different equilibrium path. When we have said that geography is ‘conditional’ in past work, we mean it in the same way we do in the book. Take our well-known paper on settler mortality. Whether a location has malaria or yellow fever depends on its geography. But this geography did not lead to a divergence for the thousands of years before Europeans arrived with both their own modes of colonisation and overwhelming force. That’s a ‘conditional’ effect of geography that is perfectly in line with our interpretations in the book.”

Acemoglu pauses, and continues: “I think you haven’t grasped the implications of the studies you mention on the persistence of states. Take Dell’s work on Vietnam. She finds persistent effects of a historical state using regression discontinuity across a past border that does not correspond to any singular geographic feature – this means that it cannot be the case that long-run outcomes in her case were determined by prior conditions like geography.”

“I guess I keep pushing on geography because I want to understand ultimate causes, not only proximate ones. Geography is satisfying because it brings us back to initial conditions. You argue that the two ‘blades’ of the European scissors that pushed Europe into the narrow corridor were Frankish assembly politics and Roman state capacity. I may have missed it, but I’m not sure you say where these came from originally. In your chapter on India, the caste system features heavily but you never really explain where it comes from. Does it exist because it allowed communities to better police the management of ecological resources? Does it exist because it forces women to marry men with complementary skills? Does it exist because other social groups imitated Brahman endogamy? If we don’t know, I’m not sure we understand the ultimate causes of Indian state capacity today.”

***

Brown University’s Department of Economics is adjacent to the H.P. Lovecraft memorial square, and I point this out to Acemoglu as we pass it a second time: “You know, in the million words of fiction he wrote, fewer than five thousand are dialogue.”

“You should have learned from that. You’re no Charlie Kaufman. There are five characters in this review with speaking parts, one is a composite, two are Canadian, one is Turkish and one is English but they all talk the way you write.”

“I may have misunderstood, but I think your book says little about macrogenoeconomics and diversity, even though these matter for the type of state that a society gets. More genetically diverse societies tend to be more autocratic and experience more civil conflict. Diversity could be critical early on. Too much social division and society might demand centralised institutions that overcome coordination problems. But the same society might be unable to impose checks and balances, and become pulled towards the Despotic Leviathan. Too little social division and a society might use informal institutions to solve coordination problems, ending up with an Absent Leviathan. More ethnically diverse societies have fewer public goods, more conflict and more autocracy. This isn’t just the view of a minority of macroeconomists. Economic historians have noted, for example, that for the Habsburg Empire, ethnolinguistic diversity posed further challenges to the process of establishing a modern state.”

“There are several problems with your argument. The first is that we do acknowledge the role of diverse societies in state-building. Take our discussion of India. The consolidation of the caste system and the subservience of the state to its rigid hierarchy fragmented society and made it turn against itself. Second, diversity is neither destiny, nor exogenous; the link between name and occupation in England was eroded by economic and social change. The starting conditions aren’t so different from India, but the final outcome is very different. Third, it is easy to incorporate these concerns: they would make the corridor narrower.”

“But does this mean the verbal argument in the book and the mechanics of the model are a bit different? In your model, there is a unitary actor called ‘society’ and a massless elite that controls the state. Historically, struggles are often between different elites, such as between landowners and industrialists, who may have different incentives to have ‘society’ on their side. If the elite knows a different part of society might overthrow it in the future and use the state against it, this reduces incentives to invest in state capacity. Even if society has no power, shouldn’t state dominance be limited by the logic of a Laffer curve? A despot wants to give society more capacity so there is a larger surplus he can extract. The size of the elite should change over time as its members are drawn from a broader slice of society. You discuss how large segments of society can be dominated by others: lower castes in India, women in the UK and Saudi Arabia, and the black population in the US and South Africa. You recognise that coalitions between groups are important, as in Sweden – a relatively homogeneous country. … Sorry. I’m rambling. I guess my question is: shouldn’t this change your model? Coalition formation is endogenous. Your model should partition ‘society’ into several groups who vary in fighting strength. Let them form coalitions. Let these coalitions contest control of the state. Let groups invest in both the power of the coalition and the power of society as a whole. There are existing models that have some of these elements.”

“That would increase the complexity of the model without any new insights. The possibility that the elite is overthrown is captured by the discount rate parameter. The difficulty of forming broad coalitions is captured by the cost of investing in the power of society.”

***

We turn left, passing All Souls College. I try a new train of thought: “I wonder if you focus a bit too much on the internal dynamics of societies. External shocks may matter more than they appear in the book. You describe Nazi Germany as the ‘Red Queen out of Control’. Society grew more polarised and conflict intensified. But we know that external shocks played a major role in the rise of the Nazi Party and similar movements elsewhere. Support for the Nazis increased more in cities affected by the 1931 banking crisis. Throughout Europe, countries hardest hit by the Depression turned towards right-wing anti-system parties. Short histories of democracy accentuated these effects, but so did features not in your book: prior extremist parties and low thresholds for winning seats in Parliament.”

We pass the Mercatus Center and sit down at Rocklands for lunch. I order the beef ribs and talk at Acemoglu while he tries to look at the menu: “It isn’t only in Germany where I’m not sure you give enough weight to external forces that shape state capacity. The unidirectional threat of invasion from the Steppe helped lead to a single, unified state in China. In Europe, threats came from all sides, and the continent remained fragmented. Having multiple states made Europe more robust in the face of adverse shocks and raised tax capacity. In the 19th century, both China and Japan came under pressure from Western powers. Japan, a smaller country facing a one-sided threat, modernised and increased state capacity. China, a large country facing threats from several sides, decentralised.”

“A paper that shows how state capacity responds to external pressures like this would be an elegant one and, you’re right, that’s not what is in the book. I have done related work on state capacity externalities in Colombia, though this is more about externalities from investment than the threat of invasion.”

“I suppose I think this comes across more clearly in your papers than in the book; I would have liked to see more discussion like this.”

Acemoglu continues: “A key implication of our model is that you cannot predict the effect of external shocks on the development of states without knowing where a state is relative to the narrow corridor. See our chapter contrasting Prussia, Switzerland and Montenegro: the same exogenous increase in state capacity can knock a state out of the narrow corridor, knock it into it or fail to bring it into the corridor, depending on the initial powers of the state and society.”

“Are you ignoring ways states respond to external threats that don’t map into your model? You discuss how responses to the military revolution differed across a few case studies. Gennaioli’s paper shows that external threats did not induce state-building responses until expensive military technologies made tax capacity important for victory. Yes, the effect of the threat of conflict depends on current state capacity and whether the threat is internal or external. But there are other dimensions of heterogeneity that you don’t discuss. For example: is population density low enough that war is over people rather than territory? This helps explain the adverse effects of historical conflict in Africa. The effect of conflict on state-building also depends on whether wars are funded by internal taxation or foreign debt.”

“Robinson has made some of these arguments in his older papers; it’s dishonest for you to criticise the book for omitting ideas we’ve addressed in past work. The point of the chapter isn’t to talk about how the threat of conflict affects state capacity in all cases. The point is that military threats increased state capacity in Prussia, Switzerland and Montenegro. But while the Swiss threw off Hapsburg rule, the Prussian state used its greater power to become despotic. Montenegrin reforms foundered against clan opposition.”

Finishing lunch, we begin walking again. Trinity College looms in front of us. I change my approach: “I know I’m straying from narrowly raising objections to The Narrow Corridor, but there are critiques of your ‘inclusive institutions’ narrative that I’m not sure you’ve really addressed. One is that strong parliaments do not guarantee economic success. The Polish Parliament from the 16th to the 19th centuries constrained the executive but the landowners in Parliament used their power to preserve serfdom. In Wurttemberg, Parliament enforced the privileges of guilds and cartels.”

“This is consistent with our argument. Our chapters on Europe, India and Saudi Arabia show that if one segment of society uses the state to restrict the liberties of another segment, the Red Queen effect is broken. A movement into the corridor … doesn’t break down the cage of norms all at once. The evolution of liberty is a protracted process, especially for groups, such as women, who have been systematically discriminated against.

“Does your model really have the detail needed to explain why in some cases a stronger society promotes the liberty of the whole population, while in other cases one group, be it men or Brahmins, wields the state to its own advantage? Society’s efforts need to be directed specifically at monitoring the state and preventing despotism in order to secure liberty for the whole population. That isn’t just the ‘strength of society’; that’s values and culture. … I know it isn’t a major part of your argument, but I think you give too much importance to the UK’s patent system. Moser’s work shows that a lot of innovation happens without a state-supported patent system. Many famous inventors of the British Industrial Revolution died poor.”

***

We double back, passing through Brown’s campus again. I raise new worries: “In the paper and the book, I wonder if maybe you’re leaving out multidimensional dynamics. Your model relies on saddle-path dynamics in a static phase space to determine equilibrium paths. If you instead used a theory of long-run growth based on transitions between distinct phases such as Malthusian growth or modern growth, you could make the evolution of institutions and the economy interdependent. The powers of society and the state could affect other variables that also evolve over time. A state that taxes heavily may constrain population growth, which could shape technological progress and influence whether parents choose to have a smaller number of children in which they invest more heavily. If incipient states take the impact of taxation on population growth into account, or if they invest in different types of state capacity, you can get complicated dynamics and many possible dynamic configurations and steady states.”

“We don’t ignore these issues; we discuss technological progress and rising urban population in Italy in the first few centuries after 1000AD as consequences of the republican city states and the commerce their good government allowed to flourish.”

“I also wonder if you’re neglecting the endogenous evolution of skills and education. Education matters for governance; democracies have more educated leaders, and educated leaders deliver more growth. And what about capital? Eichengreen says that the post-war settlement between capital and labour in Europe was held together by the uniquely high returns to capital that existed. The sort of corporatism you describe in Sweden after the Second World War wasn’t unique to Sweden; the equilibrium of wage restraint and high rates of investment was achieved in several Western European countries because of the opportunities for catch-up growth after the war.”

“We don’t ignore education: we stress the importance of public–private partnerships in delivering education in the US, note the restrictions on the provision of education to women in Saudi Arabia and discuss the provision of education in 19th-century Costa Rica and medieval Italy as consequences of better governments.”

“Are some dynamics of the model driven by mathematical convenience? You assume that the marginal products of state and social capacity are both linear. I don’t know whether the intuition of a ‘narrow corridor’ would break down if they weren’t. In the working paper, you make direct transitions from the Absent to the Despotic Leviathans possible by making economies of scale dependent on the relative strengths of the state and society. I don’t know how to translate this mathematical assumption into a real-world example.”

“In the book, there are two mechanisms that prevent ‘pristine’ state formation from leading directly to the Shackled Leviathan, explaining why societies instead move directly from the Absent to Despotic Leviathans. The first is that the charismatic leaders who invent new states – people like Kamehameha and Shaka – are motivated by the will to power, not a desire to promote liberty. The second is that pre-existing institutions that regulate political power and resolve conflicts, like those Solon started with in Athens, can be used to further increase popular participation and restrict hierarchy. If you don’t already have these, you can’t use them. The reasoning is transparent and supported by historical examples.”

IV

I return to the barn. Doug starts the conversation: “How was your talk with Acemoglu?”

“It was OK. How is becoming an economist?”

“Great! The AER is going to publish my paper.”

“What? How did you even put one together that quickly?”

“I partnered with an NGO in Busara, Kenya. We randomly gave some women condoms. This increased their happiness, though the effect faded out after three weeks.”

***

Doug looks at me with disgust: “How can you drink that?”

The best blended scotch in the history of the world, which was also the favourite drink of the Iraqi Ba’ath party, as it is still of the Palestinian Authority, and the Libyan dictatorship, and large branches of the Saudi Arabian royal family … breakfast of champions. Accept no substitutes.

“In reading about randomised controlled trials for my own paper, I did find several papers you can use in your review.”

“Really?”

“Well, I looked at a couple of literature reviews and skimmed some introductions. That’s how economists read, right? … A bunch of randomised controlled trials have created participatory institutions much like the open meetings and assembly politics that Acemoglu and Robinson believe matter in Europe. These papers can be used to test their model. In Liberia, villages in which local democratic institutions were created raised more resources in a public goods game. In Benin, town hall meetings reduced clientelism and the vote share of the dominant candidate. In Sierra Leone, a similar intervention increased public goods provision, though it didn’t really improve collective action or how the communities made decisions. These all show that the model is right.”

“Are you sure? I suppose I could interpret the results by claiming that villages in Benin and Liberia were already in the narrow corridor or got knocked into it by the treatment. But I would have thought these countries were Paper Leviathans. I don’t know how to use the narrow corridor to interpret the Sierra Leone results. They seem contradictory.”

“You know how they talk about the importance of empowering certain groups directly, like women and Dalits? Several papers have used randomised controlled trials or natural experiments to measure the effects of this. Women’s suffrage increased the size and scope of American government, including raising public health spending. Voting machines that made it easier for the poor to vote in Brazil led to more government spending on healthcare. In India, reservations for women in village councils increased spending on public goods favoured by women. Reservations for scheduled tribes reduced poverty, though reservations for scheduled castes did not. In Afghanistan, mandatory female participation in a development programme led to more female mobility and income, though didn’t change attitudes towards women. Again, this is powerful evidence in favour of the model.”

“But are these really tests of it? Is giving women the vote in the US or creating reservations for them in India a move into the corridor? Or is it the Red Queen effect in action, breaking down the ‘Cage of Norms’? Is Afghanistan too far outside the corridor for empowering women to trigger the Red Queen effect?”

Doug presses on: “There’s a whole literature on the natural resource curse that really proves their point. Windfall revenues aren’t scrutinised as carefully by citizens and lead to greater corruption. In democracies, resource windfalls don’t affect the political system, but in moderately entrenched autocracies, windfalls make the political system more autocratic. Robinson has a theory paper arguing that countries lacking state competence and accountability can suffer from a resource curse. These all tell the same story: an exogenous increase in the power of the state knocks society out of the corridor and onto a path towards the Despotic Leviathan. It’s a shame they don’t cite much of this. I guess it would conflict with their goal of relying on historical case studies instead of quantitative work.”

“Again, are these tests of the model or simply examples that can be rationalised by it? There are several studies that have identified treatment effects relevant to the book. But I worry that any treatment effect can be rationalised by either claiming that you were at a given starting point, or by claiming that the corridor is particularly wide or narrow. If a randomised controlled trial that increases the power of the state leads to good outcomes, society was either already in the corridor or was knocked into it. If it leads to bad outcomes, society was a Despotic Leviathan. I have no idea what to do with an ambiguous or nuanced result. There are hundreds of randomised controlled trials and natural experiments in political science but I’m not sure any of them can validate or reject the theory in the book. In a model with different possible equilibrium outcomes and no empirical measure of either important state variable, I don’t know what a ‘test’ of the theory looks like. I’m not even sure one exists.”

“I disagree. I think I just told you about a bunch of empirical tests, and that their model passes. Why don’t you just ask Robinson yourself? He’s giving a talk at UI next week.”

“In Ibadan? I haven’t been in years. I wouldn’t know my way around.”

“I can go in your place. I don’t think he can tell us apart.”

V

Doug takes an okada to the University and meets Robinson. They walk down Oduduwa Road, and Robinson starts the conversation: “What did you think of the book?”

“It’s better than Why Nations Fail. But you don’t give enough attention to geography’s role in shaping African states.”

“You’re going to tell me about ecological diversity and the gains from trade?”

“States in pre-colonial Africa did locate on ecological divides where goods from one region could be traded for goods from another and this trade could be taxed. … But I was thinking about population density. Africa historically had low population densities and Africans could escape taxation. This restricted state formation. States that existed relied on holding locations with exceptionally fertile land or some other tradable resource. Buganda, for example, had bananas and control over the trade of Lake Victoria.”

“In the model, these endowments aren’t needed. Total surplus can be any fixed number, and there are still the same set of steady states and a narrow path towards liberty.”

“Where population density was low, labour was scarce. The high wage that would need to be paid to free workers led to labour coercion. Rulers used slaves extensively. Political elites in Sokoto had large plantations farmed by slaves. The kings of Asante and Benin used public executions of slaves to project authority.”

“Labour scarcity can also increase the outside options of workers, which leads to less coercion. If coercion has fixed costs, it becomes more profitable when there are more workers, not fewer. You’re also presuming some state capacity: you won’t get labour coercion unless the landowners are reasonably united in their pressure on the government, and unless the latter is willing and able to do their bidding.”

Doug pivots his argument: “There’s an entire literature on the environmental history of Africa you ignore. Great Zimbabwe thrived in an environment fit for cattle, and collapsed when the climate changed. States in the Sahel shifted north and south over time as the Sahara expanded and retreated, taking with it the regions in which mounted cavalry won’t be thwarted by the tsetse fly. You talk about Shaka Zulu’s charisma but you don’t acknowledge that increased competition over grazing lands due to ecological stress led to the development of more disciplined age sets that served as military regiments. Shaka’s state emerged because of a series of droughts.”

“Our goal isn’t to provide a complete account of his rise to power. He is one of many charismatic builders of pristine states who broke out of the Cage of Norms but did not create a Shackled Leviathan. The point of that chapter is to explain why pristine states don’t move directly into the narrow corridor.”

“Mineral endowments have also had a major impact on African states. The king of Mali was so famous for his gold that his picture is prominent in the 1375 Catalan Atlas. Today, he’s an Internet meme. If Botswana had been blessed with copper instead of diamonds, it would look like Zambia today. If its diamonds had been alluvial instead of in kimberlite deposits, it would look like Sierra Leone.”

“These concerns can all be accommodated by the narrow corridor. Lootable diamonds make the corridor narrower.”

The National Archives being closed, they go for lunch at the nearby guest house.

***

Robinson looks at Doug with disgust: “How can you drink that?”

“It’s excellent: in Nigeria, it’s brewed with local sorghum and maize. There’s even a restaurant in Coventry that serves it with suya. … I want to talk about the Igbo. Like the Tiv, they were stateless. Yet, as Achebe describes them, they were tolerant of domination. In his novel, Okonkwo is a polygamist who beats his wives and children. He is a man of wealth and position in a society ruled by elders. An oracle in his village has the power of life and death. Going beyond the novel, the Igbo owned both productive slaves, Ohu, and ritual slaves, Osu. Individuals could be made slaves for adultery, theft, debt, being quarrelsome or even being an abnormal child. Stateless societies are more tolerant of inequality than the ‘Cage of Norms’ suggests.”

“You’re misinterpreting the ‘Cage of Norms’. The Cage of Norms is intolerant of new forms of inequality, not inequality per se. Norms can create relationships of highly choreographed and stable dominance. We describe the same authority structures in Asante society that you describe among the Igbo – chiefly authority, slavery, exchange of women for bridewealth –”

“Then the ‘Cage of Norms’ has no explanatory power. Why didn’t English nobles use the state to suppress the mass of society like upper castes do in India? You note that the rights of non-nobles were protected in the Magna Carta; England was different even before the Black Death. Your narrative jumps a couple of hundred years to the active participation of ‘middling’ men in the government of Swallowfield. You don’t outline where this mass participation came from, except to refer to Frankish norms. England somehow stayed in the corridor for centuries, and you don’t tell us if they were just lucky enough to avoid being knocked out of it. You don’t explain why the legacy of broad-based participation in Swallowfield is the Red Queen effect but the legacy of broad-based participation in India’s gana-sanghas is panchayats dominated by Brahmins by the 19th century. Is the social distance between noble and serf less than that between Brahmin and Dalit? Even if I know the initial starting conditions, it seems impossible to predict who will gain liberty.”

“Right. That’s one of the key points of the book.”

***

They finish lunch and begin walking again, passing the Kenneth Dike Library. Robinson starts: “This building is evidence that you need to be more open-minded about sources of evidence. In collecting oral traditions and seeing them recognized as valid evidence by his jury, Dike forged the link connecting a flourishing oral and written African historiography and also established a new academic practice. Frescoes, novels and haircuts all provide valuable evidence. Ruling consuls in an Italian city commissioned a painting that put rulers in the background and society in the foreground; that is a striking renunciation of the will to power.”

“Let’s talk more about Dike. You admit it is hard to bring the theory to data, so you discuss a lot of case studies. But you get to choose the cases. I want to test the model by asking: ‘How well can the narrow corridor explain an arbitrary case not selected by the authors?’ The example I have in mind is the city states of the Niger Delta between 1830 and 1885.”

“This sounds contrived.”

“I needed an excuse to reread a classic book on African states. In 1830, the Niger Delta was home to a set of city states: Old Calabar, New Calabar, Brass and Bonny, among others. The region had been settled during the slave trade and most of the population were slaves and individuals of slave descent. Society was divided into ‘Houses’ of prominent traders, their families and their slaves, ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand members. Slaves could rise in rank to become heads of houses, and houses were ruled autocratically by heads, who had the power of life and death over subordinates. The king of any city state had authority over foreign relations and war but had no direct power over the Houses.”

“Go on.”

“With the end of the slave trade and the beginning of the trade in palm oil, former slaves became more powerful. Dappa Pepple, the King of Bonny, facing opposition from ex-slaves, internal rivals and British merchants, was removed by the British in 1854. With the end of his government went the stability and unity of the state. The puppet successor the British appointed soon died, and a power struggle between the Houses of Bonny led the British to restore Pepple in 1861. But after his death, Bonny experienced a slave rebellion – much like the other Niger Delta city states – in which Jubo Jubogha founded the new city of Opobo, diverting away much of Bonny’s trade.”

“I’ve lost your point.”

“My point is this: I don’t need the theory of the narrow corridor to understand this case, and it would be a stretch to try to impose it. At every step, British involvement mattered. The Consul, John Beecroft, worked to support missionaries and abolish slavery, removing local kings who would not comply. A major interest group who had Pepple removed was the European traders who worried about his control over hinterland trade and his attacks on other city states that disrupted trade. The key lesson is not the narrow corridor; it is that a nation with large economic interests in another’s territory sooner or later, directly or indirectly, is implicated in its politics.”

Robinson pauses, thinks and responds: “I can see the dynamic of the narrow corridor. The increasing power of slaves and of British merchants increased the strength of society. Removing the king knocked Bonny out of the narrow corridor into the region where the society is too strong relative to the state for the Red Queen effect to work.”

“Beyond this one case, it just doesn’t make sense to use a closed-economy model to understand African states throughout history. External pressures have always mattered a lot. Think of the slave trade. Lovejoy argues that it favoured a fragmented environment of small-scale warlord states and the failure of political leaders to form large empires. It led to a stagnation in Africa’s already sparse population, and intensified the use of slaves on the continent: any state that progressed during the period did so in spite of the adverse effects of a process that was more damaging than cholera. In Senegambia, elites and warlords used the slave trade to gain firearms and horses that helped them preserve their authority. The slave trade created a guns-for-slaves cycle: states needed to produce slaves in order to purchase the firearms needed for self-defence against other states under the same pressures. Even when guns weren’t involved, the slave trade created an iron-for-slaves cycle. Suppression of the slave trade in West Africa created a ‘crisis of adaptation’ that undermined states that had become dependent on the slave trade for revenues and key imports. In the Niger Delta, the change from selling slaves to selling palm oil undermined the political power of the elites who owned slaves and dominated the region’s city states. Palm oil could be traded in small amounts and didn’t require the same capital investments. Yet, your book on the history of states only uses the phrase ‘slave trade’ twice, once in passing.”

“Among the Akan and Luba we recognise another effect you miss: the slave trade reinforced the Cage of Norms. Individuals who wanted protection from enslavement had to accept norms like pawnship and the power of elders. The transition from slave trade to ‘legitimate commerce’ increased the power of society. But whether that pushed an African society on the path towards a Despotic, Shackled or Absent Leviathan depended on its starting point.”

Doug turns his attention to external influences in the colonial period: “You also say little about how colonial rule has shaped African states. Colonial policies of indirect rule explain decentralised despotism in Africa today. You cite Afigbo when discussing the Warrant Chiefs of Nigeria but you do so to discuss the Tiv, even though his book is mostly about the Igbo. Even if you don’t believe that Europeans were able to impose stable systems of traditional social order, they did provoke a series of debates over the meaning and application of tradition which in turn shaped struggles over authority and access to resources. The nature of the local state in Africa today depends a lot on colonial rule, and the narrow corridor says little about that.”

“I know this. I have a paper on the power of chiefs in Sierra Leone. Our focus isn’t on decentralised despotism; it’s on the Paper Leviathan. The main consequence of indirect rule is that there was no national administrative apparatus to work with at independence. Former colonies were left with a leviathan paper-thin in its ability to resolve conflicts, provide public services, and even maintain public order. You’re focusing on what happens in the village. We’re focusing on whether the centre can even reach the village.”

“We can’t understand African states today without recognising differences across colonisers. The Yoruba in Benin have less education than the Yoruba in Nigeria. The Ewe in Ghana have more education than the Ewe in Togo. French colonialism was more extractive than British colonialism and relied more on forced labour. Postcolonial states and governing elites were shaped by this. It is hard to understand the surge in state capacity that occurred in both British and French colonies after the Second World War without noting the opposition to colonialism coming from the US and Soviet Union. It is hard to understand the dynamic between ‘state’ and ‘society’ when the ‘state’ is external and can choose to draw on external resources to increase its capacity.”

“This is a distinction without a difference. Former French and British colonies are both Paper Leviathans. The late colonial push for development didn’t change that.”

“You leave out how external influences shaped the power of society in colonial Africa, and how this is still relevant in the present. Missionaries were often in conflict with colonial administrations, and mission-educated Africans were politically active in the colonial period. Churches are a politically relevant part of civil society in Africa today. … And I know this isn’t central, but Hochschild never claimed that the rubber terror in the Congo killed 10 million people. He said that murder, starvation, exhaustion, exposure, disease and a plummeting birth rate combined to make the population fall to half what it otherwise would have been. His sources for this fraction are two estimates by colonial officials and one by Vansina. He gets the number 10 million by noting that the first population estimate, made in 1924, was 10 million. Jerven estimates the Congolese population at 9.7 million in 1885. The rubber terror can’t have killed more people than were there to be killed. To attribute the end of the rubber terror mostly to the work of reformers is wrong: the concessionary companies simply ran out of rubber.”

“You’re missing the point. We only speak of ‘loss of population’. And you can’t deny that the Congo Reform Association was important in ending Leopold’s personal rule.”

Doug turns his attention to the post-colonial period: “What you have to say about post-colonial ‘Paper Leviathans’ in Africa is basically right. As Cooper puts it, African leaders wanted a farming sector that was economically strong and politically weak and feared they would get exactly the reverse. I would only add what Bates already said. Many of these states inherited monopsonist agricultural marketing boards from the colonial era and used them to tax farmers as a source of foreign exchange. Commodity prices were volatile, and newly independent states were trying to industrialise with policies of high tariffs and fixed, overvalued exchange rates. They taxed farmers not only for political reasons, but also to maintain the balance of payments and fund industrialisation. You could have made the international economic context clearer.”

“You’re interpreting policy choices as external constraints. High tariffs, state-led industrialisation and fixed, overvalued exchange rates were all policies these governments chose.”

“The international context is missing from your discussion of Africa’s Paper Leviathans. You can’t understand Nigerian politics in the 1970s and 1980s without the oil boom. Gowon’s government, not needing to be accountable to citizens, mismanaged spending. My favourite example is the cement armada: in 1974, the Nigerian government ordered more cement than the ports could receive and was stuck paying fees to ships waiting in its congested ports for years. Government spending overshot revenues, and so when world oil prices collapsed in the 1980s, Nigeria faced a debt crisis. Nigerian history would be quite different if it weren’t for the boom-and-bust cycle of oil prices.”

“You’re again ignoring the internal context. Gowon was the head of a military government that suppressed civil liberties. If society had been able to check the power of the state, the spending boom would never have happened. The oil boom was exogenous; the government’s response was not.”

“We can understand the crisis of the postcolonial state without understanding external markets. African states borrowed in order to fund development at low but variable interest rates. When the second oil crisis hit, and the Fed raised interest rates to fight inflation, these deficits became unsustainable. African governments then had to accept structural adjustment loans in return for devaluing their exchange rates, reducing exchange controls and trade barriers, cutting spending, and privatisation. This was a major change in the role of African states in their economies, and yet your book doesn’t talk about commodity prices, international interest rates, the debt crisis or structural adjustment.”

“Again, these aren’t purely external shocks. I know you’ve read my work on Botswana. There, the government was already in the narrow corridor, didn’t mismanage its resource wealth and so did not need a structural adjustment programme. Debt crises are characteristic of Paper Leviathans that lack the capacity to raise revenues from direct taxation.”

“Lastly, I don’t think you talk much in the book about how states external to Africa have interfered in the continent’s state building. You mention the assassination of Lumumba but only to make a point about the American state – not about the Congo. Your book doesn’t mention American support for Mobutu. The CIA also advised the Ghanaian officers that overthrew Nkrumah, and gave aid to UNITA in Angola. Can we understand post-colonial Africa without meddling by outside powers? The essence of neo-colonialism is that the State which is subject to it is, in theory, independent and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. In reality its economic system and thus its political policy is directed from outside.

“That’s not true. We must abandon the notion that African history is to be explained largely in the context of Africans responding to the impulse originating outside the continent.

“I don’t necessarily mean actions by non-African states. In theory, the collapse of the Nigerian state of Oyo in the early 19th century would be a great test of the narrow corridor: in its place emerged a set of city states that experimented with their own types of government, all built on a roughly similar Yoruba society – federalism in Abeokuta, military dictatorship in Ijaiye, constitutional monarchy in Epe. But we will never get to observe how these different starting conditions led to different paths relative to the narrow corridor; these states were at war with each other for more than half a century. Whether they continued to exist depended on how successful they were in battle against each other. A historically accurate model of the emergence of weak and strong states would have an external rival state as another player who might intervene to weaken the state if it gets either too powerful or too weak. African states have their own internal dynamics, but in an ‘R-squared’ sense, you won’t explain much of the variance without including external actors.”

VI

Acemoglu emerges holding a remote control. He pauses the conversation and rewinds it: “A historically accurate model of the emergence of weak and strong states would have –”

You’re not allowed to break the rules. I’m sorry. You don’t have a coherent critique of our book. All you have is a laundry list of ‘other explanations of the state’ that you have picked up from other scholars, and that you haven’t bothered to check for their internal consistency. You have no theoretical model of the state in your mind, only a loose collection of a-theoretic treatment effects. Remember what I said about models of economic growth? It is only by formulating parsimonious models of economic growth and confronting them with data that we can gain a better understanding of both the proximate and the fundamental causes of economic growth. The same is true of liberty. As Ohanian likes to say, economic models are like mules: they’re stubborn. They force you to be explicit in setting out the assumptions needed for a prediction. You’re just telling us a bunch of disconnected stories without any discipline over your assumptions. You’re missing the point of the book. It isn’t only about building states; it’s about building liberty. The point is not to provide a complete theory of all states, or even to provide a theory that has a high ‘R-squared’ when taken to data. The point is to provide a coherent theory that can explain how the dynamic between the state and society works in many cases. That is all the book is trying to deliver, and it delivers it well.”

Note

1

I am grateful to Monik, in all her forms, for her comments. Any statements that are not quotations and that are attributed to real persons are speculative fiction.

Conflict of interest

The author declares that there is no conflict of interest.

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IV

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V

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VI

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