The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics

By Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 462

This is the group that actually chooses the leader. In today’s China (as in the old Soviet Union), it consists of all voting members of the Communist Party; in Saudi Arabia’s monarchy it is the senior members of the royal family; in Great Britain, the voters backing members of parliament from the majority party. The most important of these groups is the third, the subset of the real selectorate that makes up a winning coalition. These are the people whose support is essential if a leader is to survive in office.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 471

Fundamentally, the nominal selectorate is the pool of potential support for a leader; the real selectorate includes those whose support is truly influential; and the winning coalition extends only to those essential supporters without whom the leader would be finished. A simple way to think of these groups is: interchangeables, influentials, and essentials.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 482

given the federal structure of American elections, it’s possible to control the executive and legislative branches of government with as little as about one fifth of the vote, if the votes are really efficiently placed.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 522

the term “dictatorship” really means a government based on a particularly small number of essentials drawn from a very large group of interchangeables and, usually, a relatively small batch of influentials. On the other hand, if we talk about democracy, we really mean a government founded on a very large number of essentials and a very large number of interchangeables, with the influential group being almost as big as the interchangeable group.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 606

For example, a married couple in the United States pays no income tax on the first $17,000 they earn. At that same income, a Chinese couple’s marginal tax rate is 45 percent. That

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 678

Rule 1: Keep your winning coalition as small as possible.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 681

Rule 2: Keep your nominal selectorate as large as possible.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 686

Rule 3: Control the flow of revenue.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 690

Rule 4: Pay your key supporters just enough to keep them loyal.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 695

Rule 5: Don’t take money out of your supporter’s pockets to make the people’s lives better.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 757

To come to power a challenger need only do three things. First, he must remove the incumbent. Second, he needs to seize the apparatus of government. Third, he needs to form a coalition of supporters sufficient to sustain him as the new incumbent.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 791

Paying supporters, not good governance or representing the general will, is the essence of ruling.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 808

That’s a good reason to keep terminal illnesses secret since a terminal ailment is bound to provoke an uprising, either within the ranks of the essential coalition or among outsiders who see an opportunity to step in and take control of the palace.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 830

The parliament, while popularly elected, could only contain politicians who would support and be supported by the Council of Guardians.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 996

Leaders, like Liberius, who fail to do the right thing, provide opportunities for someone new to come to power.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 998

Anyone who thinks leaders do what they ought to do—that is, do what is best for their nation of subjects—ought to become an academic rather than enter political life. In politics, coming to power is never about doing the right thing. It is always about doing what is expedient.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1036

This announcement was tantamount to telling his essential supporters that he was getting rid of some of them. Since he did not say who was to go, he created a common interest among the whole group in getting rid of Ahmed Ben Bella.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1044

There is a common adage that politicians don’t change the rules that brought them to power. This is false. They are ever ready and eager to reduce coalition size. What politicians seek to avoid are any institutional changes that increase the number of people to whom they are beholden.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1113

even good public policy does not buy much loyalty. Everyone consumes policy benefits whether they support the incumbent or not.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1133

Divide and conquer is a terrific principle for coming to power in a democracy—and

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1182

But if the incumbent is known to be dying, takes too much for himself, chooses the wrong policies, or is seen to have only weak loyalty from his critical backers, then the door swings wide open for a challenger to step in and depose the incumbent.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1194

the rules for surviving in power do not always resemble the skills necessary for ruling well.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1229

Who makes up the essentials in a corporation? The coalition typically includes no more than a few people in senior management and the members of the board of directors. These directors are drawn from a mix of senior management in the company, large institutional shareholders, handpicked friends and relatives of the CEO (generally described as civic leaders, no doubt), and the CEO herself.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1297

And the disgruntled board members, heavily invested as they were in HP’s stock value, could not be mollified with private rewards.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1321

Clearly something was up: HP’s stock price performance was poor; dividends were steady; and directors’ pay doubled.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1330

Nor could Fiorina mollify HP’s large shareholders on the board with better board compensation, since their welfare depended on producing the “public good” of greater returns to shareholders.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1341

This is the essential lesson of politics: in the end ruling is the objective, not ruling well.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1344

doing a good job is not enough to ensure political survival. That is true whether one is running a business, a charity, or a national government. How

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1349

The three most important characteristics of a coalition are: (1) Loyalty; (2) Loyalty; (3) Loyalty. Successful leaders surround themselves with trusted friends and family, and rid themselves of any ambitious supporters.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1394

What we can begin to appreciate is that no matter how well a tyrant builds his coalitions, it is important to keep the coalition itself off-balance. Familiarity

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1397

Rigged elections are not about picking leaders. They are not about gaining legitimacy. How can an election be legitimate when its outcome is known before the vote even occurs? Rigged elections are a warning to powerful politicians that they are expendable if they deviate from the leader’s desired path.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

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For instance, leaders can restrict who is eligible and registered to vote and who is

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1482

Since democracies typically work out myriad ways to make cheating difficult, politicians in power in democracies have innovated any number of perfectly legal means to ensure their electoral victories and their continued

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1517

the reality is that the incumbent CCM party can sustain itself in office with as little as 5 percent of the vote.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1546

Bloc voting takes seemingly democratic institutions and makes them appear like publicly traded companies. Every voter or share has a nominal right to vote, but effectively all the power lies with a few key actors who can control the votes of large numbers of shares

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1596

If gerrymandering isn’t an option, then other rule changes can be instituted, such as prohibiting rallies—in the name, of course, of public safety.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1635

Each faction was able to extract enough resources to buy support in a small region, but no one could control the state as a whole.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1674

Economists often like to express taxation and economic activity in terms of pies—when taxes are low, they say, the people work hard to enlarge the pie, but the government only gets a thin slice of the pie.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1742

For every dollar increase in tax per person, Rizzo would have had up to $100 of services and payments he could transfer to each coalition member. Had his coalition been composed of half of Bell’s residents, each dollar increase in tax would provide only $2 per coalition member for transfers and services. It is easy to see why the coalition would sooner endorse higher taxes in the former setup than the latter.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1847

For many leaders, corruption is not something bad that needs to be eliminated. Rather it is an essential political tool. Leaders implicitly or sometimes even explicitly condone corruption. Effectively they license the right to extract bribes from the citizens.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1859

In a phenomenon often called the resource curse, nations with readily extractable natural resources systematically underperform nations without such resources.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1879

This is not so much a failing of these companies as the way business must be conducted in countries whose leaders rely on a few cronies to back them up. A company that acts responsibly will necessarily have less money to deliver to the government and that will be enough for them to be replaced by another company that is willing to be more “cooperative.”

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1898

The easiest way to incentivize the leader to liberalize policy is to force him to rely on tax revenue to generate funds. Once this happens, the incumbent can no longer suppress the population because the people won’t work if he does.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1907

Borrowing is a wonderful thing for leaders. They get to spend the money to make their supporters happy today, and, if they are sensible, set some aside for themselves. Unless they are fortunate enough to survive in office for a really long time, repaying today’s loan will be another leader’s problem. Autocratic leaders borrow as much as they can, and democratic leaders are enthusiastic borrowers as well.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1931

Heavy borrowing is a feature of small coalition settings. It is not the result, as some economists argue, of ignorance of basic economics by third-world leaders.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1953

With sovereign lending to countries, however, creditors cannot repossess property. On

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1956

In practice, the only leverage lenders have over nations is to cut them off from future credit.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1958

However, once the value of access to credit is worth less than the cost of servicing the debt then leaders should default.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1959

If they don’t then surely a challenger will come along who will offer to do so.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1967

They liberalize, opening the door to a more democratic, representative and accountable government only when they have no other path to save themselves from being deposed today.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1973

people who argue for debt forgiveness construct their arguments in terms of how they think the world should operate, rather than how it actually works.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 1998

As we’ll see a little later, financial crises are one of the important reasons leaders are compelled to democratize. Debt reduction, however, relieves financial pressure and enables autocrats to stay in office without reform, continuing to make the lives of their subjects miserable.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 2017

Leaders tax because they need to spend on their coalition.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 2068

As we have noted, it is okay for a leader to spend her pot of discretionary money on trying to bring the good life to her citizenry. By definition, discretionary money is money that is not required to keep the coalition loyal; the coalition has already been paid off before any resources become discretionary.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 2078

Many distinguished economists, even quite a few with the Nobel Prize under their belts, are convinced that the best way to promote democracy is by promoting prosperity. That is why whenever they see an economic crisis looming on the horizon, such as a government so indebted that it is on the verge of default and bankruptcy, they call for debt forgiveness, new loans, lots of foreign aid, and other economic fixes.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 2081

They resist the cry of people like us who demand improved governance before any bailout money is offered up to rescue a troubled autocratic economy.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 2127

But dependence on a large coalition of essentials is a powerful explanation of quality of life even when wealth is absent, just as it seems to be a harbinger of future wealth.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 2133

From a leader’s point of view, the most important function of the people is to pay taxes.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 2259

Being rich does facilitate saving babies’ lives but not as much as being democratic!

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 2320

when an autocrat needs a road to the airport (a good route of escape) he can just confiscate people’s property, making the road as straight and as quickly traveled as possible.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 2430

Each of these examples of natural disasters tells a variation upon the same story. When governments depend on many essentials, they need to allocate the government’s resources and provide valuable public goods like reliable building codes, relief efforts to rescue the victims of disaster, and, when possible, protective barriers like levees and dikes to forestall disaster.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 2456

Indeed, it could well be the case that there are many candidates for high office who pursue power with the intention of being benevolent leaders. The problem is that doing what is best for the people can be awfully bad for staying in power.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 2468

Successful leaders must place the urge to do good deeds a distant third behind their own political survival and their degree of discretionary control. Private goods are the benefits that most help rulers keep coalition loyalty. It is only the private gains that separate the essentials from the masses.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 2579

But it is much tougher to get people to engage in truly nasty behavior in a large-coalition environment than it is in a small one even if the totals spent on private gains are equal.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 2703

That, in a nutshell, is what private rewards are all about—physical and political survival; not larger social objectives.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 2738

eager Olympic committees are to control the flow of money and the opportunities for private gains.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 2772

As long as the IOC’s institutions remain as they are, vote buying and graft will persist because it is the “right” strategy for any IOC president who wants to survive.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 2775

When billions of dollars are at stake and winning requires the support of a mere 58 people, any nation that relies solely on the quality of its sporting bid will be a loser.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 2805

As the number of supporters needed increases, private goods become less important. Bribery could easily be made a thing of the past by simply expanding the IOC.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 2876

It is fine for leaders to enrich the people’s lives, but it has to come out of the leader’s pocket, not the coalition’s.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 2994

Legal approaches to eliminating corruption won’t ever work, and can often make the situation worse.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3064

To take just one prominent example, the United States gave Pakistan $6.6 billion in military aid to combat the Taliban between 2001 and 2008. Only $500 million is estimated to have ever reached the army.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3112

Yes, it is true that a lot of aid is given to corrupt governments but that is by design, not by accident or out of ignorance.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3115

The fact is, aid does a little bit of good in the world and vastly more harm. Unless and until it is restructured, aid will continue to be a force for evil with negative consequences—moreover it will continue to be promoted by well-meaning citizens who in making themselves feel good are blinded to the harm they are inflicting on many poor people who deserve a better lot in life.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3174

Buying policy from a democracy is expensive because many people need to be compensated for their dislike of the policy. Buying policies from autocracies is quite a bit easier.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3208

changing the negative attitude toward Israel in Egypt would just reduce the amount of aid the Egyptian government could extract from the United States.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3253

By February 2010 they had captured the number two Taliban leader, but, as we should expect, they have also been careful not to wipe out the Taliban threat. Doing so would just lead to a termination of US funds.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3319

pedestrians were more likely to get killed in crosswalks than anywhere else.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3341

A UNSC seat gives leaders valuable favors to sell in the form of their vote on the Security Council, and the aid they receive results in worse performance for their economy.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3344

Membership on the UNSC gives national leaders a say in formulating global policy. Many leaders, particularly those from autocratic nations, appear to prefer to sell this influence rather than exercise it on behalf of their people’s interests.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3359

is perhaps ironic that while aid affords the resources to alleviate poverty and promote economic growth, it creates the political incentives to do just the opposite.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3403

Remember that NGOs are most successful at providing basic public goods like primary education and basic health care—services even autocrats want.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3404

When aid funds are used to substitute for government spending, then few, maybe even no one, has actually been helped unless the government uses the freed-up money for other projects of benefit to the general population.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3436

Rather than helping out, the wealthy tourists who took up paintbrushes made some worker worse off.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3462

Charity Navigator,

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3500

His survival depends upon paying off the few rather than protecting the many. Aid incentivizes autocratic leaders to fail to fix problems.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3568

Democrats deliver what the people want. Because they have to stand for election and reelection, democrats are impatient.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3635

Thus it is that middle-of-the-road dictators, like Cuba’s Fulgencio Batista, Tunisia’s Ben Ali, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, the Soviet Union’s Gorbachev (but not Stalin) are more likely to experience a mass uprising than their worst fellow autocrats.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3660

In each case, coalition support evaporated at the key moment because the leader could no longer promise his or her supporters an adequate flow of rewards to justify their undertaking the dirty work required to keep the regime in place.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3665

Revolutionary movements may seem spontaneous but we really need to understand that they arise when enough citizens believe they have a realistic chance of success.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3669

A prudent dictator nips rebellion in the bud.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3698

With little chance of success, the people keep their heads down. Protest is rare and answered with even greater repression. But what happens if the money dries up?

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3711

How much a leader does to enhance the welfare of the people by providing public goods determines the desire of the people to rebel. The level of freedom determines the ease with which they can act upon these desires by taking to the streets.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3915

Democratic revolutions are most often fought by people who cannot count on great natural resource wealth to sustain them once they overthrow the predecessor regime.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3955

Russia is awash in oil wealth. During Putin’s time, unlike poor Gorbachev’s, oil prices were at record highs so he could pay key backers to help him quash opposition, and possibly even have enough extra money from oil to keep the people happy enough that they don’t rebel against their loss of freedom.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 3958

Economic necessity is one factor that produces such a concession. Another is coming to power already on the back of a large coalition. This was George Washington’s, Nelson Mandela’s, and Jawaharlal Nehru’s circumstance. For different reasons, each started

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4033

J.J. was between a rock and a hard place. He needed money and the only place left to get it was to encourage the people to get back to work.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4041

No leader voluntarily increases the number of people to whom he is beholden unless he thinks that doing so will help him stay in power.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4220

With these numbers in mind, we see that the potential value of private rewards taken from the military budget for government supporters in Israel would have been less than $60 a head ($381 million in military expenditures x 10 percent for private rewards/650,000 coalition members = $58.62 per coalition member). Each member of Israel’s coalition could have had a choice: take the private reward or agree to put that money toward the war effort.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4238

Levi Eshkol faced no such problem. His supporters were much more likely to place a value on victory that was greater than $58.62.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4314

Foreign aid buys policy concessions; war imposes them. Either way, this also means that democrats, eager as they are to deliver desired policies to the folks back home, would much prefer to impose a compliant dictator (surely with some bogus trappings of democracy like elections that ensure the outcome desired by the democrat) than take their chances on the policies adopted by a democrat who must answer to her own domestic constituents.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4385

Naturally the common people don’t want war. . . . But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament or a communist dictatorship.... All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.13 Goring is right.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4535

However, the inherent problem with change is that improving life for one group generally means making at least one other person worse off, and that other person is likely to be a leader if change really will solve the people’s problems. If the individual harmed by change is the ruler or the CEO—the same person who has to initiate the changes in the first place—then we can be confident that change is never going to happen.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4545

A fix is not a fix unless it can actually be done!

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4553

Appeals to ideological principles and rights are generally a cover.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4631

The essential facts of political life are that people do what is best for them. Thus, except under extreme duress, leaders don’t expand the coalition; the masses press for democratization; and essential supporters vary in what they want.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4691

The ownership rules preclude a small clique taking control of the team. No one is allowed to own more than 200,000 shares in the Packers and there are about 4.75 million shares outstanding.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4721

None of that, of course, will stop shareholder control once the millions of little owners have a cheap and easy way to exchange views. Then they will set the rules—by majority vote—for who casts proxies.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4781

States with bigger coalitions simply did better.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4785

The Supreme Court insists on the principle of one-person, one-vote and that is an excellent guideline. But it is a principle so easily distorted as to make congressional elections almost a farce except under extreme conditions. This is true for the simple reason that it is politicians in state legislatures who get to draw up congressional district boundaries. Shockingly enough, they design the boundaries to make it easier for their party to win.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4788

Gerrymandering is especially pernicious because it translates into two conflicting consequences. The average American is greatly dissatisfied with the job that Congress does and the average American is happy with his or her member of Congress.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4791

content. But this is a great perversion of governance. A small coalition of state legislators pick their voters instead of millions of voters picking their representatives. When politicians pick who votes for them it comes as no surprise that politicians are easily reelected and barely held accountable.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4836

Because the size of the winning coalition in democracies is tied, at least indirectly, to how many people can vote, this also means that immigration expands the coalition.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4871

Revolution, however, neither comes to those most deprived of freedom nor to those who are already free. It is most likely in the great in between.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4877

Hosni Mubarak ran an oppressive, often violent regime against his fellow Egyptians, but he never ruled with the iron fist of a world-class oppressor like natural gas–rich Than Shwe or the vicious Cambodian murderer Pol Pot. Mubarak couldn’t afford to. With US aid waning, Mubarak needed tourist revenue more and more and so he showed a modicum of restraint.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4880

No such restraint was seen in Libya, where oil dollars provided Qaddafi with ample funds to buy mercenary soldiers who did not hesitate to slaughter rebels seeking to overthrow the colonel’s regime.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4884

Any profound economic strain will do just fine in turning thought to liberalization provided the strain is so deep that there isn’t enough money around to buy political loyalty.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4907

Democratization does not require a leader to be benevolent; such leaders are hard to come by, and often misguided. Rawlings was a “reluctant democrat,” but he became a democrat nevertheless.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4909

Rawlings first went cap in hand looking for an international backer. Only when that failed did he embark on market reforms.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4946

Some victims are bound to resent that the perpetrator of heinous acts goes unpunished. Unfortunately, the alternative is to leave the dictator with few options but to gamble on holding onto power through further murderous acts.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4955

Muammar Qadaffi had none of these opportunities and so faced a stark choice: live the life of the hunted or fight to the death. He chose the latter, to the detriment of the Libyan people and anyone who values humanity.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4976

There’s no reason to impede the opportunity to vote or to cheat when counting votes if, for instance, a regime first bans parties that might be real rivals, or if a government sets up campaign constraints that make it easy for the government’s party to tell its story and makes it impossible for the opposition to do the same.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 4999

Many will conclude that it is cruel and insensitive to cut way back on foreign aid. They will tell us that all the money spent on aid is worth it if just one child is helped. They will forget to ask how many children are condemned to die of neglect because, in the process of helping a few, aid props up leaders who look after the people only after they have looked after themselves and their essential backers, if at all.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 5021

When a foreign people are aligned against our best interest, our best chance of getting what we want is to keep them under the yoke of an oppressor who is willing to do what we, the people, want.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 5030

Every government and every organization that relies on a small coalition eventually erodes its own productivity and entrepreneurial spirit so much that it faces the risk of collapsing under the weight of its own corruption and inefficiency.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Location: 5043

selectorate theory.

~ The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith