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Pluralism

Attorneys Appearing in Court

Why do some nations fail, while others succeed? Can we trace what changes occured from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire, to the Fall? Does the success of a nation depend on its geographical location, on it’s religion, it’s customs, on it’s systems of education or governance? In their fascinating book, “Why Nations Fail”, Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson argue that inclusivity is the most important factor in determining how well a country will fare.

The book goes into countless examples of societies that differ mostly in how inclusive their institutions are, and goes to show that the countries where more people are participating in democratic and economic activity are those that tend to succeed the most. In the case of Venice and Rome, they show how as the inclusivity of the society began to degrade, the society itself became less successful. The reason inclusivity is so important? The more control people feel they have over their private property, the more likely they are to innovate. Before patents, it would be unwise for an inventor to put time, effort and resource into creating something new; it could simply be stolen from them, perhaps by force, and duplicated. They wouldn’t be able to taste the fruits of their labour. Authoritarian leaders will also shy away from new technologies, as adopting them could create a new balance of power unfavourable to their rule.

We can see how this theory plays out practically in modern day feminism. A reduction in the gap between the number of men and women working plays out as economic growth; the more women are included, the better a country’s GDP. The same is true for women becoming educated. Remarkably, the more educated women are, the lower the child mortality rate. Inclusivity leads to better, healthier, more productive societies.

The authors are quick to note that the inclusivity we enjoy today was not so easy to come by, and it certainly didn’t appear because of benevolent rulers who believed in the power of the human spirit. In North America, inclusivity chiefly appeared because of the long distance between Britain and the New World; additionally, the authors speculate that because First Nations people were impossible to subjugate, it was difficult to create an indentured class. Though they tragically began enslaving people to extract resources, the economy actually boomed where slavery ended; compare the North and South during the Civil War.

The reason this is all pertinent to us is that the rule of law is absolutely key to maintaining a pluralistic, inclusive society. When our rulers are held to different standards than the people, our systems can become tools by which the ruling class can extract wealth from those “beneath” them. As an attorney, then, you are doing your part to create a better society for all people. While the ruling class might want to create extractive institutions, by following the law and serving your clients with all your heart and soul, you do your part to keep our world a bit more inclusive, and a bit happier. When you can’t make an appearance, don’t worry; court appearance professionals are available to take some of the weight off of your shoulders.