“Democracies are not lucky. They do not attract civic-minded leaders by chance. Rather, they attract survival-oriented leaders who understand that, given their dependence on many essentials, they can only come to and stay in power if they figure out the right basket of public goods to provide.”
In this episode of Made You Think, Nat and Neil are joined by Adil Majid to discuss their key takeaways from The Dictator's Handbook by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita. The Dictator's Handbook delivers five rules for staying in power and succeeding within the political system.
In this episode of Made You Think, we cover a wide range of topics including:
How dictators get in power and stay in power The Selectorate theory Taxation and why leaders are so fond of taxes FIFA, Olympics, and giving bribes for more power Decentralized finance as an alternative to the current financial system
And much more. Please enjoy, and make sure to follow Nat, Neil, and Adil on Twitter and share your thoughts on the episode.
Links from the Episode
Mentioned in the Show
Episode 7: A Crash Course in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cryptocurrency (0:43) Episode 33: An Animal of No Significance: Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari – Part I (1:25) Episode 34: Money, Power, and God: Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari – Part II (1:40) Selectorate theory (4:57) Assets of the Federal Reserve (22:00) Ba'ath Party; Saddam Hussein (29:05) Caliphate (54:11) Arab Spring (1:11:10) Democracy Index 2017 (1:12:28) ConstitutionDAO (1:16:01) Corruption in FIFA (1:15:43) Bribing in Olympics (1:15:43) Marijuana episode (1:24:27) A Tale of Two Talebs (1:33:19) Ledger (1:59:31)
The 48 Laws of Power (2:09) (Nat’s Book Notes) The Sovereign Individual (4:36) (Book Episode) (Nat's Book Notes) Seeing Like a State (4:37) (Nat's Book Notes) Antifragile (1:31:38) (Book Episode) (Nat's Book Notes) The Bitcoin Standard (1:34:26)
Robert Mugabe (10:32) Elizabeth Warren (12:49) Bernie Sanders (12:50) Elon Musk (13:10) Ron DeSantis (15:13) Donald Trump (15:42) Machiavelli (23:45) Fidel Castro (41:41) Che Guevara (41:47) Rasputin (42:48) Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (1:11:40) Julias Caesar (1:21:25) Nassim Taleb (1:32:23) Gary Vaynerchuk (1:33:53)
1:10 Today we are joined by Adil Majid. You may remember him from some of our previous episodes (#7, #33, #34). Today’s book is the Dictator’s Handbook, a book that shares the rules of the game in politics exactly how it is. What we think is good or bad in politics may be the exact opposite.
3:27 Relying on a larger coalition of individuals results in a more equitable and just system. How this idea ties in with decentralized finance.
4:57 Adil talks about the Selectorate theory and the 3 different groups: the nominal selectorate, the real selectorate, and the winning coalition. The primary goal of a leader is to stay in power and to do this, they must keep the support from members of the winning coalition.
9:59 The way our voting system in the U.S. narrows who's vote counts. Politicians can play the game of staying in power by understanding which votes they need.
"When addressing politics, we must accustom ourselves to think and speak about the actions and interests of specific, named leaders rather than thinking and talking about fuzzy ideas like the national interest, the common good, and the general welfare. Once we think about what helps leaders come to and stay in power, we will also begin to see how to fix politics. Politics, like all of life, is about individuals, each motivated to do what is good for them, not what is good for others.”
To stay in power, politicians are not making decisions about general welfare and the common good. Bueno de Mesquita notes that it's all about what's good for them, not for us.
12:33 This brings up the question, why do politicians seem to believe things so extremely? An outside-in approach: A candidate needs to appeal to the extreme th