Rationalizing Capitalist Democracy: The Cold War Origins of Rational Choice Liberalism
by S.M. Amadae
University of Chicago Press, 2003
eISBN: 978-0-226-01655-9 | Cloth: 978-0-226-01653-5 | Paper: 978-0-226-01654-2
Library of Congress Classification HM495.A46 2003
Dewey Decimal Classification 301.01
Reference metadata exposed for Zotero via unAPI.
“[Amadae] explains how the RAND Corporation's systems analysis and rational policy analysis became normative standards in governmental decision making. There are arresting insights into the whole ensemble of defense establishment leaders and institutions. . . . This is . . . a sophisticated, substantive, and balanced interpretation. Readers will come away from this book with a nuanced and enhanced understanding of many vital and enduring themes in contemporary political thought. This is an exemplary study in modern intellectual history. It is well positioned to reconfigure the contours of the rational choice theory landscape and its legacy.”
About six or seven years ago there was a "technological breakthrough" at The RAND Corporation in the art of doing Systems Analysis.
[I]n the last few years war and defense have immensely stimulated the search for social as well as technological devices of social control, as is illustrated by the work of the RAND Corporation.
--Robert Dahl and Charles Lindblom
A particular problem for modern democracies... is the predominant response they give to their electoral constituencies.... The classical liberal model of the democratic state, therefore, is not particularly reassuring at present technology levels.Part 1 of this book investigates the critical role of the archetypal Cold War institution, the RAND Corporation, in the post -World War II emergence of rational choice. Understanding the forces leading to the development of rational choice theory requires contextualizing its interrelationships with the imperatives of the Cold War national security state. It is not possible to draw a line clearly separating rational policy analysis and rational choice theory. Game theory was rescued from academic oblivion by its active development at RAND for its potential relevance to problems of nuclear strategy. Kenneth Arrow's Social Choice and Individual Values was inspired by a research question pertaining to predicting collective outcomes for the Soviet Union. William Riker's ambitious program of positive political theory was partially inspired by two RAND theorists' research into a mathematically defined "power index."