Mercatus Center at George Mason University for providing financial support. I also appreciate the comments, suggestions and encouragement of Paul Dragos Aligica, Peter Boettke, Richard Wagner, and participants of the HCS Circle. Failure to incorporate all of their insights, and remaining errors of content and delivery are my own responsibility. If we define institutions as the rules of the game (North 1990), it can be hard to separate the cause and effect between individual beliefs and cultural context. I utilise “Cultural Theory ” (Thompson, Ellis and Wildavsky 1990) which creates a typology of needs and resources, and four logical strategies that derive from an individual’s expectation about their ability to manage their situation. We can classify the possible strategies as “individualist”, “egalitarian”, “hierarchical ” and “fatalist”. These ideal-types are used to bolster the economics of epistemics, expectations and institutions; and create implications for development economics, theories of the firm, and capital theory. The implication is that solutions should be seen as emergent (rather than exported), and permitting a free flow of competing ideas is more optimal than imposing constructed institutions
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