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Author Schrad, Mark Lawrence

Title The political power of bad ideas : networks, institutions, and the global prohibition wave / Mark Lawrence Schrad

Publ Info Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2010
 RWU Main Library  JF1525.P6 S37 2010    AVAILABLE
Descript ix, 302 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
text rdacontent
unmediated rdamedia
volume rdacarrier
Note Includes bibliographical references and index
Contents The transnational temperance network -- American prohibition reconsidered -- Avoiding the prohibition pitfall in Sweden -- The surprising rise and tenacity of Russian prohibition -- International influences on national alcohol policy making -- Transnational activism and national policy making
Note In The Political Power of Bad Ideas, Mark Schrad looks on an oddity of modern history-the broad diffusion of temperance legislation in the early twentieth century-to make a broad argument about how bad policy ideas achieve international success. His root question is this: how could a bad policy idea-one that was widely recognized by experts as bad before adoption, and which ultimately failed everywhere-come to be adopted throughout the world? To answer it, Schrad uses an institutionalist approach, and focuses in particular on the US, Russia/USSR (ironically, one of the only laws the Soviets kept on the books was the Tsarist temperance law), and Sweden. Conventional wisdom, based largely on the U.S. experience, blames evangelical zealots for the success of the temperance movement. Yet as Schrad shows, "prohibition was adopted in ten countries other than the United States, as well as countless colonial possessions-all with similar disastrous consequences, and in every case followed by repeal." Schrad focuses on the dynamic interaction of ideas and political institutions, tracing the process through which concepts of dubious merit gain momentum and achieve credibility as they wend their way through institutional structures. And while he focuses on one episode, his historical argument applies far more broadly, and even can tell us a great deal about how today's policy failures, such as reasons proffered for invading Iraq, became acceptable
LC subject Policy sciences -- Case studies
Culture diffusion -- Political aspects -- Case studies
Globalization -- Case studies
ISBN 9780195391237 (alk. paper)