Who am I and what’s the blog about?
I’m a Ph.D. student studying government and international affairs. Between Interests & Ideas focuses on political economy and wealth in society, but I do write on all things political. I post once or twice a week, when I can find the time from my research. I do encourage comments and welcome interested readers to follow the blog. If you would like for me to write on a particular issue, just let me know.
What’s the inspiration for this blog?
It’s widely understood in politics and economics that the powerful get what they want. Harold Laswell defined politics as “who gets what, when, and how.” Since then, much of the social sciences have focused on, and justifiably so, the role that powerful interests play in the creation, organization, and preservation of rules and order in society. For example, business regulations are partly shaped by the interests of Corporate America. Tax policies are amenable to the interests of the wealthy. Political campaigns are won primarily through contributions which reflect the interests of its donors.
Indeed, much of politics is about asserting one’s will, but reducing it exclusively to a struggle for power ignores the fundamental role that ideas play in shaping interests. Common interests are organized either around tapestries of shared ideas or against backdrops of opposing ones. However, while interests are shaped and organized around ideas, ideas are, in turn, shaped and organized by interests – you can’t understand one without understanding the other.
A complete understanding of history’s prevailing paradigms, then, requires unraveling these messy relationships and exploring the space between interests and ideas.