Sep 12, 2011

The institutional economics of "The Lord of the Rings" (Part 2 of 5)

This is based on pages 100-200 of the "Fellowship of the Ring (Houghton Mifflin: 1994):"
  • The democratic institutional system lost its prevalence the farther away one moved from Hobbiton. Trust also diminished. The Bucklanders for example kept their doors locked after dark, which was not usual in The Shire. He or She who was the most powerful ruled. 
  • Private property remained at the margins of The Shire. It is likely that private property was enforced by the owner's power only. 
  • There is no evidence of provision of public goods.
  • What was the political order in the places beyond The Shire? Tom Bombadil for example was the master of the Old Forest -- although "things in the forest own themselves," his authority came from his power and knowledge. Tom Bombadil was a benevolent dictator. "Tom is not master of Riders from the Black Land far beyond his country." Tom was more powerful than Great Willow who also lived in the Old Forest (his heart was rotten). 
  • Tom was not tempted by the ring. He was the eldest. He was before the Dark Lord. 
  • Middle Earth is a territory of different islands of power, archipelagos of different orders.
  • Frodo was humble, follows advice, and was a leader. Its leadership comes from his wisdom. Possessing the ring and being Bilbo's inheritor also gave him leadership. Gandalf gave authority to him as well. 
  • Sauron was a despotic dictator whose evil power was displacing people. 
  • Cooperation emerged among the Hobbits and Elves against the power of Sauron. Having a common enemy in this case generated cooperation. 
  • An informal rule: "Some things are ill to hear when the word's in shadow."

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