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The Idea Team
Shozo Iijima
* Ph.D.(Political Science) , University of Chicago
* "An Interpretation of Spinoza's Ethics: Order, Reason, and Freedom (I) - (V)" Waseda Political Studies, 2001
The various political and economic institutions that both protect and constrain our everyday lives can function effectively only with the support of people acting in accordance with certain sets of values and principles. By the same token, institutions that purport to guarantee equality of social participation do not function efficiently if citizens refuse to accept those who differ from themselves. Open political and economic systems require people to adopt values and principles that are correspondingly open in nature.

The goal of the Idea Team is to develop principles that underpin societal formation at a time when globalization is increasing rapidly. We intend to propose evaluative standards for political-economic systems based on a new concept of "the public" applicable to open societies. To that end, we plan to examine the way in which the idea of the public has been interpreted within the disciplines of political science, economics, and law, and also to explore the role that "the public" has been expected to play in the design of political and economic institutions. In addition, by means of case studies and the application of experimental approaches, we hope to construct a typology of the principles necessary to design institutions and to establish standards for choosing from among different principles. We believe that this work will enable us to construct a new paradigm of normative theories within the discipline of political economy.


Project 1: A Dialogue Among Political Science, Economics, and Law
A high degree of coordination among the fields of political science, economics, and law is essential if we are to design institutions capable of addressing the fresh array of problems that have arisen in the wake of globalization. Up to now, however, very little dialogue among these fields has taken place concerning the principles of institutional design. This project takes as its goal the construction of a common basis for cross-disciplinary communication. By increasing mutual understanding among specialists in these fields through the sponsorship of joint research projects and symposia, we intend to suggest new methods for the design of political-economic institutions.
Project 2: An Experimental Approach to Political-Economic Principles
How do people decide what modes of distribution are just? The debate over distributive justice from the standpoints of moral philosophy and social choice has grown quite active in recent years. But in order to supplement deductive research along these lines, it is also necessary to carry out inductive studies concerning the ways people actually perceive distribution as being just or fair. This project aims to identify people's attitudes toward fairness by conducting a series of political-economic experiments.
Project 3: Regulation in Modern Society -- The Case of Communications
New issues concerning regulation in modern society have arisen in the context of the complex interaction that takes place among politics, the economy, and law. Particularly in the area of communications, rapid technological advances have necessitated a fundamental reassessment of the existing rationales for regulation. This project will examine the potential for shaping a new understanding of the concept of regulation through a multifaceted approach that incorporates such perspectives as freedom of expression, the public, efficiency, and fairness.
Koichi Suga Norikazu Kawagishi Hiroshi Nishihara Kazumi Shimizu Naoyuki Umemori
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