Constructing Open Political-Economic Systems
Idea Team: Questioning the Principles Supporting Institutions
Naoyuki Umemori
 Naoyuki Umemori
* Ph.D. (Political Science), University of Chicago
* Umemori Naoyuki, ed., Benedict Anderson on Globalization, Kobunsha, 2007

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 cannot function effectively if citizens refuse to accept those who are different 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 can be used to underpin societal formation at a time when globalization is rapidly advancing. 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 traditionally 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

In order to construct "open political and economic systems," it is necessary to establish a site for mutual communication among the fields of political science, economics, and law while at the same time acknowledging the inherent diversity of values relating to each. This project takes as its goal the laying of a common foundation for encouraging such a cross-disciplinary dialogue. To achieve this goal, we plan to sponsor joint research projects and symposia, and to devise new methods for the design of political-economic institutions.

[Activities/Accomplishments] Sponsorship of a symposium entitled "Toward a Political Economy of Social Justice" as a practical demonstration of an interdisciplinary approach combining political science, economics, and law.
Project 2: An Experimental Approach toPolitical-Economic Principles

What makes people feel that a specific mode of distribution is just? The debate over distributive justice from the viewpoints of moral philosophy and social choice has grown increasingly robust in recent years. But to supplement the deductive research being conducted along these lines, it is also necessary to carry out inductive studies to determine how people actually come to regard distribution as being just or fair, and to shed light on the effects such "value sentiments" have on human behavior. This project aims to identify people's attitudes toward fairness by conducting a series of political-economic experiments.

[Activities/Accomplishments] Surveys conducted to compile a respondents database indexing "value sentiments"; design of an experiment to demonstrate the relations inherent in "altruistic punishment"; design of a survey and experiments based on Computer Assisted Personal Interviews (CAPI); preparation of An Introduction to the Methodology of Political Economy.
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 field of communications, rapid technological advances have necessitated a fundamental reassessment of 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.

[Activities/Accomplishments] Workshop series on freedom of expression as an example of a public commons.
Naoyuki Umemori Koichi Kuriyama Shozo Iijima Norikazu Kawagishi Hiroshi Nishihara Kazumi Shimizu Koichi Suga
Copyright Waseda University, 21coe-glope