Organizations, Civil Society, and the Roots of Development

John Joseph Wallis
Modern developed nations are rich and politically stable in part because their citizens are free to form organizations and have access to the relevant legal resources. Yet in spite of the advantages of open access to civil organizations, it is estimated that eighty percent of people live in countries that do not allow unfettered access. Why have some countries disallow the formation of organizations as part of their economic and political system?
The contributions to Organizations, Civil Society, and the Roots of Development seek to answer this question through an exploration of how developing nations throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany, made the transition to allowing their citizens the right to form organizations. The transition, contributors show, was not an easy one. Neither political changes brought about by revolution nor subsequent economic growth led directly to open access. In fact, initial patterns of change were in the opposite direction, as political coalitions restricted access to specific organizations for the purpose of maintaining political control. Ultimately, however, it became clear that these restrictions threatened the foundation of social and political order. Tracing the path of these modern civil societies, Organizations, Civil Society, and the Roots of Development is an invaluable contribution to all interested in today’s developing countries and the challenges they face in developing this organizational capacity.