… is from Elinor Ostrom‘s 2009 Nobel Prize lecture, “Beyond Markets and States: Polycentric Governance of Complex Economic Systems“:
When analysts perceive the human beings they model as being trapped inside perverse situations, they then assume that other human beings external to those involved – scholars and public officials – are able to analyze the situation, ascertain why counterproductive outcomes are reached, and posit what changes in the rules-in-use will enable participants to improve outcomes. Then, external officials are expected to impose an optimal set of rules on those individuals involved. It is assumed that the momentum for change must come from outside the situation rather than from the self-reflection and creativity of those within a situation to restructure their own patterns of interaction.
DBx: The more helpless – the more irrational, irresponsible, rote, impulsive, dull, uninformed, spiteful, impatient, stupidly greedy – ordinary people are assumed to be, the more such people need chosen ones, “leaders,” to save them from each other and from themselves. These “leaders” and their advisors are, of course, assumed to be nearly omniscient and saintly.