Good news. Dani Rodrik tells us that a new book co-authored by Hoover Institution and Washington University's Douglass North is soon to be published. It goes by the lofty title, A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Human History
Written with Stanford's Barry Weingast, the book was ths subject of a two-day colloquium hosted by Harvard's Institute for Quantitative Social Science. PDFs of most of the chapters are available to download. Rodrik writes of the forthcoming work:
The book's focus is on two fundamental modes of social organization, which the authors call the Natural State and the Open-Access Order. The first of these appeared about 10,000 years ago and characterizes not only most of recorded human history, but also most of today's countries. It is a system where a small group of elites--the authors emphasize that the multiplicity of elites is important--reach a modus vivendi whereby they agree to create and distribute rents among themselves.
Only about 25 countries and 15 percent of the world's population live in open-access societies, according to the authors. Open-access orders are based on competition--both in economics and in politics--and use the threat of entry to regulate social, economic, and political relations.
The authors emphasize that much of social science today goes astray because it tries to fit all countries under the same theoretical construct. Instead, they argue, you must understand that the logic of these two systems are fundamentally different.