The late economist Mancur Olson, in his classic study "The Rise and Decline of Nations," warned that advanced democracies eventually grow encrusted with powerful interest groups that hijack government to serve their narrow economic ends. Inefficiency reigns. Growth languishes. . . .
Is there a way to break this fatal interest-group stranglehold? Olson said war or depression could wipe society's slate clean, but that's a bit grim as a strategy. The better path is to promote entrepreneurial innovation and harness capitalism's bottomless capacity for finding new ways to deliver more for less.