Past Event

Daron Acemoğlu - The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies and the Fate of Liberty

December 20, 2019
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Boğaziçi University, Albert Long Hall

About the Talk

Liberty is hardly the natural order of things. In most places and at most times, the strong have dominated the weak and human freedom has been quashed by force or by customs and norms. Either states have been too weak to protect individuals from these threats, or states have been too strong for people to protect themselves from despotism. Liberty emerges only when a delicate and precarious balance is struck between state and society, and when this happens, a narrow corridor is opened, where states are induced to provide the services society demands and people are organized to control and cut to size their politicians and leaders. There is a Western myth that political liberty is a durable construct, arrived at by a process of enlightenment and protected by well-designed constitutions. This talk will explain why protecting liberty is much harder, how institutions bolstering liberty evolve, why society's involvement and rebellion is critical, how institutions can be molded to protect liberty, and why we are going through a period of danger for liberty.

About the Speaker

Daron Acemoglu is an Institute Professor at MIT and an elected fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, the Turkish Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Econometric Society, the European Economic Association, and the Society of Labor Economists. He is the author of five books, including Why Nations Fail: Power, Prosperity, and Poverty and The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies, and the Fate of Liberty (both with James A. Robinson). His academic work covers a wide range of areas, including political economy, economic development, economic growth, inequality, labor economics and economics of networks.
Daron Acemoglu has received the inaugural T. W. Schultz Prize from the University of Chicago in 2004, and the inaugural Sherwin Rosen Award for outstanding contribution to labor economics in 2004, Distinguished Science Award from the Turkish Sciences Association in 2006, the John von Neumann Award, Rajk College, Budapest in 2007, the Carnegie Fellowship in 2017, the Jean-Jacques Laffont Prize in 2018, and the Global Economy Prize in 2019.

He was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal in 2005, the Erwin Plein Nemmers Prize in 2012, and the 2016 BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award. He holds Honorary Doctorates from the University of Utrecht, Boğaziçi University, University of Athens, Bilkent University, the University of Bath, the Ecole Normale Superieure, Saclay Paris, and the London Business School.

About the Kapuscinski Lectures

Top global thinkers discuss development. The series ‘Kapuscinski Development Lectures’ named after Ryszard Kapuscinski, a Polish reporter and writer who covered developing countries, is organized jointly by the European Commission, the United Nations Development Programme and partner universities and development think-tanks. Since 2009, over 80 lectures gathered more than 25.000 participants. The lectures are live-streamed at and their content is shared on this website.

The doors will open at 17:00. Please arrive early as the Eventbrite RSVP does not guarantee a seat. There will be overflow seating with live-streaming for those unable to sit in Albert Long Hall. The event will be simultaneously translated into Turkish, and live-streamed in English at our social media channels. We will be scanning the QR code from the Eventbrite tickets so either have it open on your phone or bring a print-out in order to enter the building.

Etkinlik günü kapılar saat 17:00’de açılacak. Etkinliğe kayıt yaptırmış olmanın koltuk garanti etmediğini hatırlatmak isteriz, bu nedenle etkinlik günü mekana erken gelmenizi öneririz. Albert Long Hall'de yer kalmaması durumunda AHL'nin alt katında bulunan Kriton Curi Salonun'da canlı yayın üzerinden konuşmayı izleyebilirsiniz. Etkinlik boyunca simultane çeviri hizmeti sağlanacaktır ve sosyal medya hesaplarımızdan da konuşma canlı olarak yayımlanacaktır. Etkinlik günü, AHL’nin kapısında bilet kontrolü yapılacaktır. Lütfen Eventbrite üzerinden yapmış olduğunuz kaydın kontrol edilebilmesi için biletinizin çıktısını ya da telefonunuzda bulunan QR kodunu hazır bulundurunuz.