“Politics is about doing what your constituents want.”

According to political scientist and New York University Professor Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, that’s just how politics works. A consultant to the CIA and the Department of Defense, Bueno de Mesquita has built complex political algorithms based on this principle — developing mathematical analyses that draw on the logic of self-interest to predict civil wars, coup d’etats, purges, and political reforms. His upcoming book, co-authored with Alastair Smith, offers a new theory on why revolutions happen, and why politicians act the way they do.

Bueno de Mesquita joins The IVY Podcast to discuss the influence of self-interest on politics — from the level of the individual voter to the federal government. His insights provide clarity on the Trump administration’s current actions, and why a U.S. President may have no real political incentive to act in the interest of all Americans. He also offers a solution for improving governance that would use computer programs to ensure partisanship is equally distributed throughout the nation’s congressional districts.

Please enjoy our conversation with Bruce Bueno de Mesquita.

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