Analysis of The Logic of Collective Action Public Goods and The Theory of Groups by Mancur Olson

735 Words3 Pages
Analysis of The Logic of Collective Action Public Goods and The Theory of Groups by Mancur Olson Mancur Olson, wrote The Logic of Collective Action Public Goods and The Theory of Groups, throughout the book Olson discusses such topics rationality, group size and group behaviour, public goods, free rider, collective action problem, and selective incentives. Olson’s world-renowned book is full of useful knowledge and opinion concerning world politics. After reading this valuable text I feel both enlightened and baffled concurrently. Olson’s beliefs in the political system seem to be without the human factor. His theories appear to leave out the complexity of the human psyche. Olson fails to analyze the fact that people may join a political group for such things as social stature, socialization, or just for something to do. In conjuncture with Olson’s theories, people join or start groups for specific reasons. Collective Goods Olson states that one purpose for groups and organizations is simply the “furtherance of the interests of their members” (Olson 5). Groups are usually formed to further an issue or goal, so thus if a group works toward a common interest and is successful in making advancements towards that interest, in theory the members should be pleased. This brings us to the term public or collective goods. A collective good can be construed as a good held by no single person and shared by a group. Olson says, “ . . . the achievement of any common goal or the satisfaction of any common interest means that a public or collective good has been provided for that group” (Olson 15). For example, if the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) lobby for a bill that protects the killing of minks... ... middle of paper ... ...In order to be classified as a free rider that person must not contribute at all to the group while still benefiting that groups collective goods. Conclusion Mancur Olson, wrote this book in 1965 and its knowledge and opinion still proves useful almost 40 years later. Olson’s theories are based on political systems throughout the world but have a focus on U.S. politics. Although through his theories, Olson, neglects to mention the influence of human motivation, and the complexity of the human psyche. Olson’s theories can only be correct to a point because people in general are not as easy to predict. For the most part though Olson has pointed out themes and rationales from U.S. politics, and put them into structured theories. Mancur Olson’s book The Logic of Collective Action Public Goods and The Theory of Groups will be read and studied for years to come.

More about Analysis of The Logic of Collective Action Public Goods and The Theory of Groups by Mancur Olson

Open Document