I have a deep dispute, though with (I think) the whole crowd of formalists.
The Aretae model of the world has
- Economic Growth as the god-metric, because it buys whatever folks want
- no clubbing baby seals,
- environmental benefits
- enhanced liberty,
- avoiding the riff-raff.
- Hot cars and fast women
- Economic Growth is caused almost exclusively by disruptive innovation.
- The Rich care (almost) exclusively about social position, not absolute wealth (Envy>Greed).
- The only way to maintain social position (in economic reality) is to avoid disruptive innovation
- All politics is coalitional.
- The coalition can be (almost correctly) claimed to be a coalition of the currently rich.
- The coalitional nature of government is therefore primarily interested (in effect) at stopping innovation.
- General Motors
- Microsoft's Patent Strategy
I think that this line of reasoning ... the awareness of the importance of generating scarcity as a (the only important) political goal ... is at least a strong challenge to the formalist conception of a $-based patronage system. The rich (0.1%) don't need money. They need to stop the inventors from breaking their business model, and becoming even richer themselves. Therefore...the only governmental coalitions that (can?) succeed in a stable state are ones that work to stop innovation.
On the other hand...if the state is unstable...and there is a perceived outside danger...Then the coalition members may be more concerned by the external threat than the internal threats...which would lead to lower disruption of innovation in at least some cases.
Aretae theory therefore says that the only way to get econ growth/tech innovation is to avoid large central power structures. IF there is a large central power structure, you're just screwed...full stop...no $200. Balanced powers that internal actors are afraid of are the only path. Hyper-federalism, or else small states....or prepare to decline.