Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Road not taken_Robert Frost

The Road Not Taken

*Robert Frost 1920

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
*Robert Frost 1874-1963

FTA negotiations Japan-China-Korean

  1. 1. The fourth round of negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) among Japan, China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) was held in Tokyo, Japan from March 4 to 7.

    2. From the Japanese side, Mr. Yasumasa Nagamine, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs (Chief Delegate), and representatives from other relevant ministries attended the meeting. From the Chinese side, Mr. Wang Shouwen, Assistant Minister of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (Chief Delegate), and other representatives attended the meeting. From the Korean side, Mr. Woo Taehee, Assistant Minister for Trade & Chief Negotiator for FTAs, of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea (Chief Delegate), and other representatives attended the meeting.

    3. In this round of negotiations, various areas such as Trade in Goods, Trade in Services, Investment, Competition Policies, amongst others, were discussed.

    4. The three countries will work towards holding the next round of negotiations in China, around summer this year.

on the gap of institutional design and outcomes/effects

By Paul Pierson

Political In Time:History, Institutions, and Social Analysis. 2004. Princeton University Press.

Chapter 4, page 120.

Limitation 6: The Problem of actor discontinuity


Even absent major environmental change, “gaps” may emerge because the actors who inherit institutional arrangements are not the same as those who designed them. Indeed, a major ambiguity in theories of rational institutional design concerns institutional inheritors. What does actor-centered functionalism imply about the benefits of institutions to those who inherit them? Political institutions are typically long lived. Given that institutions will usually outlive the people who create them, we wish to know whether the originally “functional” aspects should be expected to remain in the interests of following generations (e.g., because those followers are much the same sort of those as the creators).


Typically, actor-centered functionalism seems to rest (although usually only implicitly) on strong assumptions about actor continuity. In the study of international relations, for instance, where there has been a great deal of actor-centered functionalist work, this assumption of actor continuity is common. Indeed, it may not be unreasonable since “states” are taken to be the main designers of international institutions—and many international relations scholars argue that the interests of states are quite sharply defined by the structure of the international system.


What, however, if there are reasons to question this premise of actor continuity—that is, to consider the possibilities that actors making initial institutional choices may well have quite distinctive preferences from those of their inheritors? This problem is only unimportant if we think that designers’ choices will be inherited by actors much like themselves. With the passage of time, however, this assumption becomes more problematic. This will be so especially in setting where the assumption of some stable overarching context that generates a stable pattern of preferences seems implausible. In the context of long—term institutional development the language of “actors” elides a huge amount—who the actors are is often ambiguous. Who, we might ask, are the “inheritors” of the American constitution’s framers? Are they “the same” in some clear analytical sense? It is not clear to me that these are answerable questions.