Do Institutions Persist?

I have always thought that institutions are endowed with a strong bias toward self-preservation. I may have been wrong, or at least off key. The WSJ editorial about the Olin Foundation made me pause, as did my recent exposure to the Iron Law of Oligarchy. And, in the business world, it’s not uncommon to see one company be purchased by another, thereby disappearing into history. So what’s the right way to think about it? I posit this: institutions will persist as long as they best serve the interests of those in charge and those in charge are able to convince other participants that their interests are also being served.

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