Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty
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“You will have three reasons to love this book. Itâs about national income differences within the modern world, perhaps the biggest problem facing the world today. Itâs peppered with fascinating stories that will make you a spellbinder at cocktail partiesâsuch as why Botswana is prospering and Sierra Leone isnât. And itâs a great read. Like me, you may succumb to reading it in one go, and then you may come back to it again and again.” âJared Diamond, Pulitzer Prizeâwinning author of the bestsellersGuns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse
Brilliant and engagingly written, Why Nations Fail answers the question that has stumped the experts for centuries: Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine?
Is it culture, the weather, geography? Perhaps ignorance of what the right policies are?
Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny. Otherwise, how to explain why Botswana has become one of the fastest growing countries in the world, while other African nations, such as Zimbabwe, the Congo, and Sierra Leone, are mired in poverty and violence?
Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson conclusively show that it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success (or lack of it). Korea, to take just one of their fascinating examples, is a remarkably homogeneous nation, yet the people of North Korea are among the poorest on earth while their brothers and sisters in South Korea are among the richest. The south forged a society that created incentives, rewarded innovation, and allowed everyone to participate in economic opportunities. The economic success thus spurred was sustained because the government became accountable and responsive to citizens and the great mass of people. Sadly, the people of the north have endured decades of famine, political repression, and very different economic institutionsâwith no end in sight. The differences between the Koreas is due to the politics that created these completely different institutional trajectories.
Based on fifteen years of original research Acemoglu and Robinson marshall extraordinary historical evidence from the Roman Empire, the Mayan city-states, medieval Venice, the Soviet Union, Latin America, England, Europe, the United States, and Africa to build a new theory of political economy with great relevance for the big questions of today, including:
– China has built an authoritarian growth machine. Will it continue to grow at such high speed andÂ overwhelm the West?
– Are Americaâs best days behind it? Are we moving from a virtuous circle in which efforts by elites to aggrandize power are resisted to a vicious one that enriches and empowers a small minority?
– What is the most effective way to help move billions of people from the rut of poverty to prosperity? More
philanthropy from the wealthy nations of the West? Or learning the hard-won lessons of Acemoglu and Robinsonâs breakthrough ideas on the interplay between inclusive political and economic institutions?
Why Nations Fail will change the way you look atâand understandâthe world.
Pickup and return point: Elyon Computech, #1 Alarape street, New garage bus stop (opposite the 2nd traffic light), Gbagada, Lagos