HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty (2012)

by Daron Acemoglu, James A. Robinson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,752477,567 (3.76)21
Why are some nations rich and others poor? Is it culture, the weather, geography? Perhaps ignorance of the right policies? Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny. Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson conclusively show that it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success (or lack of it). Based on fifteen years of original research, Acemoglu and Robinson marshall historical evidence from the Roman Empire to the Soviet Union, from Korea to 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 and overwhelm the West? Is America 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? This book will change the way you look at--and understand--the world.--From publisher description.… (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 21 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
how to run a nation, this book helps in this way
  aftabhumna | Oct 18, 2021 |
Economist Book.
  Mazahirraja | Oct 4, 2021 |
We tend to view historical lanscapes in linear mode and fail to realize that minor and sometimes chance occurrences progress to different outcomes. However Acemogol and Robinson provide us with a unique framework with which to view power, poverty and economical sucess over two thousand years resulting in a virtuous cycle of prosperity or vicious cycle of power and extraction. Empowerment and destruction of old agricultural, transportational and intensive labor methodologies through innovation. The power elite such as monarchs, presidents and dictators in the vicious cycle mode do not want and are threatened by change. Their discussion is replete with examples and should be read by all those with an interest in national policy and the vagaries of the historical process. I found the section on slavery particularly enlightening and did not realize how old the practice is. Their future prediction that China would “run out of steam”is based on their model of the viscious cycle. There is only so much you can extract. The book is well done, scholarly and readable. ( )
  mcdenis | Jul 30, 2021 |
Contains great ideas and really gives you a lens to view the world through. Downside is it drags out kinda long and starts using words from its theory to tell the stories at a certain point. They've already made their case by then, but it's a little annoying. ( )
  kevinwoneill | Jul 21, 2021 |
Maybe I'm weird, but to me it's a compliment to describe a book as reading like a well-written college textbook. Of course, this isn't a normal book - being yet another burden on the already-groaning shelves in the Why the First World Is Awesome sub-sub-genre of Big History, it's an attempt to deal with issues of development and democracy familiar to political science undergrads, and hence would fit in well on a syllabus - yet it is quite readable, if somewhat repetitious. The basic idea is straightforward: rich first world countries got that way through a process of centralization, political liberalization, and economic liberalization that allowed for ordinary people to participate in all aspects of society without the threat of either anarchy or tyranny; countries that aren't rich have typically gotten stuck on the first step (like Somalia), or more commonly the second step, with autocratic governments that treat their citizens and resources as their own private ATMs and actively resist modernization to the extent that it threatens their monopoly on power. Instead of being inclusive, they are exclusive, and while Acemoglu and Robinson deploy the two terms quite liberally, this idea is quite reasonable. There are of course a number of competing theories to explain international disparities in wealth; a brief list might include Jared Diamond's theories of geographical advantages, Francis Fukuyama's thymos, Max Weber's Protestant work ethic, the Mandate of Heaven, Aristotle's constitutions of the polis, assorted other religious and cultural hypotheses, and of course good old-fashioned racial cheerleading, examples of which you can procure at your leisure from your local White Nationalist Reading Circle. I think Acemoglu and Robinson are on to something important, but I have issues with the way that the book is written, namely that certain examples, such as poor African countries, appear over and over, while some examples that would theoretically be quite illuminating, such as Canada vs the US or China vs India, do not get raised at all. Anyone trying to Explain It All with their own home-grown version of Isaac Asimov's psychohistory eventually gets confronted with the maddening amount of contingency and chance (the outcome of a battle, the sudden death of a king, an unfortunate storm) that overturns any number of "shoulds" in a theory, yet I think that on the whole the idea of inclusion vs exclusion is quite powerful and seems to get us "most of the way there", in that while it would be tough to argue that the US is richer than Australia because its political or economic institutions are more inclusive (a laughable notion), it would certainly seem to explain quite a bit about the US compared to, say, Mexico. Certainly it seems to cover comparisons such as the prosperity of North Korea and South Korea, Nogales in Mexico and the Nogales in the US, and the US South and the US Northeast. However, in addition to the authors and theories listed previously, I wished that Acemoglu and Robinson had engaged with four more. Firstly, Mancur Olson's The Rise and Decline of Nations has quite a bit to say about interest group politics and the logic behind how various groups can treat a society as more desirable to steal from than to contribute to; Acemoglu and Robinson sort of deal with the complexities of faction in a scattered fashion, but seem to define their axis of inclusivity-exclusivity primarily in terms of a central authority only. Secondly, Alexis de Tocqueville's The Old Regime and the French Revolution has quite a bit to say about why the French Revolution took the path that it did, and given its importance, any attempt to use it as a prototype for other countries trying to deal with extractive institutions or the iron rule of oligarchy should ponder its lessons about how it is and is not unique in the history of revolution. Thirdly, Paul Krugman's The Conscience of a Liberal has an extensive section showing how economic inequality can be driven by political inequality - more specifically, the Republican Party's capture by plutocrats has been a major contributor to not only a return to pre-New Deal ideas about the role of labor but also about citizen participation in government - this two-way interaction of political and economic forces in societies could have used more exploration. Fourthly, Joseph Tainter's The Collapse of Complex Societies makes a powerful case that societies' political and economic institutions are determined primarily by the energy available to them, and that the form of government a particular country has is more an effect than a cause of any particular level of wealth inequality; this is similar to the weak environmental determinism of Jared Diamond but more broad in that it predicts certain dynamics in the shift from long-term to short-term thinking that would seem to have been a natural fit for this book. I guess I'm being tough on this already well-researched book for not being even more well-researched precisely because I agreed so much with its thesis and was looking forward to what could have been the "one book to rule them all" in terms of theories of development. It's a compliment to the authors that so much of it seems obvious, because societies are willing to put up with what seems to us "modern enlightened folk" like astonishingly dumb institutions for a shockingly long time, and at bottom I don't think that most Americans are too much smarter or more virtuous than the unlucky denizens of the many poor countries chronicled herein. Furthermore, I think that the framing of inclusivity versus exclusivity hits precisely on a major political idea that divides liberals from conservatives in many contexts and in many different time periods - certainly the modern liberal project has embraced inclusion as gospel. The book is definitely worth a read for the mini-histories of countries like Botswana that are unlikely to be familiar to many readers, and it deserves to be taken seriously by anyone interested in comparative political economy or, to borrow a phrase, "the wealth of nations". ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
It should be no surprise that countries with those advantages ended up rich and with good institutions, while countries with those disadvantages didn’t. ... The ... weakness is the authors’ resort to assertion unsupported or contradicted by facts. ... The authors’ discussions of what can and can’t be done today to improve conditions in poor countries are thought-provoking and will stimulate debate.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Daron Acemogluprimary authorall editionscalculated
Robinson, James A.main authorall editionsconfirmed

Belongs to Publisher Series

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For Arda and Asu--DA
Para María Angélica, mi vida y mi alma--JR
First words
Preface

This book is about the huge differences in incomes and standards of living that separate the rich countries of the world, such as the United States, Great Britain, and Germany, from the poor, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, and South Asia.
1.
So Close and Yet So Different

The Economics of the Rio Grande

The city of Nogales is cut in half by a fence.
Quotations
Countries such as Great Britain and the United States became rich because their citizens overthrew the elites who controlled power and created a society where political rights ere much more broadly distributed, where the government was accountable and responsive to citizens, and where the great mass of people could take advantage of economic opportunities.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC
Why are some nations rich and others poor? Is it culture, the weather, geography? Perhaps ignorance of the right policies? Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny. Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson conclusively show that it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success (or lack of it). Based on fifteen years of original research, Acemoglu and Robinson marshall historical evidence from the Roman Empire to the Soviet Union, from Korea to 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 and overwhelm the West? Is America 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? This book will change the way you look at--and understand--the world.--From publisher description.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.76)
0.5
1 5
1.5
2 19
2.5 2
3 54
3.5 9
4 83
4.5 5
5 56

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 164,397,020 books! | Top bar: Always visible