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

by Daron Acemoglu, James A. Robinson

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2,318526,567 (3.78)26
Business. Politics. Nonfiction. HTML: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 institutions??with 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 and overwhelm the West?

- Are America??s 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 Robinson??s breakthrough ideas on the interplay between inclusive political and economic institutions?

Why Nations Fail will change the way you look at??and understand??the wo
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» See also 26 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
Much more of an historical sweep of nations than an economic breakdown. Good writing, but could be about half as long. ( )
  oranje | Oct 13, 2022 |
Required reading alongside Guns, Germs, and Steel. A slightly more sophisticated thesis, centering around much more human forces. Read both. ( )
  Adamantium | Aug 21, 2022 |
Poorly explained and kinda neoliberal ( )
  pgarri16 | Mar 5, 2022 |
how to run a nation, this book helps in this way
  aftabhumna | Oct 18, 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 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (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.
 

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

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For Arda and Asu--DA
Para María Angélica, mi vida y mi alma--JR
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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.
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So Close and Yet So Different

The Economics of the Rio Grande

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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.
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Business. Politics. Nonfiction. HTML: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 institutions??with 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 and overwhelm the West?

- Are America??s 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 Robinson??s breakthrough ideas on the interplay between inclusive political and economic institutions?

Why Nations Fail will change the way you look at??and understand??the wo

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