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1 Beaverton Economics- General
1 Burnside International Studies- Trade
25 Local Warehouse Politics- General
25 Remote Warehouse Business- History and Biography

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


Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty Cover


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Publisher Comments:

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 world.



About the Author

DARON ACEMOGLU is the Killian Professor of Economics at MIT. In 2005 he received the John Bates Clark Medal awarded to economists under forty judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge.

JAMES A. ROBINSON, a political scientist and an economist, is the David Florence Professor of Government at Harvard University. A world-renowned expert on Latin America and Africa, he has worked in Botswana, Mauritius, Sierra Leone, and South Africa.

Table of Contents

C o n t e n t s



Why Egyptians fi lled Tahrir Square to bring down Hosni Mubarak

and what it means for our understanding of the causes of

prosperity and poverty



So Close and Yet So Different

Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Sonora, have the same people,

culture, and geography. Why is one rich and one poor?



Theories That Don’t Work

Poor countries are poor not because of their geographies or cultures,

or because their leaders do not know which policies will enrich

their citizens



The Making of Prosperity and Poverty

How prosperity and poverty are determined by the incentives

created by institutions, and how politics determines what

institutions a nation has



Small Differences and Critical Junctures:

The Weight of History

How institutions change through political confl ict and how

the past shapes the present



“I’ve Seen the Future, and It Works”:

Growth Under Extractive Institutions

What Stalin, King Shyaam, the Neolithic Revolution, and the

Maya city-states all had in common and how this explains why

China’s current economic growth cannot last



Drifting Apart

How institutions evolve over time, often slowly drifting apart



The Turning Point

How a political revolution in 1688 changed institutions in

England and led to the Industrial Revolution



Not on Our Turf: Barriers to Development

Why the politically powerful in many nations opposed the

Industrial Revolution



Reversing Development

How European colonialism impoverished large parts of the world



The Diffusion of Prosperity

How some parts of the world took different paths to prosperity

from that of Britain



The Virtuous Circle

How institutions that encourage prosperity create positive feedback

loops that prevent the efforts by elites to undermine them


The Vicious Circle

How institutions that create poverty generate negative

feedback loops and endure



Why Nations Fail Today

Institutions, institutions, institutions



Breaking the Mold

How a few countries changed their economic trajectory by

changing their institutions



Understanding Prosperity and Poverty

How the world could have been different and how understanding

this can explain why most attempts to combat poverty have failed



Bibliographical Essay and Sources



Product Details

Acemoglu, Daron
Crown Business
Robinson, James
Politics - General
Economic History
economics;history;politics;non-fiction;political science;economic history;political economy
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
7.99 x 5.15 x 1.2 in 1 lb

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