Why Nations Fail

The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

Why Nations Fail

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.

Summary of Why Nations Fail

by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson | Includes Analysis

Summary of Why Nations Fail


Why Nations and Economies Can Fail

Why Nations and Economies Can Fail

The world is currently in a relatively peaceful state with billions of people living under a comfortable roof and feels warm enough during winter nights. Many do not suffer, but it is very possible for all these things to be flipped over in a matter of days. The economy and ‘peaceful’ nations that we see today are not forever. Take Greek, for example, a nation that used to possess the highest level of civilization is now drowning in debt. The extractive economy (a system that relies on harvesting and exporting raw or low-processed materials) that various countries fall into due to lack of means to process raw materials are signs of the danger. It is a vicious cycle that was pointed out by Daron Acemoglu in his book ‘Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty’. And this is only the tip of the iceberg that might surface anytime soon according to the book.

Why Nations and Economies Can Fail

Why Nations and Economies Can Fail

The world is currently in a relatively peaceful state with billions of people living under a comfortable roof and feels warm enough during winter nights. Many do not suffer, but it is very possible for all these things to be flipped over in a matter of days. The economy and 'peaceful' nations that we see today are not forever. Take Greek, for example, a nation that used to possess the highest level of civilization is now drowning in debt.The extractive economy (a system that relies on harvesting and exporting raw or low-processed materials) that various countries fall into due to lack of means to process raw materials are signs of the danger. It is a vicious cycle that was pointed out by Daron Acemoglu in his book 'Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty'. And this is only the tip of the iceberg that might surface anytime soon according to the book.

Failed States and Institutional Decay

Understanding Instability and Poverty in the Developing World

Failed States and Institutional Decay

What do we mean by failed states and why is this concept important to study? The “failed states” literature is important because it aims to understand how state institutions (or lack thereof) impact conflict, crime, coups, terrorism and economic performance. In spite of this objective, the “failed state” literature has not focused enough on how institutions operate in the developing world. This book unpacks the state, by examining the administrative, security, judicial and political institutions separately. By doing so, the book offers a more comprehensive and clear picture of how the state functions or does not function in the developing world, merging the failed state and institutionalist literatures. Rather than merely describing states in crisis, this book explains how and why different types of institutions deteriorate. Moreover, the book illustrates the impact that institutional decay has on political instability and poverty using examples not only from Africa but from all around the world.

The Long Process of Development

The Long Process of Development

This groundbreaking book examines the history of Spain, England, the United States, and Mexico to explain why development takes centuries.

Govern Like Us

U.S. Expectations of Poor Countries

Govern Like Us

In the poorest countries, such as Afghanistan, Haiti, and Mali, the United States has struggled to work with governments whose corruption and lack of capacity are increasingly seen to be the cause of instability and poverty. The development and security communities call for "good governance" to improve the rule of law, democratic accountability, and the delivery of public goods and services. The United States and other rich liberal democracies insist that this is the only legitimate model of governance. Yet poor governments cannot afford to govern according to these ideals and instead are compelled to rely more heavily on older, cheaper strategies of holding power, such as patronage and repression. The unwillingness to admit that poor governments do and must govern differently has cost the United States and others inestimable blood and coin. Informed by years of fieldwork and drawing on practitioner work and academic scholarship in politics, economics, law, and history, this book explains the origins of poor governments in the formation of the modern state system and describes the way they govern. It argues that, surprisingly, the effort to stigmatize and criminalize the governance of the poor is both fruitless and destabilizing. The United States must pursue a more effective foreign policy to engage poor governments and acknowledge how they govern.

The Evolution of the Property Relation

Understanding Paradigms, Debates, and Prospects

The Evolution of the Property Relation

Evolution of the Property Relation defines an approach to economics which is centered around the concept of property and explores the historical evolution of the relationship of the individual, private property, and the state, and the distinctive changes wrought by the emergence of the market.

Hunger and Hope

Escaping Poverty and Achieving Food Security in Developing Countries

Hunger and Hope

Readable, thought-provoking, and beneficial for those who want to comprehend the plight of the rural poor, Hunger and Hope examines the world of those living near, on, and over the edge of poverty in developing countries. Their aspirations, struggles, and daily challenges are revealed with compassion and genuine understanding of the risks they face to sustain themselves and their families. The text is rich with lucid and methodical observations of the economic processes that shape agricultural development in impoverished countries. The author builds in an imaginative way on his extensive experience assisting farmers and assessing the impacts of agricultural interventions. Real-world illustrations of the policies and practices that not only create opportunities and food security but also create hardships show that, while progress has been made in reducing poverty and hunger, there is a need to do more.

The Politics of Inclusive Development

Interrogating the Evidence

The Politics of Inclusive Development

This collection brings together internationally-renowned experts to offer the broadest and most comprehensive review available regarding how politics shapes inclusive development in the global south. Each aspect of development is covered, namely social, economic, environmental and cultural, with each substantive chapter offering a systematic review of the evidence in the relevant field. The collection also offers new easy of thinking about the politics ofdevelopment, and a range of practical suggestions for development policy and practice.