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Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Mar 20 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; 1 edition (March 20 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307719219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307719218
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 4.8 x 24.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 880 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #30,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"Should be required reading for politicians and anyone concerned with economic development." —Jared Diamond, New York Review of Books

"...bracing, garrulous, wildly ambitious and ultimately hopeful. It may, in fact, be a bit of a masterpiece."Washington Post

“For economics and political-science students, surely, but also for the general reader who will appreciate how gracefully the authors wear their erudition.”Kirkus Reviews
 
“Provocative stuff; backed by lots of brain power.”Library Journal

“This is an intellectually rich book that develops an important thesis with verve. It should be widely read.”Financial Times

“A probing . . . look at the roots of political and economic success . . . large and ambitious new book.” The Daily

Why Nations Fail is a splendid piece of scholarship and a showcase of economic rigor.” —The Wall Street Journal

"Ranging from imperial Rome to modern Botswana, this book will change the way people think about the wealth and poverty of nations...as ambitious as Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel."
Bloomberg BusinessWeek

“The main strength of this book is beyond the power of summary: it is packed, from beginning to end, with historical vignettes that are both erudite and fascinating. As Jared Diamond says on the cover: 'It will make you a spellbinder at parties.' But it will also make you think.” —The  Observer (UK)

"A brilliant book.” Bloomberg (Jonathan Alter)

Why Nations Fail is a wildly ambitious work that hopscotches through history and around the world to answer the very big question of why some countries get rich and others don’t.” The New York Times (Chrystia Freeland)

"Why Nations Failis a truly awesome book. Acemoglu and Robinson tackle one of the most important problems in the social sciences—a question that has bedeviled leading thinkers for centuries—and offer an answer that is brilliant in its simplicity and power. A wonderfully readable mix of history, political science, and economics, this book will change the way we think about economic development. Why Nations Fail is a must-read book." —Steven Levitt, coauthor of Freakonomics

"You will have three reasons to love this book. It’s about national income differences within the modern world, perhaps the biggest problem facing the world today. It’s peppered with fascinating stories that will make you a spellbinder at cocktail parties—such as why Botswana is prospering and Sierra Leone isn’t. And it’s 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." —Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of the bestsellers Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse

"A compelling and highly readable book. And [the] conclusion is a cheering one: the authoritarian ‘extractive’ institutions like the ones that drive growth in China today are bound to run out of steam. Without the inclusive institutions that first evolved in the West, sustainable growth is impossible, because only a truly free society can foster genuine innovation and the creative destruction that is its corollary." —Niall Ferguson, author of The Ascent of Money

"Some time ago a little-known Scottish philosopher wrote a book on what makes nations succeed and what makes them fail. The Wealth of Nations is still being read today. With the same perspicacity and with the same broad historical perspective, Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson have retackled this same question for our own times. Two centuries from now our great-great- . . . -great grandchildren will be, similarly, reading Why Nations Fail." —George Akerlof, Nobel laureate in economics, 2001

"Why Nations Fail is so good in so many ways that I despair of listing them all. It explains huge swathes of human history. It is equally at home in Asia, Africa and the Americas. It is fair to left and right and every flavor in between. It doesn’t pull punches but doesn’t insult just to gain attention. It illuminates the past as it gives us a new way to think about the present. It is that rare book in economics that convinces the reader that the authors want the best for ordinary people. It will provide scholars with years of argument and ordinary readers with years of did-you-know-that dinner conversation. It has some jokes, which are always welcome. It is an excellent book and should be purchased forthwith, so to encourage the authors to keep working." —Charles C. Mann, author of 1491 and 1493

“Imagine sitting around a table listening to Jared Diamond, Joseph Schumpeter, and James Madison reflect on over two thousand years of political and economic history.  Imagine that they weave their ideas into a coherent theoretical framework based on limiting extraction, promoting creative destruction, and creating strong political institutions that share power and you begin to see the contribution of this brilliant and engagingly written book.” —Scott E. Page, University of Michigan and Santa Fre Institute

“This fascinating and readable book centers on the complex joint evolution of political and economic institutions, in good directions and bad. It strikes a delicate balance between the logic of political and economic behavior and the shifts in direction created by contingent historical events, large and small at ‘critical junctures.' Acemoglu and Robinson provide an enormous range of historical examples to show how such shifts can tilt toward favorable institutions, progressive innovation and economic success or toward repressive institutions and eventual decay or stagnation. Somehow they can generate both excitement and reflection.” —Robert Solow, Nobel Laureate in Economics, 1987

“It’s the politics, stupid! That is Acemoglu and Robinson’s simple yet compelling explanation for why so many countries fail to develop. From the absolutism of the Stuarts to the antebellum South, from Sierra Leone to Colombia, this magisterial work shows how powerful elites rig the rules to benefit themselves at the expense of the many.  Charting a careful course between the pessimists and optimists, the authors demonstrate history and geography need not be destiny. But they also document how sensible economic ideas and policies often achieve little in the absence of fundamental political change.”—Dani Rodrik, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

“Two of the world’s best and most erudite economists turn to the hardest  issue of all: why are some nations poor and others rich? Written with a deep knowledge of economics and political history, this is perhaps the most powerful statement made to date that ‘institutions matter.’  A provocative, instructive, yet thoroughly enthralling book.” —Joel Mokyr, Robert H. Strotz Professor of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Economics and History, Northwestern University

“A brilliant and uplifting book—yet also a deeply disturbing wake-up call. Acemoglu and Robinson lay out a convincing theory of almost everything to do with economic development. Countries rise when they put in place the right pro-growth political institutions and they fail—often spectacularly—when those institutions ossify or fail to adapt.  Powerful people always and everywhere seek to grab complete control over government, undermining broader social progress for their own greed. Keep those people in check with effective democracy or watch your nation fail.” —Simon Johnson, co-author of 13 Bankers and professor at MIT Sloan

“This important and insightful book, packed with historical examples, makes the case that inclusive political institutions in support of inclusive economic institutions is key to sustained prosperity. The book reviews how some good regimes got launched and then had a virtuous spiral, while bad regimes remain in a vicious spiral.  This is important analysis not to be missed.” —Peter Diamond, Nobel Laureate in Economics
 
“Acemoglu and Robinson have made an important contribution to the debate as to why similar-looking nations differ so greatly in their economic and political development. Through a broad multiplicity of historical examples, they show how institutional developments, sometimes based on very accidental circumstances, have had enormous consequences. The openness of a society, its willingness to permit creative destruction, and the rule of  appear to be decisive for economic development.” —Kenneth Arrow, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University, Nobel Laureate in Economics, 1972
 
“Acemoglu and Robinson—two of the world's leading experts on development—reveal why it is not geography, disease, or culture which explains why some nations are rich and some poor, but rather a matter of institutions and politics. This highly accessible book provides welcome insight to specialists and general readers alike.” —Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History and the Last Man and The Origins of Political Order

“Some time ago a little known Scottish philosopher wrote a book on what makes nations succeed and what makes them fail.  The Wealth of Nations is still being read today.  With the same perspicacity and with the same broad historical perspective, Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson have re-tac...

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.

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Most helpful customer reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By DAVID HOANG on May 27 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book was written quite well as I found the argument was well supported with plenty of facts and evidence. This book is not filled with any nonsensical jargon
and can be understood by anyone and not just people with poli sci degrees. I recommend this book to be read by anyone that wonders why most African countries are quite poor with
the exception of Botswana. Overall this is a book worth buying.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on May 28 2012
Format: Hardcover
This study challenges the notion that nation-states and other polities fail mainly because of economic or militaristic blunders. Acemoglu, instead, believes that it is usually the incapacity of a nation-state to move from an extractive mode of governance to a more inclusive one that spells its early demise or eventual failure as a political and cultural expression. By extractive, he means the desire of the leaders to use the country's natural resources for their own gain; in other words a kleptocracy. By contrast, inclusive implies that the wealth resulting from natural resources is shared among the people for the greater good of all, resulting in greater political stability leading to greater economic development. Any nation that goes through an extended period of extraction usually employs limited technology and realizes only marginal economic growth. Consequently, critical political institutions like courts, schools and hospitals rarely exist except for the benefit of the few. From the evidence that the author presents, persistent corruption of due process and the monopolization of resources for the benefit of the few. To make his point, Acemoglu and his colleague present the historical profiles of certain cultures and civilizations that show what happens when pluralism is or is not encouraged. By not including more people in the running of a state like Haiti or Zimbabwe over the past century, its leaders have effectively shut-off any incentive to invest in both business and critical infrastructure. Off-setting these two negative case studies is the little-heard of story of Botswana's success as one of those African frontier states that got it right from the start. Since effective development is a lengthy process, fraught with all kinds of pitfalls, the authors suggest that the culture of political failure, in many countries, is so ingrained that it is almost impossible to reverse unless democratization is allowed to happen in a responsible and gradual way.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I will encourage all developing world leaders to read this book. I will also encourage universities in the developing world to add this to the list of must read books by Political Science/Humanity students.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jdavidg on Feb. 10 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this to be an interesting read with a few basic defining concepts:
centralized governance, inclusive vs. extractive economy, pluralism, rule
of law for personal, property and patent rites and constructive destruction.
The examples given help flesh out the ideas, but after a while the book
becomes very repetative. I could be edited down in length be at least one
third and maintained its impact. Still, good counter point to the
writings of Jared Diamond.
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By Martin on June 8 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great review on why we are, and where we are...
Should be a reference in any politic or economics programs
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By HVDT on Feb. 3 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
WHY NATIONS FAIL is a well researched book and the writers are easy to follow. However the writers have a tendancy to repeat the concept over and over again.
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By Hany Azab on Jan. 27 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a summary of the the success & failure of nations, backed up with so many historical facts, I recommend it as one of the best reading material that I have ever read.
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