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

Escrito por Daron Acemoglu y James A. Robinson

Narrado por Dan Woren


Actualmente no disponible en Scribd

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

Escrito por Daron Acemoglu y James A. Robinson

Narrado por Dan Woren

valoraciones:
3/5 (176 valoraciones)
Longitud:
17 horas
Publicado:
Mar 20, 2012
ISBN:
9780307987464
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descripción

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.

Publicado:
Mar 20, 2012
ISBN:
9780307987464
Formato:
Audiolibro

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  • (5/5)
    Professors Acemoglu and Robinson argue that one factor above all determines the economic fate of nations: the existence of inclusive political and economic institutions. After considering and rejecting such theories as bad advice, lack of resources, or environmental determinism (think Guns, germs and steel), the authors settle into a discussion of the English Glorious Revolution and why that set the stage for the subsequent Industrial Revolution. They then discuss how the Glorious Revolution helped to create inclusive institutions, which were then transferred to such English colonies as North America and Australia. It is not culture or work ethic that determines prosperity, but how a country’s institutions react to crucial moments and opportunities.To prosper, the professors argue, requires enough central authority to maintain law and order, but enough inclusion to spread both political and economic power around within a country. A country that is insufficiently centralized, e.g., Somalia, will be unable to guarantee security, while a centralized state that is insufficiently inclusive, e.g., the USSR, will eventually fail to grow and will stagnate.Please note that the professors do not argue that any of this is deterministic. They argue that chance and gradual change (institutional drift in their terms) can be decisive in setting a country on the right or wrong path. Their book is full of case studies that illustrate their points.Well-argued though lengthy, this book is worth reading for its stimulating argument and the real world implications.
  • (4/5)
    I think the thesis of this book -- that economic prosperity depends upon inclusive economic and political institutions -- is well substantiated. What is lacking are concrete solutions. The authors neglect to take into account the inherent evil in mankind; most men with power will expropriate wealth from those with less power. The exceptional men who actually rule with the good of the people in mind explain the few exceptions around the world.
  • (4/5)
    While I do not agree with their analysis on why some countries are rich and other not, this book is well written and gives a lot of food for thought
  • (5/5)
    A monumental economic history that touches on everything from the transformation from neolithic times, the divergence of world economies in the last five centuries, and the recent economic history. At times polemical, it effectively and convincingly presents the theory that institutions (specifically inclusive political and economic institutions) are necessary and sufficient for growth. And it effectively rebuts what it sets out as the three alternative hypotheses about the determinants of growth: climate/ecology, culture, and economic policies.

    The most interesting prediction in the book is that China will not sustain its economic growth because, the book argues, it does not have inclusive political institutions. According to Acemoglu and Robinson, this is compatible with short (i.e., decades long) spurts of growth like Argentina a hundred years ago or the Soviet Union, but it is ultimately not sustainable. Acemoglu and Robinson argue that China is the wrong model for other countries.

    I have three quibbles with the book. The first is that much of it is based on and justified by a series of more technical economic papers, but barely a hint of that shows through in a book that is narrative history, often at a basic level, with not even a single table. The second is that the book provides no hope or model whatsoever for economic policy or foreign aid, although it blames colonialism for the situation that many African countries face, now that they are where they are Acemoglu and Robinson and hard pressed to muster much enthusiasm for doing anything about them. Finally, and related, to some degree the theses the book demolishes are straw men. Maybe economic policy does not explain the difference between the Congo and the United States. But surely inclusive/extractive are not a useful way to understand differences in growth between most European and North American countries. At which point, holding institutions roughly constant, economic policy starts to matter again.
  • (4/5)
    This book argues that nations fail for three basic reasons (I'm paraphrasing here):
    1) Lack of central control
    2) An economic system that extracts property (including labor) from people and transfers it to elites
    3) A political system that protects/perpetuates these elites.

    Current and historical events are used to support this hypothesis, although they cannot prove it. Politics and economics are social sciences, after all.

    Trying to show that nations have failed over time due to one of more of these three things ended up feeling repetitive after a while as various examples of extractive policies were summarized and presented as the cause of societal failure. Yep, here's another case. And another case. And....

    I can't say I found any great insights in this argument. Much of it seems obvious and indisputable. Without central control even the most enlightened policies cannot be enforced. (A policy that prohibits slavery, for example, can be enacted, but if it can't be enforced, slavery will still exist.) Elites, once established, tend to protect themselves, and extractive societies tend to remain extractive, even after a revolution. (For an excellent fictional presentation of this idea, read George Orwell's Animal Farm.) On the other hand, inclusive societies resist becoming extractive. (The evidence presented for this seemed inconclusive and unconvincing to me.)

    They cited examples of bad policies and good policies around the world, but seemed to imply that the U.S., Great Britain, Australia, and Western Europe had passed some kind of threshold that almost ensured they would continue as inclusive societies, ignoring evidence such as increased wealth and income disparity as possible indicators that this is not necessarily the case.

    The argument also could have come up with a far more generalized conclusion. A principle, if you will, or perhaps a definition. A human society, whether it is a tribe, a kingdom, or a nation, is its people. All of its people. It is not just the monarch, or the nobility, or some economic or ideological elite. It is everyone. A society with free people is a free society. A society with educated people is an enlightened society. A society in which people can benefit from what they produce is a productive society. One in which people are encouraged to create and innovate will be a creative and innovative society. The people of any nation are potentially its greatest asset. Nations that realize this will succeed. Those that do not will fail.

    Sorry.... Kind of got of on a tangent, there. This book is worth reading. It may not be overly insightful, but it is thought provoking. I recommend it.

  • (4/5)
    Mssrs. Acemoglu and Robinson provide a compelling theory of why some countries see rising living standards and others do not. Politics, they argue, provide the framework within which development takes place (or does not take place). If political conditions do not allow entrepreneurs to start businesses, and workers to change jobs, development won't happen. Through most of history, political power has been concentrated in narrow elites, and it has not been in the economic interest of those elites to allow economic change. Hence, no development. From the eighteenth century, the broadening of political power in some countries has allowed room for economic innovation, and economic growthThis is a critical insight. Economics used to be called "political economy", recognizing the link between politics and economics. As economic theory developed over the past 200 years, that link has been more and more ignored, leading to an economic approach -- a policy approach as well as a theoretical approach -- that ignored politics. That doesn't work, as Mssrs Acemoglu and Robinson very convincingly demonstrate.My problem is that the Acemoglu/Robinson approach oversimplifies. Politics is critical, but differences in natural endowment matter (in my view) more than they allow. The Anglo-American political situation has favored development, but not perhaps as intensely (or as exclusively -- Japan really doesn't fit) as they argue. And economic development feeds back into political development into ways that they do not explore (in particular, I would be interested in their views on the current reduction in political and economic inclusiveness in the U.S).In sum, this is a valuable contribution, and a very interesting read, even if some of its conclusions go do far.
  • (3/5)
    It's makes its main points, "democracy and a certain level of centralisation are important for success" and "extractive regimes cause nations to fail" over almost 500 pages, with many examples. I enjoyed it, overall, and I believed it, though I am not knowledgeable enough to fact-check the economy behind it all.

    Towards the end, it seemed to grow tame, too. I'd have wanted a more detailed insight into the US and other western states, because though the book keeps making the point that extractive regimes lead to the downfall of a nation, nowhere does it take the plunge and say what else these regimes can look like and that they don't need to be governments. It seems pretty clear that if you look at the US in the right light, the very companies who shrotlisted it as their book of the year have an awful lot in common with the extractive people causing the poverty in millions throughout history.
  • (5/5)
    The authors argue that national success or failure (disintegration, revolution, civil war) depends on two correlated factors, economically extractive class relations and political openness. Extractive economies where the few reap the rewards of the efforts of the many can’t stay democratic very long; economically open societies that protect property rights have trouble staying politically repressive because economically successful people seek enough political representation to prevent all the cream being skimmed from their efforts. What it means to protect property rights is never fully defined, which is a weakness of the book, but at a minimum it seems to mean protecting property from uncompensated expropriation and transfer to another private party; it’s not clear if the property has to be held legitimately in the first place to meet their standards. This isn’t The End of History because (1) the authors acknowledge the effects of contingency and luck that create path-dependent outcomes, such as slight differences between medieval England and Russia that turned into huge differences, and (2) the authors argue that nothing is guaranteed—both forms can flip if a great imbalance develops, particularly if an economic imbalance develops. Their confidence that the American South got rid of segregation (economically extractive) and became democratic seems overblown given Ferguson and the industrial-prison complex, but the South still fits their model pretty well, it seems to me. Interesting read; they don’t think democracy in China is inevitable, but they think that’s because the elites will be motivated to choke off growth to preserve their own power as has happened in other countries, primarily in Africa. It’s impossible to tell whether those elites will succeed but it’s definitely not enough to be confident that economic growth will inevitably lead to democracy. Combined with Piketty, it’s pretty darn depressing.
  • (4/5)
    Their main thesis is very interesting - that there is a strong link between political/social institutions and the economic success or failure of a nation.

    Compare Botswana, which has achieved remarkable growth despite the AIDS epidemic, and Zimbabwe. Compare South Korea, which was poor, and is now a regional power, to North Korea, where the huddled skeletal masses pluck corn kernels from feces to survive while the Kim clan gorged on cognac.

    The main reason states are successful, say Acemoglu and Robinson, is that they have a strong supportive centralized set of institutions, which they call 'inclusive'. These include property safety, a free market, technological growth, and so forth.

    Nations Fail because of 'extractive' institutions - those which prevent the products of economic work from directly benefiting the economy as a whole, or unequally distributing it. Colonial regimes serve as an example, as well as aristocratic, dictatorial, or otherwise authoritarian regimes. A few benefit, but the society as a whole suffers. You can send as much aid as you like, but it will all be siphoned up or lost.

    They also refer to Schumpeter's phrase 'creative destruction'. This is when a new economic or technological phenomenon threatens to unseat or unravel an established economic order in order to create a new one. If those who stand to lose from this new order are also in positions of influence and power in society, then naturally they will try to prevent it. Consider the reluctance of the Habsburgs or the Russians to allow factory building or railroads, or the Ottomans to allow printed books entirely.

    After these interesting concepts, the rest of the book is devoted to examples, from Ancient Rome to Axum to Uzbekistan. The reading list in back is interesting enough, and I'd like to investigate this in much further detail.

    I'd have liked a discussion of the Scandinavian states (welfare, engineering, oil), Canada (former colony, resources, political engineering), Singapore (political engineering, no resources to speak of, formerly colonial), and other cases of where prosperity had sprung up from nothing, in contrast to the series of catastrophes and famines and horror that we have seen already. And what about India, with its own long and varied history? The authors have reasonably cast doubt on China, with its state capitalism. And those even further to the left might make a case for a present oligarchical-corporatist structure as an extractive institution. No doubt the authors will address these concerns in a new writing/edition.

    A very thought provoking book on the causes of poverty and wealth among nations.
  • (3/5)
    This is a very annoying book. The authors have a thesis that makes much sense and seems to explain much about development and the failure to develop. However, the presentation of that thesis is poor.The big idea is that sustained development is only possible where there are inclusive political and economic institutions. Development is possible in the absence of these two factors, but it will not be sustained - USSR is given as an example.This big idea is used to explain why, for example, decolonisation of Africa has not resulted in sustained development - the extractive colonial institutions have largely been maintained with the extraction diverted to the local powerful elite, rather than the colonial power.The fundamental problem with the book is that the definition and description of "inclusive" political and economic institutions is cursory. It seems to be assumed that the concept will be understood. This results in what is almost a circular argument - where development hasn't happened, there will be extractive institutions. The book uses historical example to further the argument, but there far too much detailed history and not enough detailed analysis of the institutions in the historic examples. The history is well presented and relevant, but is not tightly linked to the hypothesis.Towards the end of the book, the authors make a prediction that China cannot continue to develop without creating inclusive political and economic institutions. This is a very big call. They could be right, but it is likely that there will be multiple factors involved. For example, the one-child policy is going to lead to a very severe demographic crunch that will adversely impact on output. And, the crunch may lead to political and social tension that will be difficult to manage in a non-pluralist system. But this is not explored. Variations on the theme are not pursued. The authors have one trick in their bag, and it starts to seem that it is used to explain life, the universe and everything. In fact, I became so annoyed at the lack of subtlety in this book that it took me two attempts to finish it.So, an important and probably correct idea, poorly presented in this book. Close, but no cigar. Read February 2013.
  • (5/5)
    This book was cited as authoritative scholarship by a number of respected academics and journalists. For example, both Krugman and Friedman have written excellent pieces drawing from the political economic facts ventilated in this book, "Why Nations Fail" by Acemoglu and Robinson. I was raised in Latin America. I experienced and know first hand that the rich plutocrats WANT overall economic collapse. The wealthy feel deeply threatened by any competition. South American history is the evidence of deliberate, willful, sabotage of a huge middle class that repeatedly rose up over centuries, and was repeatedly strangled by the economic elites.By reviewing history, the authors show that the current campaign model of Romney/Ryan is the latifundia. The GOP serves the plutocracy in stacking the deck in favor of monopolist corporate elites, and they cannot help themselves from helping themselves. Many fine people are wealthy, but once they they buy off or liquidate Our Government, an evil form of plutocrat will destroy even the other rich, if they are good and decent people. For but one example, compare Gates/Buffet to the Koch family. The former are devoting billions to help build long-term infrastructure and health. The Kochs, however, devoted billions to taking over the media, the Heritage Foundations and so-called research groups, the right-wing churches and seminaries, and finally, the Government. Now, Koch policies are rampant in the country. They have not "wasted" their dollars on doing good, and they now have a stranglehold on the middle class -- you can see our steady and relentless decline. The GOP is bent on bringing to North America the same economic perdition which plutocracy brought to South America for centuries. That history is carefully documented in the cited work, "Why Nations Fail". We had an economic collapse BECAUSE of the GOP. The plutocrats want us to fail. The GOP is not the solution to any problem; it is the problem.Acemoglu worries that the huge growth in economic inequality is undermining the inclusiveness of America’s institutions, too. “The real problem is that economic inequality, when it becomes this large, translates into political inequality.” When one person can write a check to finance your whole campaign, how inclusive will you be as an elected official to listen to competing voices?
  • (3/5)
    The good part of this book is the wide breadth of history that is presented. The author makes arguments that ties nations' histories to his definition of inclusive and extractive structures. He can be very convincing. The bad part is that the method of selecting examples to support your argument is liable to being manipulated to prove anything. I am disappointed that the intentions of the people leading change is seldom considered, but maybe that is information that is just not available.I found the book to be repetitive and occasionally circular. It was not easy to stick with it. On the other hand, the examples and arguments make sense to me and I am inclined to think there is some truth in them. I found it particularly interesting as we are in the midst of political times when it seems that many people are willing to be taken into a less inclusive society. A warning?
  • (4/5)
    The authors provide an Interesting insight into exclusionary versus inclusionary societies. Plenty of historical and current examples provide support for their thesis that the most successful and sustainable societies are those that include more of their populations in decision making as well as a greater share of the economic pie. It’s an interesting view in light of a presidential election year contrasting a more inclusionary vision with an exclusionary one (albeit masked in propaganda of offering freedom, in exchange for less government). With the US having become less and less a country of class/economic mobility, an educated electorate would do well to catch up on what’s happened historically as well as currently when a small percentage capture more and more of a country’s wealth and income.
  • (2/5)
    Reviewing this book is painful and sad. This book, the authors state, is "the culmination of fifteen years of collaborative research". Many reviewers have stated that Acemoglu and Robinson's academic work is top notch. This book, unfortunately, isn't. It is atrociously bad. It fails on multiple levels.The first level of failure is the breath-taking numbers of howlers small and large. Fukuyama's statement that "Like many other works making use of history but written by economists, the Acemoglu and Robinson volume contains some pretty problematic facts and interpretations." must be parsed as the two authors' outdoing "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" in regard to historical accuracy. From small mistakes (such as speaking of the Roman "princep" instead of "princeps" or allocating Switzerland to Austria), to historical ignorance (thinking of medieval Strasbourg as a French city or unaware of Cracow's prominence as a center of learning) to dubious pronouncements (the Lancastrians winning the War of the Roses), the book is littered with false statements that any diligent reader or editor with access to Wikipedia could have averted. Random House Crown's executive editor John Mahaney, thanked for his efforts in the acknowledgments, seems to be a Dubya type of executive.The second level of failure is methodological: The authors ditch their statistical model approach for a Gladwellian and Friedmaneque anecdote approach. While a well selected anecdote can help illustrate a phenomenon, such an inductive approach can only falsify a theory. The authors further weaken their case by their failure to properly doing research for their cases. Many of their assertions simply aren't true. When they state that Napoleon's emancipation of the Jews allowed the Rothschild's "to supply grain to the Austrian army, something they would previously not have been allowed to do.", they simply ignore men like Samuel Oppenheimer and Samson Wertheimer who precisely did what Acemoglu and Robinson claim was not possible. Faulty as an anecdote based approach is to present a framework, it utterly collapses as many anecdotes are not true or fail to include important information.The third level of failure is the lack of operationalization of their key terms "extractive" and "inclusive". The "I know it when I see it" approach lets the authors get away in using the terms differently as it suits them. "Extractiveness" includes a wide range of misbehaviors from the American robber barons exploiting their customers to public and private corruption to onerous taxes to bureaucracy etc. Reducing the complexity of life to a Manichean good and bad offers little input for managerial improvement. The more so as their Manichean concept breaks down as "inclusive" and "extractive" aren't opposites. Democratic Rome and the US South were perfectly willing to exploit their slaves. Even today, the supposedly inclusive United States of America acts hugely extractive towards its poor. The author's implicit criterion of inclusiveness, the right to vote, isn't very powerful to prevent extractive practices. Less inclusive forms such as paternalism seem to generate better results. All is futile, though, as long as the dark horse in the discussion, the sources and use of power may not be discussed. The British government did not enlarge the franchise out of their love for inclusiveness but because they feared French state of affairs. "Why nations fail" is a result of an unsavory distribution of political and economic power. The authors neglect the dynamic component of power as they do path dependency.The fourth failure of this book is its ideological bias. Reality has a well-known liberal bias which doesn't mesh with the authors' conservative libertarianism. The book is filled with a crude world view (Communism bad; USA good) that fails to acknowledge the involvement of white men in world affairs. The two authors, in a Colbertian way, don't see color. They see the profitable fields of the white South African farmers and wonder why the black farmers do not follow their example. They ignore the US interventions in Central and South America, deploring crime in Mexico without acknowledging the failed War on Drugs with such heinous practices as supplying arms to drug cartels. The two authors do not act as academics, they are keen ideologues willing to chuck facts to preserve and promote their world view. While they may not be proper racists, their willingness to ignore aspects of race in their examples and discussion makes their "separate but equal" position difficult to distinguish from the first group.Within the US context, this shows itself in a highly anti-Democratic selection of examples. Executive overreach is repeatedly attributed to FDR. The vile Strom Thurmond, the majority of whose career was as an influential Republican politician, is only referred to as a Democrat. The Democrats are also allocated responsibility for the Southern racists without once noting that today, thanks to the Republican Southern strategy, these voters are solid Republicans. The extractive practices of the Reagan revolution could have been the poster case for this book. Instead, their ideological blinders lead them to skirt the topic. Those willing to parse the fine print may read the few bad words about the robber barons as a veiled critique of today. Brave, the two authors aren't.Overall, the book can serve as an excellent example how nations fail. Praised by their cronies, the authors provide a shoddy product that glorifies the American ruling class of white old men. Further praise of the naked emperors is just what the market demands. Acemoglu and Robinson are willing servants.
  • (5/5)
    This audio is rich in the history of many different countries. He explores standard theories of why countries fail like culture, weather, geography, ignorance and dispels them by comparing countries that fail with ones that don’t that have the same variable. He then brings in his own reason which is that political structure is the biggest factor. When it is inclusive they succeed and when it is extractive they fail. He also explains why many political regimes that start off with good intentions get derailed and how the Black Plague was a major catalyst for change for some countries. Another audio on this topic that I highly recommend is Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel, however I like Why Nation’s Fails explanation more. This audio is 18 hours long and felt like it. That said it was worth it.
  • (5/5)
    A monumental economic history that touches on everything from the transformation from neolithic times, the divergence of world economies in the last five centuries, and the recent economic history. At times polemical, it effectively and convincingly presents the theory that institutions (specifically inclusive political and economic institutions) are necessary and sufficient for growth. And it effectively rebuts what it sets out as the three alternative hypotheses about the determinants of growth: climate/ecology, culture, and economic policies.The most interesting prediction in the book is that China will not sustain its economic growth because, the book argues, it does not have inclusive political institutions. According to Acemoglu and Robinson, this is compatible with short (i.e., decades long) spurts of growth like Argentina a hundred years ago or the Soviet Union, but it is ultimately not sustainable. Acemoglu and Robinson argue that China is the wrong model for other countries.I have three quibbles with the book. The first is that much of it is based on and justified by a series of more technical economic papers, but barely a hint of that shows through in a book that is narrative history, often at a basic level, with not even a single table. The second is that the book provides no hope or model whatsoever for economic policy or foreign aid, although it blames colonialism for the situation that many African countries face, now that they are where they are Acemoglu and Robinson and hard pressed to muster much enthusiasm for doing anything about them. Finally, and related, to some degree the theses the book demolishes are straw men. Maybe economic policy does not explain the difference between the Congo and the United States. But surely inclusive/extractive are not a useful way to understand differences in growth between most European and North American countries. At which point, holding institutions roughly constant, economic policy starts to matter again.