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Power And Prosperity: Outgrowing Communist And Capitalist Dictatorships

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  83 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Why do some economies do better than others? How does society encourage the kind of market economy that generates continually increasing incomes? How do particular styles of government affect economic performance? World-renowned economist Mancur Olson tackles these questions and others in what will surely be regarded as his magnum opus. Olson contends that governments can ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 20th 2000 by Basic Books (first published January 19th 2000)
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The Orphan Conspiracies by James MorcanGoverning the Commons by Elinor OstromCost and Choice by James M. BuchananThe Logic of Collective Action by Mancur OlsonThe Calculus of Consent by James M. Buchanan
Best Public Choice
6th out of 17 books — 10 voters
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. RowlingLondon by Peter AckroydEnglish Passengers by Matthew KnealeA Life in the Twentieth Century by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.Hitler, Vol 2 by Ian Kershaw
The Economist - Books of the Year 2000
10th out of 40 books — 4 voters

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Jul 02, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics, nonfiction
Both force and voluntary exchange are present in every social order. The challenge of designing a successful social order, in Olson's view, is to give the power to make collective decisions to an encompassing interest (rather than to a special interest).

Olson develops the idea of special and encompassing interests in the following way. If a bandit can gain an exclusive power to plunder an area, he will have an incentive to protect the area from other predators. Since plunder removes some incent
Jan 01, 2016 Jorg rated it really liked it
A deep and fascinating study of the development of power and of the resons why post-Communist economies failed to live up to their promise. The internal logic of Olson's theory is deeply compelling, but I am afraid that his view, despite its strong claims to realism is still somewhat Pollyannaish: he assumes self-interest and perfect rationality on the part of all actors, and while the former is certainly realistic, the latter is undermined by much of modern research which shows humans to be dee ...more
Athan Tolis
Jan 15, 2014 Athan Tolis rated it it was amazing
A bit like Thinking Fast and Slow, but with a lot less rambling and almost zero cross referencing in the main text, this is a book that's meant to summarise a career's findings. It's written by somebody who both knows a whole lot and wants to tell you everything he knows. And it's written so beautifully, you keep asking yourself "why did I not think of that?" To which the answer, of course, is "because it's only so clear once somebody has told you."

Mancur Olson, the man who explained in his yout
Faust Mephisto
Sep 22, 2015 Faust Mephisto rated it it was amazing
Olson's discourse about Stalin's exploitation of Soviet workers through tax and wage discrimination that ultimately led to the downfall of the system, is fascinating to read.
James Smith
Jul 27, 2011 James Smith rated it liked it
Fascinating, though difficult, read. Got me imagining what an "Olsonic" analysis of the current budget/debt crisis might look like, particularly given his critique of special interests and the impossibility of "rational" collective action by small groups.
Stephen Hull
Feb 02, 2013 Stephen Hull rated it did not like it
So what do you do if you're fascinated by science but are incapable of scientific rigour, you're fascinated by math but you're crap at it and you're fascinated by philosophy but are incapable of thinking logically? Easy: become an economist!
Apr 07, 2010 Jon added it
Read this book for a graduate level public choice (economics) course - it was fairly theoretical and I discovered that after discussing concepts in class, I was able to better understand the book
Jason Reeves
Nov 04, 2012 Jason Reeves rated it it was amazing

Best book I've read about economics, really easy to understand and has good theories.
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American economist and social scientist who, at the time of his death, worked at the University of Maryland, College Park. Among other areas, he made contributions to institutional economics on the role of private property, taxation, public goods, collective action and contract rights in economic development. Olson focused on the logical basis of interest group membership and participation. The re ...more
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