Jake Forbes's Reviews > Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoğlu
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May 03, 12

Read from April 08 to May 02, 2012

My three stars come from the book's ability to engage me as a reader, not as a critique of the the arguments put forward. The authors lay out a very compelling unifying theory for why some nations rise and endure and others stagnate or fail. Their thesis -- that inclusive systems + creative destruction + contingent events = prosperity & growth, while extractive systems both leads to failure and tends to perpetuate that failure -- is simple enough to fit on the back of the book. Their theory, as a work of popular social science, could be just as persuasive in 50 pages as it is here in 500 (or maybe I'm just easily persuaded). The authors are fairly exhaustive in laying out the history of human tragedy through a scientific and economic lens, avoiding sensationalism, which serves their case well, but more often than not l wanted to know more about specific nations and personalities than is on offer here.
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