Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Just Reviewed “Why Nations Fail” at SBR

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Folks, if you love history, political science, or economics — or if you’re a writer who wants to understand these subjects in a new and totally different way (which is the main reason I picked up the book in the first place) — you need to read WHY NATIONS FAIL by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, which I reviewed tonight at Shiny Book Review.  Here’s the link:

WHY NATIONS FAIL discusses why some nations succeed, and why others fail — and it all comes down to one thing: politics.

You see, if a country has an “inclusive” economy — this is one like the United States, South Korea, or the United Kingdom — it fosters innovation and growth.  It also allows for something called “creative destruction” — which means some businesses will fail when newer ones come along (like the printing press, which greatly improved world literacy, but also put out of business many scribes and rag-paper makers) and this shouldn’t be impeded because the net gain is far more than the net loss.

But if a country has an “extractive” economy — like North Korea, or the former Soviet Union, or contemporary China — none of that happens, or at most, very little of it does.  Those countries are run by elites, for elites.  They don’t care about having a middle class, though one may arise anyway (the inclusive economies definitely want a middle class and foster one through progressive policies of taxation and legislation); they mostly care about perpetuating themselves and making the most money they can in the process.

Really, you owe it to yourself to first read my review, and then go grab WHY NATIONS FAIL as soon as it comes out on March 20, 2012, as my review barely scratches the surface of this interesting and important book.   (So what’s stopping you?)

Written by Barb Caffrey

March 10, 2012 at 11:15 pm

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