Here’s Round Earth Media intern Emma Foehringer Merchant with more about why some nations fail and others succeed.
It is blatantly obvious that certain states have had some sort of leg up in becoming world powers. Just what offered these countries their advantage? Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson explain in their book Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, reviewed by Jared Diamond (author of the best-selling Guns, Germs and Steel) in last month’s New York Review of Books. Here’s their take.
What do successful nations have in common?
Good political and economic institutions that form a stable state (in constrast to states with deep tribal divisions) are the main common denominator between rich countries, according to economists Acemoglu and Robinson. These institutions allow for a centralized and well-regulated government. Political and economic institutions the two authors define as “good” are those that encourage citizen participation in the economic system. Good institutions protect peoples’ rights and livelihoods and disallow corruption and insecurity. As Diamond explains, “people are motivated to work hard if they have opportunities to invest their earnings profitably, but not if they have few such opportunities or if their earnings or profits are likely to be confiscated.”
What makes a country poor?
Acemoglu and Robinson provide some reasons for economic deficiencies in certain states including: