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Daron Acemoglu: Why Nations Fail

A dramatic border in Africa between Gisenyi in Rwanda and Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Image credit: Google Earth

A dramatic border in Africa between Gisenyi in Rwanda and Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Image credit: Google Earth

“Why Nations Fail” is a book by two economists, Daron Acemoglu (professor of economics at MIT) and James Robinson (professor of economics at Harvard) about the importance of political and economic institutions for economic growth. It is one of several perspectives and presented ideas on why certain countries and continents has a history of economic prosperity and other’s do not. And why these differences remains today.

Other famous academics within this area are Professor Jared Diamond and his book “Guns, Germs and Steel” (see a previous talk by Diamond here). Professor Niall Fergusson and his book “Civilization: The West and the Rest” (see a previous talk here). Two other academics are; Ian Morris’s “Why the West Rules – For Now” and Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of Our Nature”.

In the book “Why nations Fail” the authors argues that a nation’s economic success is predominantly determined by its institutions. Where inclusive states have no single center of power but are innovative and prosperous thanks to the jostling of competing interests under the rule of law and secure property rights. Inclusive democracies with strong independent judicial systems thrive (see previous article here on this subject). It claims that importance of politics is far ahead of geography, resources or culture, that freedom begets prosperity.

The below lecture is held at the University of Scranton in 2011.

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