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Why Nations Fail Full Book Introduction

Why Nations Fail

11 min / Published
By Renew

Why Nations Fail



Why are some nations wealthy and others poor? Why is it that vastly different institutions can emerge in two nations of similar backgrounds and origins, with a huge disparity in the respective quality of life of their citizens? Just what exactly determines a country’s future? This book combs through the developmental history of human civilization and analyses the case studies of over twenty countries in great detail to show us why different countries have different institutions, and how good and bad institutions can influence a nation’s destiny.


Overview | Chapter 1

Hi, welcome to Bookey. Today we will unlock the book Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty.


What is the greatest challenge facing mankind today? Every person has a different answer to this question. Jared Diamond, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the bestselling sociology classic Guns, Germs and Steel, which we have unlocked for you in a previous bookey, believes that the problem of income disparity among various countries around the world can be considered the greatest challenge facing humanity today.


The per capita income of Egypt is only 12% that of the United States – this is a shocking figure, and it is arguably one of the key factors for Egypt’s political instability. However, this example is not even the largest disparity known to exist between countries. The gap between the per capita income of the United States and that of the poorest countries in the world is much larger – in those countries, even a full meal might be considered a luxury.  


What exactly causes this disparity? Why are some nations prosperous with a flourishing population, while others are impoverished with their people in deep suffering? Can poor countries ever change their destiny, or are they doomed to fail? Since the dawn of time, countless experts have tried to answer this question. The book Why Nations Fail provides us with a short answer: institutions.  


While this answer appears to be deceptively simple, it is full of complexities. It took the authors of this book fifteen years of dedicated research to arrive at this answer. Both authors are leading economists: Daron Acemoglu is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and recipient of the prestigious John Bates Clark Award, and James Robinson is a professor at Harvard University and world-renowned expert in Latin American and African studies.


Over the course of fifteen years, these two experts pored over thousands of years of human history, and compared the developmental processes of over twenty countries. They came to the conclusion that differences in institutions are responsible for the different fates of various countries around the world. In this book, Acemoglu and Robinson analyze volumes of historical case studies to show us why different countries developed different institutions in the first place, how the earliest institutions came about, and how good and bad institutions can influence a nation’s destiny.

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