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Most Helpful Favorable Review
6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.
This is up there with Guns, Germs, and Steel as a macro theory o
posted by Rob0NY on May 29, 2012Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
5 out of 11 people found this review helpful.
Very much on target, missing only details
Other reviewers will describe their identification of institutions as key, though the authors demand that it be seen that the institutions must be understood in their respective historical terms, whether those of rich countries or poor. Their analysis of Latin America's encomienda system is fine.
But though I'm not yet finished with the book, so far they have not provided enough detail regarding how the actual institutions presently fail their citizens in particular countries. There are instead too many generalities involving "extractive economies" and "extractive political systems", to the point of almost exact repetition.
I eagerly await "Why Nations Fail, Vol. II -- The Details".
posted by eager-readerLC on May 4, 2012Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 4, 2012
Thought-provoking, but flawed
If you're interested in international relations and economics, this is a must-read, as it's definitely thought-provoking. However:
1. It's repetitive; it repeats its theme of "extractive institutions do not lead to long-term growth" over and over, and it even summarizes what the book just stated a few pages before, over and over.
2. It doesn't show any data to back up its arguments. Extractive systems don't produce growth over the long run? Show me tables, graphs, etc., please. Not just the conclusion that extractive systems don't produce growth over the long run.
3. It gets its history wrong in an effort to back up its key arguments. For example, it claims that Austria-Hungary was an "absolutist" monarchy until World War I. It wasn't the most free country in the world, but by the 1900s, it was an emerging democracy, with elected legislatures, limits on the monarch's power, etc.
Also, it states that the Civil Rights movement in the US succeeded in part because Southern "planters" were less resistant to it due to economic changes. Right...those planters (They were long gone by the 1950s).
4. Finally, it just summarily dismisses alternative theories about economic growth. Yes, Country X was wealthier than North America in 1500- and this book shows that as a reason why geography, climate and other reasons don't really matter in economic growth. In the rudimentary economy of 1500, perhaps Country X's geography and climate weren't a problem. But just maybe in 2012, its climate and geography and other factors don't work to produce success in today's economy.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 7, 2012
Wow, Amazing and thorough book.
This was an interesting book with some parts that were dry and textbook like. After reading the history of the nations of the world I can't help but think that the US is in trouble. The odds are against this nation making it. There is too many destructive societies around us to keep us on the right path. The youth of the world need to read this book so they can steer their nations to stay on a prosperous path.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 6, 2013
The best explanation I have seen as to why the vast sums of monies provided to the impoverished nations of the world do so little good. It is time for the U.S.A. and other donor nations to rethink the entire process of selecting the recipients of, managing, and delivering foreign aid. The observations and ideas presented in this book should enter into that process.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The authors make their case in a thorough and methodical way, but I found the book to be a slow read. I also found it to be more than worth the effort and recommend it to those who have an interest in why nations fail.
Posted February 16, 2013
P A persuasive thesis
The authors thesis, that political and economic control by elites, is well researched and persuasive. The grassroots success story of Brazil is encouraginng. I do wonder why the Chinese molde of African development is not discussed?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Overall an excellent look at the underpinnings of prosperity.
Posted November 17, 2013
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Posted October 24, 2012
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