Customer Reviews for

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

This is up there with Guns, Germs, and Steel as a macro theory o

This is up there with Guns, Germs, and Steel as a macro theory on why the world (and history) is as it is. The author actually rebuff's Dimond's thesis in Gun, Germs.. that geography is destiny (albeit gently). Instead, institutions matter. Countries with extractive pol...
This is up there with Guns, Germs, and Steel as a macro theory on why the world (and history) is as it is. The author actually rebuff's Dimond's thesis in Gun, Germs.. that geography is destiny (albeit gently). Instead, institutions matter. Countries with extractive political and economic systems (which most of the world have) will underperform against those with open, pluralistic systems (which only a few have). It's a great read with the authors backing up their thesis with enough examples to give it credit (and you'll have no trouble coming up with your own), but not so many as to make the book unwieldily.

posted by Rob0NY on May 29, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Very much on target, missing only details

Obviously a pair of former leftists, these guys have got the free market message, even if clinging to their former prejudices in small ways (don't we all). Through numerous examples they focus on the vital phenomena which they've convinced me are crucial to understandin...
Obviously a pair of former leftists, these guys have got the free market message, even if clinging to their former prejudices in small ways (don't we all). Through numerous examples they focus on the vital phenomena which they've convinced me are crucial to understanding the reality here.

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, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    Insightful read

    I was impressed with this book.

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  • Posted May 19, 2012

    On the plus side, the book has a number of interesting and shuns

    On the plus side, the book has a number of interesting and shuns ideological debate.

    However, there are too many statements where I think: "this makes sense, but is it true?" There are hundreds of anecdotes and examples, but it is impossible to see if the underlying theory is supported by facts.

    Further, the book reads like a foreword and is highly repetitive.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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