The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality

The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality

by Angus Deaton
     
 

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"There is nobody better than Angus Deaton to explain why our lives are longer, healthier, and more prosperous than those of our great-grandparents. The story he tells is much more than an inexorable march of progress--it has also been unequal, uneven, and incomplete, and at each step, politics has played a defining role. This is a must-read for anybody interested

Overview

"There is nobody better than Angus Deaton to explain why our lives are longer, healthier, and more prosperous than those of our great-grandparents. The story he tells is much more than an inexorable march of progress--it has also been unequal, uneven, and incomplete, and at each step, politics has played a defining role. This is a must-read for anybody interested in the wealth and health of nations."--Daron Acemoglu, coauthor of Why Nations Fail

"At once engaging and compassionate, this is an uplifting story by a major scholar."--Paul Collier, author of The Bottom Billion

"Magisterial and superb."--William Easterly, author of The White Man's Burden

"The Great Escape tells the two biggest stories in history: how humanity got healthy and wealthy, and why some people got so much healthier and wealthier than others. Angus Deaton, one of the world's leading development economists, takes us on an extraordinary journey--from an age when almost everyone was poor and sick to one where most people have escaped these evils--and he tells us how the billion still trapped in extreme poverty can join in this great escape. Everyone who wants to understand the twenty-first century should read this book."--Ian Morris, author of Why the West Rules--for Now

"Deaton's account of global advances in health is magisterial. It is especially convincing in disentangling economic progress from technological growth as sources of health improvements. A very big story, this book should affect the way we think about human development and the role of science and science-based government programs. The language is modest and graceful, the use of evidence compelling, and the illustrations highly attractive."--Samuel Preston, University of Pennsylvania

"This factual, sober, and very timely book deals with issues surrounding the higher incomes and longer lives enjoyed by an increasing proportion of the world's population. It assesses improvements in conditions that would have seemed almost a fantasy for people living only a few generations ago. Deaton's arguments, written in an elegant and accessible style, are powerful and challenge conventional opinions."--Branko Milanovic, author of The Haves and the Have-Nots

"This splendid book discusses how, in the last two hundred fifty years, large numbers of people have achieved levels of well-being that were previously available only to a few individuals, and how this achievement has given rise to equally unprecedented inequalities. Unique in its focus and scope, exceptional knowledge and coherence, and careful argumentation, The Great Escape is highly illuminating and a delight to read."--Thomas Pogge, Yale University

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Fred Andrews
…an illuminating and inspiring history of how mankind's longevity and prosperity have soared to breathtaking heights in modern times.
The New York Times Book Review - David Leonhardt
Deaton…does not stint on describing the world's problems…Yet Deaton's central message is deeply positive, almost gloriously so. By the most meaningful measures—how long we live, how healthy and happy we are, how much we know—life has never been better. Just as important, it is continuing to improve. Deaton is surely aware that many readers will view these claims with skepticism…He addresses this skepticism with both sweeping and granular descriptions of how life has improved…Deaton's writing is unfailingly accessible to the lay reader…All in all, The Great Escape…[is] one of the most succinct guides to conditions in today's world.
From the Publisher
"Professor Deaton hits the psychological nail on the head when he suggests that aid is 'more about satisfying our own need to help.' He identifies the related issue of 'aid illusion'—the belief that poverty in poor countries can be solved by rich people transferring money."—Peter Foster, Financial Post

"This is a fascinating book on health, wealth and inequality."—Bibek Debroy, Businessworld

"Development economist Deaton draws on his lifelong interest in and considerable knowledge of economic development to tell the story of modernization and the rise from worldwide poverty. Chapters illustrating demographic and economic trends utilize well-crafted charts and graphs to depict the rising paths that countries, first the US and western Europe and more recently China and India, have taken as their populations improve their health, education, and income-making abilities."Choice

"The Great Escape is an eloquent and passionate description of what sickness and health look like for the world's populations and economies. Deaton's history of health and wealth offers a compelling narrative for both the general reader and academics alike. It raises a range of questions of why some countries falter, why others succeed and what can be done to close gaps between them."—John Parman, EH.Net

"The Great Escape is a good place to start if you are looking to increase your own understanding of inequality as you attempt to add more light than heat to the debates. . . . I found the book humbling, disquieting, and lacking in easy answers to complex questions—precisely why I also found it thoughtful and useful."—W. Steven Barnett, Business Economics

"Deaton's book ends up making a powerful contribution to economists' evolving understanding of the importance of institutions."—David N. Weil, Journal of Economic Literature

"In The Great Escape Angus Deaton has provided an insightful, thought-provoking and highly readable overview of the progress of human wellbeing. There is much that both general and specialist audiences will learn from it—I recommend it highly."—Jeff Borland, Economic Record

"[A] wonderful book."—Martin Wolf, Financial Times

"This book is a timely reminder that the conditions that facilitated this progress were created not only through the progress of health science, but through a political effort to ensure that science benefited all."—Sara Davies, International Affairs

"Deaton takes the reader on a richly detailed tour through a landscape of historical narrative, science, data from across the world, and scholarly debate. And he is a superb guide: erudite, lucid, humane, and witty."—David Weil, Journal of Economic Literature

"In The Great Escape Angus Deaton has provided an insightful, thought-provoking and highly readable overview of the progress of human well being. There is much that both general and specialist audiences will learn from it - I recommend it highly."—Jeff B. Orland, Economic Record

"Deaton takes the reader on a richly detailed tour through a landscape of historical narrative, science, data from across the world, and scholarly debate. And he is a superb guide: erudite, lucid, humane, and witty. . . . Deaton's book ends up making a powerful contribution to economists' evolving understanding of the importance of institutions."—David N. Weil, Journal of Economic Literature

"Deaton's The Great Escape is an uplifting and refreshing read for all who are tired of the many books on economic gloom and environmental doom."—Rolf A.E. Mueller, Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture

"Highly accessible."—Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph

"The Great Escape by Angus Deaton, the Scotsman who got this year's Nobel Prize in economics, is an extremely thoughtful overview of economic development and what goes into it. In ways the book is a stirring tale of the long march since the Industrial Revolution out of generalized poverty to the much more prosperous world we know today, with close attention to the relationship between rising prosperity and generally improved health conditions. Well-written by a superb economist with great command of analysis and data. I recommend it highly."—John Snow, former Treasury Secretary, one of Bloomberg's Best Books of 2015

"The Great Escape . . . is a thoughtful and optimistic consideration on why some nations are wealthy, and thus healthy, and why others are not."—Trey Carson, Review of Austrian Economics

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691153544
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
09/23/2013
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
376
Sales rank:
729,486
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Angus Deaton, winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in economics, is the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Economics Department at Princeton University. His many books include The Analysis of Household Surveys and Economics and Consumer Behavior. He is a past president of the American Economic Association.

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