The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality [NOOK Book]

Overview

The world is a better place than it used to be. People are healthier, wealthier, and live longer. Yet the escapes from destitution by so many has left gaping inequalities between people and nations. In The Great Escape, Angus Deaton--one of the foremost experts on economic development and on poverty--tells the remarkable story of how, beginning 250 years ago, some parts of the world experienced sustained progress, opening up gaps and setting the stage for today's disproportionately unequal world. Deaton takes an ...

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

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Overview

The world is a better place than it used to be. People are healthier, wealthier, and live longer. Yet the escapes from destitution by so many has left gaping inequalities between people and nations. In The Great Escape, Angus Deaton--one of the foremost experts on economic development and on poverty--tells the remarkable story of how, beginning 250 years ago, some parts of the world experienced sustained progress, opening up gaps and setting the stage for today's disproportionately unequal world. Deaton takes an in-depth look at the historical and ongoing patterns behind the health and wealth of nations, and addresses what needs to be done to help those left behind.

Deaton describes vast innovations and wrenching setbacks: the successes of antibiotics, pest control, vaccinations, and clean water on the one hand, and disastrous famines and the HIV/AIDS epidemic on the other. He examines the United States, a nation that has prospered but is today experiencing slower growth and increasing inequality. He also considers how economic growth in India and China has improved the lives of more than a billion people. Deaton argues that international aid has been ineffective and even harmful. He suggests alternative efforts--including reforming incentives to drug companies and lifting trade restrictions--that will allow the developing world to bring about its own Great Escape.

Demonstrating how changes in health and living standards have transformed our lives, The Great Escape is a powerful guide to addressing the well-being of all nations.

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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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400847969
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 9/22/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Course Book
  • Pages: 376
  • Sales rank: 438,517
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Angus Deaton 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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Table of Contents

Preface ix
Introduction: What This Book Is About 1
1 The Wellbeing of the World 23
PART I LIFE AND DEATH
2 From Prehistory to 1945 59
3 Escaping Death in the Tropics 101
4 Health in the Modern World 126
PART II MONEY
5 Material Wellbeing in the United States 167
6 Globalization and the Greatest Escape 218
PART III HELP
7 How to Help Those Left Behind 267
Postscript: What Comes Next? 325
Notes 331
Index 351
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