Couple of months ago, I picked up a fantastic book: ” Why Nations Fail” by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson. As I’m a newbie in the field of international development and aid industry, the debate around the book was absolutely delightful.
I highly recommend reading the book, if only, because of the debate around the origins of development.
Why Nations Fail completely dismisses different theories of why development is successful or not, like the idea of culture or geography. Therefore, throughout the book, the authors make a strong case that institutions matter, more than anything else. Personally, I appreciated the consistency of the book, Acemogly and Robinson kept emphasizing broad terms like inclusive versus extractive institutions, which gets embodied into your brain and you come to accept their theory. Now, it is always good to take everything with a grain of salt, because at the end of the day, institutions are not a definite mark of why nations fail. Nonetheless, I enjoyed discovering a new layer of reasoning and a different approach in explaining development. I’ve tried to compile a list of some interesting articles regarding the debate around the book, ultimately trying to learn more about this controversy:
- Government, Geography, and Growth: The True Drivers of Economic Development by Jeffrey Sachs. A critical review in more than 4,000 words.
- Response to Jeffrey Sachs by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson. Caving into pressure, and answering to the critic.
- Why Nations Fail review by Bill Gates. A philanthropists perspective on the failures of the book.
- What Bill Gates Got Wrong About Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson. 15 years of academic research versus 15 years of global giving.
- Debating Why Nations Fail Part 1 & Part 2 by Cory Smith @ DevpolicyBlog. A complex analysis worth reading.
Acemoglu and Robinson on Why Nations Fail by Francis Fukuyama. Mixed feelings, but still critical.
- Why Nations Fail by Thomas Friedman. Finally, some positive reviews.
- Episode 40: Why Nations Fail by Owen @ Development Drums. Go check all the podcasts on Development Drums, such an awesome idea!
I know I’m late to the debate, but I really enjoyed spending hours absorbing all these information. At the end of the day, it helped to remember that there is no black and white in international development.