Why Nations Fail


5 July 2018

Politics and economics take centre stage in this book about the success of nations, a really interesting read that draws examples from across the world to give you a broad, comprehensive view.


Review by:

Eleanor O

Recommended books (1)

A broad, encompassing and interesting approach to the question of what makes a nation function well

I picked up ‘Why Nations Fail’ because it linked several subjects that I was interested in – mainly politics and economics, but it also includes geography, history and some philosophy.

It argues that some nations are wealthier and more prosperous than others because of their political and economic institutions (e.g. government, market system), and not because of their climates, geography or culture. Essentially, good (inclusive) institutions enable investment and a sense of security in the government and the economic system and so nations prosper, but bad (extractive) institutions do not. Virtuous circles of innovation, expansion and peace are formed from inclusive institutions which form a cycle of increasing prosperity.

This book is particularly interesting because it explains the theory with a huge range of historical examples from the past 200 years plus, focusing not just on the traditional western Europe and the USA vs. African developing nations, but touching on places across the world such as Asia, South America and Eastern Europe. It is especially interesting for anyone who is interested in the sources of poverty and inequality, along with the history of colonialism and feudalism. I didn’t find it too academic or hard to read; it was really accessible. I would recommend this book to anyone considering PPE, Economics, Geography or History and Politics.


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