Why Nations Fail – Daron Acemoğlu, James A. Robinson

Why Nations Fail

Powerful people always and everywhere seek to grab complete control over government, undermining broader social progress for their own greed. Keep those people in check with effective democracy or watch your nation fail.

Daron Acemoğlu, James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail, Loc.32

Different patterns of institutions today are deeply rooted in the past because once society gets organized in a particular way, this tends to persist.

Daron Acemoğlu, James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail, P.38

There is no necessity for a society to develop or adopt the institutions that are best for economic growth or the welfare of its citizens, because other institutions may be even better for those who control politics and political institutions.

Daron Acemoğlu, James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail, P.38

Secure private property rights are central, since only those with such rights will be willing to invest and increase productivity. A businessman who expects his output to be stolen, expropriated, or entirely taxed away will have little incentive to work, let alone any incentive to undertake investments and innovations. But such rights must exist for the majority of people in society.

Daron Acemoğlu, James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail, P.69

Fear of creative destruction is often at the root of the opposition to inclusive economic and political institutions.

Daron Acemoğlu, James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail, P.78

Such critical junctures are important because there are formidable barriers against gradual improvements, resulting from the synergy between extractive political and economic institutions and the support they give each other. The persistence of this feedback loop creates a vicious circle. Those who benefit from the status quo are wealthy and well organized, and can effectively fight major changes that will take away their economic privileges and political power.

Daron Acemoğlu, James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail, P.100

It had been done by government command, which could solve some basic economic problems. But stimulating sustained economic growth required that individuals use their talent and ideas, and this could never be done with a Soviet-style economic system.

Daron Acemoğlu, James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail, P.125

Its empowerment was what underpinned pluralism following the Glorious Revolution. If all those fighting against the Stuarts had the same interests and the same background, the overthrow of the Stuart monarchy would have been much more likely to be a replay of the House of Lancaster versus the House of York, pitting one group against another narrow set of interests, and ultimately replacing and re-creating the same or a different form of extractive institutions.

Daron Acemoğlu, James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail, P.204

A broad coalition meant that there would be greater demands for the creation of pluralist political institutions.

Daron Acemoğlu, James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail, P.205

Without some sort of pluralism, there would be a danger that one of the diverse interests would usurp power at the expense of the rest.

Daron Acemoğlu, James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail, P.205

And the vicious and virtuous circles imply that we have to study history to understand the nature of institutional differences that have been historically structured.

Daron Acemoğlu, James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail, P.426

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