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About James A. Robinson
James A. Robinson, a political scientist and an economist, is one of 8 current University Professors at University of Chicago. Focused on Latin America and Africa, he is currently conducting research in Bolivia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Haiti and in Colombia where he has taught for many years during the summer at the University of the Andes in Bogotá.
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Shortlisted for the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award 2012.
Why are some nations more prosperous than others? Why Nations Fail sets out to answer this question, with a compelling and elegantly argued new theory: that it is not down to climate, geography or culture, but because of institutions. Drawing on an extraordinary range of contemporary and historical examples, from ancient Rome through the Tudors to modern-day China, leading academics Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson show that to invest and prosper, people need to know that if they work hard, they can make money and actually keep it - and this means sound institutions that allow virtuous circles of innovation, expansion and peace.
Based on fifteen years of research, and answering the competing arguments of authors ranging from Max Weber to Jeffrey Sachs and Jared Diamond, Acemoglu and Robinson step boldly into the territory of Francis Fukuyama and Ian Morris. They blend economics, politics, history and current affairs to provide a new, powerful and persuasive way of understanding wealth and poverty.
'As enjoyable as it is thought-provoking' Jared Diamond
By the authors of the international bestseller Why Nations Fail, based on decades of research, this powerful new big-picture framework explains how some countries develop towards and provide liberty while others fall to despotism, anarchy or asphyxiating norms - and explains how liberty can thrive despite new threats.
Liberty is hardly the 'natural' order of things; usually states have been either too weak to protect individuals or too strong for people to protect themselves from despotism. There is also a happy Western myth that where liberty exists, it's a steady state, arrived at by 'enlightenment'. But liberty emerges only when a delicate and incessant balance is struck between state and society - between elites and citizens. This struggle becomes self-reinforcing, inducing both state and society to develop a richer array of capacities, thus affecting the peacefulness of societies, the success of economies and how people experience their daily lives.
Explaining this new framework through compelling stories from around the world, in history and from today - and through a single diagram on which the development of any state can be plotted - this masterpiece helps us understand the past and present, and analyse the future.
'In this highly original and gratifying fresco, Daron Acemoglu and Jim Robinson take us on a journey through civilizations, time and locations. Their narrow corridor depicts the constant and often unstable struggle of society to keep the Leviathan in check and of the Leviathan to weaken the cage of norms. A remarkable achievement that only they could pull off and that seems destined to repeat the stellar performance of Why Nations Fail' Jean Tirole, Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2014
'Another outstanding, insightful book by Acemoglu and Robinson on the importance and difficulty of getting and maintaining a successful democratic state. Packed with examples and analysis, it is a pleasure to read' Peter Diamond, Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2010
'The Narrow Corridor takes us on a fascinating journey, across continents and through human history, to discover the critical ingredient of liberty. It finds that it's up to each of us: that ingredient is our own commitments, as citizens, to support democratic values. In these times, there can be no more important message - nor any more important book' George Akerlof, Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2001
'How should we view the current challenges facing our democracies? This brilliant, timely book offers a simple, powerful framework for assessing alternative forms of social governance. The analysis is a reminder that it takes vigilance to maintain a proper balance between the state and society - to stay in the 'narrow corridor' - and avoid falling either into statelessness or dictatorship' Bengt Holmstrom, Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2016