Why nations are rich and poor
1. “To understand why nations are rich and poor we need to go beyond economics and policy advice and instead study politics and political processes – how decisions get made and who gets to make them, and why they decide to do what they do.” Discuss.
3. “The problem of making poor countries rich has been much more difficult than anticipated, and it is easier to describe the problems facing the poor countries than to come up with workable solutions to their problems.” Discuss.
4. “The end of extreme poverty in the world, like the end of slavery, racism, sexism, and colonialism, will come quickly, marked by a rapid transition and a sudden change in public empowerment and attitudes.” Discuss.
5. “Societies that have enjoyed the greatest prosperity have also engaged in the highest levels of equality of economic and political opportunity and income redistribution, and economic growth has proceeded more favourably in societies with relatively equal distributions of incomes and resources than in those where wealth is concentrated in a few hands.” Discuss.
8. “Extractive institutions tend to lead to even more extractive institutions. Power leads to wealth, and wealth buys more power. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The result is a vicious circle, often sowing the seed of civil wars, economic ruin, political chaos, human suffering, descent into lawlessness, and state failure.” Discuss, giving some examples.
9. “During the critical juncture of the diffusion of the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century, many nations missed the boat and failed to take advantage of the spread of industry.” Discuss, giving some examples.
11. “The Black Death and the Atlantic economy of the pre-modern period are the critical junctures or historical turning points that led otherwise quite similar societies with only small differences to diverge quite radically, leading to the Industrial Revolution and the modern world as we know it today”. Critically discuss.
12. ‘World inequality today exists because during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, some nations were able to take advantage of the Industrial Revolution and the technologies and methods of organization that it brought, while others were unable to do so.” Why was this? Discuss, giving some examples.
13. ‘With a few exceptions, the rich countries of today are those that embarked on the process of industrial and technological change starting in the nineteenth century, and the poor ones are those that did not.” Discuss, giving some examples of rich and poor.
14. “Inclusive political institutions tend to support inclusive economic institutions, and vice versa. Once in place, inclusive economic and political institutions tend to create a virtuous circle; a process of positive feedback, making it more and more likely these institutions will persist and even expand.” Discuss, giving some examples.
15. “Extractive political institutions support extractive economic institutions, and vice versa, in a vicious circle, or iron law of oligarchy. Hierarchical organizations tend to re-create themselves, and there is nothing to stop authoritarianism from keeping repeating itself.” Discuss.
16. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, economic development in some parts of the world created un-development in others.” Discuss.
17. “Countries become failed states not because of their geography, culture or ignorance, but because of their legacy of extractive institutions, which concentrate power and wealth in the hands of those controlling the state, opening the way for unrest, strife and civil war.” Discuss.
18. “Extractive institutions that expropriate and impoverish the people and block economic development, sometimes leading to intense conflict and even to state failure, are quite common in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America.” Discuss.
19. “It is impossible to understand many of the poorer regions of the world today without understanding the new absolutism of the twentieth century: Communism. In almost all cases, communism brought vicious dictatorships, widespread human rights abuses, and poverty rather than prosperity.” Critically discuss, giving some examples.
20. “Botswana, China, and the US South, just like the Glorious Revolution in England, the French Revolution and the Meiji Restoration in Japan, are vivid illustrations that history is not destiny; but some luck has usually been involved, as history unfolds in a contingent way.” Discuss.
22. “Economic growth occurs when economic markets are relatively free and the state is neither too grasping nor too weak.” Discuss, using some examples from the period since 1800.
23. “Breaking the iron law of oligarchy is difficult, but not impossible.” Critically discuss, giving some examples.
24. “The rich economies of the world today are often referred to as the economies that have most allowed, and continue to allow, what famous economist Joseph Schumpeter called the “forces of creative destruction” to operate relatively unimpeded.” Discuss.
25. Foreign aid does not get at the roots of world inequality and poverty, which lie in extractive and authoritarian economic and political institutions and regimes. Providing foreign aid to such regimes is not a solution to world poverty.” Critically discuss.
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