Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sachs vs Acemoglu and Robinson

Some weeks ago I posted a review of the book by Acemoglu and Robinson, “Why Nations Fail,” which included references to critical reviews by prestigious scholars such as Sachs, Fukuyama, Diamond and others. Some weeks later, Acemoglu and Robinson responded to Sachs, and he replied to them in his blog. These comments and replies can be followed here. In his second (and so far, to my knowledge, last) reply, Sachs contributes some academic references that reinforce his points. These include work that qualifies the idea by Acemoglu and Robinson of “the reversal of fortunes,” according to which the poorest colonies at the time of colonization facilitated the establishment of non-extractive institutions that imported the political organization of the metropolis. While in many countries the idea of the “extractive elites” by Acemoglu and Robinson is taken as the revealed truth, it is useful that other academics provide more multi-causal and non-linear explanations of why some nations fail and others succeed to develop.

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