Book Tip

This looks fascinating.

Especially since you don\’t have to buy the book, you can just read the original papers.

The question being asked is of course the most important one in economics: and quite possibly in all of the social sciences.

Why are some places shitholes and some places not, given that we all started with roughly the same people, abilities and attributes?*

*Well, given enough time we all started out in pretty much the same place, Olduvai Gorge or some such.

10 thoughts on “Book Tip”

  1. A good starting point is Jared’s “Guns, Germs and Steel” which asked the same question.

    (Jared is a co-editor of the book recommended here.)

  2. Or you could read David Landes ‘The Wealth and Poverty of Nations’ which was written over 10 years ago, and covers the same ground.

  3. Asked and answered by P J O’Rourke in “Eat the Rich”; “Why do some places prosper and thrive, while others just suck? Nowhere on earth is dumber than Beverley Hills and the residents are wading in gravy. In Russia, where chess is a spectator sport, they boil stones to make soup.”

  4. Or you could read ‘The truth about markets’ by John Kay, subtitled ‘why some countries are rich ansd some remain poor’.

  5. “Why are some places shitholes and some places not, given that we all started with roughly the same people, abilities and attributes?*”
    Papacy and Islam help I guess.

  6. Throughout most of our history, the people living in the dumps didn’t know what life was like elsewhere. And there have been many closed oppressive societies where the rulers make sure their people never get a glimpse of life in the first world. For people to be convinced that their lives could be much better, they have to see the visual evidence, and the results of that confrontation can be shocking. It can cause people to become resolute in the pursuit of the free markets and civil liberties that underpinned our good fortune, or it can cause seething resentment at us and further digging in of heels, by folk who feel humiliated.

  7. Were all these places of which you speak created by the same species of australopithecine? If not, your “given” seems irrelevant and might even be the source of your “mystery”. I can recommend a book written by a chap born two hundred years ago who had an idea about how, given enough time, the abilities and attributes of groups of organisms might change and vary in relation to one another under differing environmental selection-pressures, and thereby causing inter- and intra-specific diversity to arise, such as we see as an evident fact all around us, humanity included. I must warn you, however, that very few people take his idea seriously.

  8. Whether there is a massive gulf in the living standards of different populations is not necessarily important. What matters is how aware they are of that.

  9. how can you assume people equality or people consistancy
    Why the change in the sturdy English of the 40s and 50s and the supine compliant mob now?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *