Why Nations Fail
(Recommend, Would Read Again )
The author presents an idea and then spends 500 pages defending that idea through various historical examples, from all over the world. Overall, the book is interesting and at times very entertaining, however, it quickly becomes repetitive as the author keeps hitting us in the face with the same idea all over and over again.
“THE REACTION TO LEE’S brilliant invention illustrates a key idea of this book. The fear of creative destruction is the main reason why there was no sustained increase in living standards between the Neolithic and Industrial revolutions. Technological innovation makes human societies prosperous, but also involves the replacement of the old with the new, and the destruction of the economic privileges and political power of certain people. For sustained economic growth we need new technologies, new ways of doing things, and more often than not they will come from newcomers such as Lee. It may make society prosperous, but the process of creative destruction that it initiates threatens the livelihood of those who work with old technologies, such as the hand-knitters who would have found themselves unemployed by Lee’s technology. More important, major innovations such as Lee’s stocking frame machine also threaten to reshape political power. Ultimately it was not concern about the fate of those who might become unemployed as a result of Lee’s machine that led Elizabeth I and James I to oppose his patent; it was their fear that they would become political losers—their concern that those displaced by the invention would create political instability and threaten their own power.”