The graphic comes courtesy of the Planet Monkeys. Thanks!
So, of course, I was suspicious when on Friday afternoon, Mr. Davidson, the intrepid "journalist" who always seems to put his mouth where the money is, emerged from his Planet O' Money to sing the praises of a book which Davidson claims answers a question that has supposedly stymied economists for "centuries": "Why are some nations rich, while others are poor?"
The book, Why Nations Fail, actually appears to have some very interesting things to say about "extractive institutions," which anyone - except for a total Wall Street sycophant - might think would apply to dynamics in the US, especially given that the finance industry essentially controls the US government. Furthermore, anyone with the even the slightest historical sense would look at some of the poorest nations in the world and have to admit that European and US colonialism/imperialism has "blessed" them with just those vile "extractive institutions" which guarantee endemic poverty. Apparently Mr. Davidson is bereft of any such historical awareness, since the role of Europe and the US in imposing misery on Africa and Central and South America respectively is never mentioned.
So just what does NPR's 1% lovin' Planet Monkey have to say about the book? Here it is:
"The key difference between rich countries and poor ones is the degree to which a country has institutions that keep a small elite from grabbing all the wealth." (I wonder where one could find "a small elite...grabbing all the wealth"?)
And Davidson continues,
"This can seem discouraging but their message does offer hope. Poverty is not the inevitable result of bad geography, bad culture, bad history. It's the result of us: of the ways that people choose to organize their societies. And that means we can change things." (Seems like I recall someone else selling HOPE and CHANGE under the banner of not looking backwards.)
Yes we can!