Page 28

Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin

Discussing the Rule of Law without Talking about Lawyers: A Review of WHY NATIONS FAIL – THE ORIGINS OF POWER, PROSPERITY AND POVERTY THE RISE AND FALL OF NATIONS – FORCES OF CHANGE IN THE POST-CRISIS WORLD Michels’ Iron Law of Oligarchy, a type of vicious cycle, which holds that under the extractive institutions of unfree states, revolutions often result in regimes every bit as extractive as their predecessors. And yes, communism was very exclusive and extractive. Acemoglu & Robinson write the keys for economic development are the rule of law, openness or inclusiveness of society and creative destruction, which principles include private property rights, competition and free elections. Their only major mistake was to use the Classic Maya collapse as an example; that collapse was caused by an extended drought. By emphasizing the overarching importance of the rule of law, Why Nations Fail – The Origins of Power, Prosperity, Book Review John D. Gleissner By Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson They finally wrote a book (or two) that gives the American legal profession and lawyers credit for our place in the world, and they did it without mentioning the legal profession or lawyers very much. How can this be? Well, the two authors in question, eminent economists, one from MIT and another with a PhD in political science, were not trying to credit the legal profession and in fact studiously avoided mention of the lawyer’s role in society. Still, Nobel laureates lined up in praise of their 2012 book, Why Nations Fail – The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Turkish-born American economist of Armenian origin Daron Acemoglu and British economist and political scientist James A. Robinson. Acemoglu & Robinson find inclusive By Ruchir Sharma political and economic institutions under the rule of law bring prosperity, while exclusive and extractive institutions without the rule of law cause economic and national decline, even as that lesser nation’s elite is enriched. Yes, it’s just about that simple. Most of their examples are from the less-developed world. Acemoglu & Robinson say inclusive or free nations have positive feedback loops that engender a virtuous cycle that prevents elites from undermining inclusiveness. Exclusive and extractive unfree nations on the other hand suffer from a vicious circle where poverty causing institutions generate negative feedback loops, perpetuating extractive institutions. They cite German sociologist Robert 28 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin
To see the actual publication please follow the link above