Johnson v. Acemoglu and Why the U.S. Could/Won’t Fail

Great post from Simon Johnson at NYT’s Economix blog in which he equates Acemoglu and Robinson’s book, Why Nations Fail (I can’t wait to read it) with the political situation in the U.S.

From the Acemoglu/Robinson perspective, the U.S. is the success story. The country that put institutions in place that help protect citizens and avoid extractive policies from the elite. And it’s true that in the grand scheme of things, we’re certainly in the top 25% (or so). But that doesn’t mean we are perfect or that there isn’t danger lurking around the corner.

Johnson points to the conservative Koch brothers and the banking industry in general. We can all see the role played by Super PACs which is only going to get larger and nastier in the general election.

Johnson says that Acemoglu sees a new progressive period around the corner, and he may be right. But it won’t happen by itself. We need to put the institutions into place that will continue to protect those with little property or political influence.


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