Friday, June 28, 2024

Left Behind: an economics version of Good to Great (Collins’ book)

 From my Goodreads review: Paul Collier has written the economics version of “Good to Great” and “Built to Last” by comparing nations of similar starting points and their divergent results. Not only does he review the statistics of the US, Great Britain, Denmark, Norway but also Singapore, Tanzania, Malawi and so on. How the author compares the economic and cultural policies of nation-states is a methodology he also uses to compare the resulting prosperity and resilience of cities and companies (Toyota vs GM in the 2000s, e.g.). Collier’s broad experience and research refutes Friedman’s orthodoxy that has reigned for nearly five decades in economics. Unlike another book being published this year under the guise of common sense, Collier demonstrates how tax policies, industrialization, inclusion/unity, urbanization, use of mining revenues and socioeconomic behaviors combine to create winners or losers. 

At times the book is confusing as it seems to argue with itself, but I think it’s revealing just onerous the capture of multiple influences and factors can be. Sometimes there can be a few broad generalizations of a nation’s governmental intent or motivations, or the motivations of millions of people as a group. 

I highly recommend this book for policy wonks, government leaders who want to search for ways to create long-term success for their communities.

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