Voltaire’s England

Voltaire was exiled to England from 1726 to 1729. His English letters reveal his admiration for England’s religious tolerance, the empiricism of its science, and the vitality of its commerce…

Two Revolutions and an Enlightenment

The Industrial Revolution was influenced by both the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment…

Why Nations Fail: 
Extractive and Inclusive Institutions

Acemoglu and Robinson’s goal is to explain why some nations are rich and others are poor. They present a theory based on the interaction between political and economic institutions. Casual empiricism suggests that its explanatory power is quite strong…

Why Nations Fail:
 Theory is Tidy, History is Messy

Acemoglu and Robinson argue that sustained growth is almost always attained in a particular way: inclusive political institutions develop first, followed by inclusive economic institutions, followed by growth. They recognize the boldness of their claim…

Ding Dong, the Witch is Still Very Much Alive

There were massive changes in economic institutions during the late twentieth century. China abandoned central planning. The Soviet Union collapsed, and its satellite states gained their political freedom and adopted free market systems. Socialism receded throughout Latin America and in India…