Category Archives: Author Response

Why Nations Fail authors respond to Bill Gates

9780307719225In Why Nations Fail professors Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson assert that strong, inclusive political and economic institutions—not geography, culture, or market-based tendencies—determine a nation’s success or failure. Their findings, based on fifteen years of original research, have garnered excellent to favorable reviews from academia as well as from leading voices in the international aid and development community. However, in February, Microsoft founder Bill Gates criticized the book in a much-publicized review on his website (link to his review).

In response to Gates’ assessment, the authors responded with a pointed and detailed retort:

“Why Nations Fail received the harshest reviews from those who see geography and culture as the root causes of poverty, and enlightened leaders — or even more enlightened outside donors and organizations — as the keys to economic development. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given his dedication to international aid, billionaire foundation chief Bill Gates falls into this category: His Feb. 26 review of our book was particularly uncharitable. Unfortunately, however, it was also dead wrong on many counts.”  To read the rest of their essay, click here.

What do you think of Bill Gates’ assessment of Why Nations Fail?  What of the counterpoints made by the authors?

——————————————-

Order a desk or exam copy here

More about this book

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Essays, Author Response, Uncategorized

Author Response: “The Occult and the Making of American Religion”

OCCULT AMERICA by Mitch Horowitz

by Mitch Horowitz, author of Occult America: White House Seances, Ouija Circles, Masons, and the Secret Mystic History of Our Nation (Bantam hardcover 2009, Bantam trade paperback October 2010).

Discussions about the occult tend to stir passions, which is natural because we’ve been raised to regard occult spirituality as something diabolical or just strange. I argue in Occult America that mystical and supernatural-themed religions are communities of belief and should be understood as a vital part of America’s religious development – indeed we can’t really understand our religious past (and present) without coming to terms with them.  They have exerted a remarkable influence on mainstream life.

To reply to Juan Oskar’s good question about feudalism and the European church, Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Response

Author Response: “Why the Debate on Immigration is All Wrong”

Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario

A few years ago, in a conversation with my husband’s oldest brother, I said that I thought the only solution to illegal immigration was to help create jobs in the handful of countries that send about four in every five undocumented immigrants to the U.S.

My husband’s brother, assuming I was talking about U.S. foreign aid, got very angry. He reached for his pant pocket and yanked out his wallet. He slapped it down on the picnic table. “This is my money!” he told me. No one, he said, was going to use his hard-earned cash to help a bunch of people in another country he didn’t even know. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Response

Author Response: “Legalize All Drugs Now!”

HIGH by Brian O'Dea

Brian O’Dea, author of HIGH: Confessions of an International Drug Smuggler (Other Press 2009), responds to comments posted to his “Legalize All Drugs Now!” essay from September 23rd, 2009.

I was interviewed recently by a young reporter who grew up in the midst of the so called “drug war”.  As far as she was concerned, it is perfectly alright for our government to wage a war against the weakest of our citizens, even though her entire premise for it being acceptable  was built on a foundation of lies, untruths, omissions, and a complete disregarding of the facts.  Numbers issued by the DEA have notoriously distorted the facts for years (a simple example is found in their excessive valuation of the drugs they seize), and even only recently, under extreme pressure from LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition –LEAP.CC) have they changed a blatant lie on their home page regarding marijuana.

At any rate, I digress, let’s return to the interview. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Response