Inclusive and Extractive Economies in Publishing

John Walters

I have been reading a book on global economics, “Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty” by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, and my thoughts, as always, turn to publishing.

You don’t have to agree with everything the book says to be stimulated by its ideas.  It posits that political and economic institutions are mainly responsible for a nation’s poverty or prosperity rather than commonly held theories highlighting geography, culture, or the ignorance of their leaders.  When institutions are inclusive, that is, democratic and open to new ideas, technologies, innovators, and entrepreneurs, a nation flourishes.  However, when institutions become exclusive, that is, they exist for the enrichment of a small group of elite, they may experience growth, even rapid growth, for a while, but it is unsustainable due to the lack of incentive to develop new technologies or foster new investors for further growth.  The authors…

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