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How Rich Countries Got Rich and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor

Erik S. Reinert

5 Reviews

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Prose: non-fiction, Economics

How Rich Countries Got Rich buries the economic orthodoxy once and for all and shows why freetrade is not he best answer for our hopes of worldwide prosperity.

How Rich Countries Got Rich is a narrative history of modern economic development from the Italian Renaissance to the present day.

In it Erik S. Reinert shows how rich countries developed through a combination of government intervention, protectionism, and strategic investment. Reinert suggests that this set of policies in various combinations has driven successful development from Renaissance Italy to the modern Far East. Yet despite its demonstrable success, orthodox development economists have largely ignored this approach and insisted instead on the importance of free trade.

Reinert presents a strongly revisionist history of economics and shows how the discipline has long been torn between the continental Renaissance tradition on one hand and the free market theories of English and later American economics on the other. He argues that our economies were founded on protectionism and state activism and could only later afford the luxury of free trade. When our leaders come to lecture poor countries on the right road to riches they do so in almost perfect ignorance of the real history of mass affluence.

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Praise for How Rich Countries Got Rich and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor

  • Reinert asks the most fundamental questions about economic development, and proceeds to answer them with clear logic, a sweeping grasp of history and an immensely readable style. - Network Ideas

  • It lands powerful punches. - The Sunday Telegraph

  • Unlike much of the writing produced by opponents of globalization, these are serious books by serious people. They deserve to be read. - Reviewed alongside H-Joon Chang s book in Financial Times.

  • Warning: this book will forever change your conception of economic development. - Prof Perez, Cambridge University.

  • A breakthrough in our understanding of the links between technology and the wealth and poverty of nations. - Prof Freeman, Univ of Sussex.

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Erik S. Reinert

Erik S. Reinert, author of Globalization, Economic Development and Inequality: An Alternative Perspective (2004), is Professor of Technology, Governance and Development Strategies at Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia, and President of The Other Canon Foundation, Norway. He is one of the world's leading heterodox development economists and is based in Norway.

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