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Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu & James Robinson

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu & James Robinson

Author:Daron Acemoglu & James Robinson [Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James]
Language: eng
Format: epub, azw3, mobi
Tags: Non-fiction, Social Science, General, Poverty, Political Science, Economic Policy, International, Public Policy, Business & Economics, Economic History
ISBN: 9780307719232
Google: yIV_NMDDIvYC
Amazon: 0307719219
Barnesnoble: 0307719219
Goodreads: 13531372
Publisher: Crown Business
Published: 2012-03-20T04:00:00+00:00


All this warfare and conflict not only caused major loss of life and human suffering but also put in motion a particular path of institutional development in Africa. Before the early modern era, African societies were less centralized politically than those of Eurasia. Most polities were small scale, with tribal chiefs and perhaps kings controlling land and resources. Many, as we showed with Somalia, had no structure of hierarchical political authority at all. The slave trade initiated two adverse political processes. First, many polities initially became more absolutist, organized around a single objective: to enslave and sell others to European slavers. Second, as a consequence but, paradoxically, in opposition to the first process, warring and slaving ultimately destroyed whatever order and legitimate state authority existed in sub-Saharan Africa. Apart from warfare, slaves were also kidnapped and captured by small-scale raiding. The law also became a tool of enslavement. No matter what crime you committed, the penalty was slavery. The English merchant Francis Moore observed the consequences of this along the Senegambia coast of West Africa in the 1730s:

Since this slave trade has been us’d, all punishments are changed into slavery; there being an advantage on such condemnations, they strain for crimes very hard, in order to get the benefit of selling the criminal. Not only murder, theft and adultery, are punished by selling the criminal for slave, but every trifling case is punished in the same manner.



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