Book Title: The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies, and the Fate of Liberty
Author: Daron Acemoğlu, James A. Robinson
Details: Published in September 2019 by Penguin books, 576 pages.
The book uses interesting stories of past civilisations to explain the factors that drive whether a society grows to be free, inclusive and prosperous or not. It’s a great scan of history to better understand the fragile equilibrium that enables us to live in relative comfort or endure various forms of chaos, repression and inequality.
The book is written in approachable language, using lots of short stories to build its argument and can be easily skimmed and get most of its insights.
To summarise the argument, it’s about the balance between both society’s participation in governance and state capacity to govern. While there is a strong path dependency predicting a country’s trajectory, individuals still play a major role in affecting change, both for the better and for the worst.