The discipline of economics is not what it used to be. Over
the last few decades, economists have begun a revolutionary
reorientation in how we look at the world, and this has major
implications for politics, policy, and our everyday lives. For
years, conventional economists told us an incomplete story that
leaned on the comfortable precision of mathematical abstraction and
ignored the complexity of the real world with all of its
uncertainties, unknowns, and ongoing evolution.
What economists left out of the story were the positive forces of
creativity, innovation, and advancing technology that propel
economies forward. Economists did not describe the dynamic process
that leads to new pharmaceuticals, cell phones, Web-based
information servicesforces that fundamentally alter how we live
our daily lives.
Economists also left out the negative forces that can hold
economies back: bad governance, counterproductive social practices,
and patterns of taking wealth instead of creating it. They took for
granted secure property rights, honest public servants, and the
willingness of individuals to experiment and adapt to
From Poverty to Prosperity is not Tipping Point or Freakonomics.
Those books offer a smorgasbord of fascinating findings in
economics and sociology, but the findings are only loosely related.
From Poverty to Prosperity on the other hand, tells a big picture
story about the huge differences in the standard of living across
time and across borders. It is a story that draws on research from
the world's most important economists and eschews the conventional
wisdom for a new, more inclusive, vision of the world and how it