WNF Chapter 6

In Chapter 6, Acemoglu and Robinson focus on the historical development of institutions and explain how they evolved in different ways. Through detailed description of history of Rome and Venice, they show that small institutional differences can play an important role during critical juctures and moves towards inclusive institutions can be reversed.

Historical factors shape how institutions develop, but it is not a simple, predetermined, cumulative process.

A&R are here setting the scene for an explanation of the industrial revolution in England and the rise of “the West”. The chain of argumentation runs as follows: Roman decline → feudalism → withering of slavery → cities, where aristocrats have less influence → Black death → stronger cities and peasants freed from landowners = the background for industrial revolution and Atlantic trade.


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