I’ve never given up on a book before. From Poverty to Prosperity brought me the closest I’ve ever come to doing that. I did, after many months, manage to slog through it, so I still haven’t given up on a book. Why didn’t I like this book?
First: it simply fails as a book. The authors present a very brief theory/vision/explanation for the future of the global economy and then proceed to fill the pages with loosely related interviews from prominent economists. The content just doesn’t suit the medium and it’s left to the reader to reassemble these disjointed opinions into a coherent narrative that supports the authors’ views.
Second: those views, the fundamental premise offered by the authors, that “Economics 2.0” will be built on the infinite availability of grand ideas and won’t be constrained by the inconveniences of limited resources, strikes me as overly simplistic and impressively naive. The tone of the entire book is one of academics who have never experienced the harsh realities of scarcity, corruption, and poverty (not that I have either, but I’m not writing a book that proposes solutions to all three). If it were as simple as the authors claim, to transition from “poverty to prosperity,” surely many more struggling countries would have already taken the necessary steps to do so.