Why Nations Fail – linking justice to development

I think what I’ve found most heartening about “Why Nations Fail: the Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty” (http://whynationsfail.com/) is that it is written by two economists. Daren Acemoglu and James Robinson provide a powerful historical argument that economic growth and development is not a product of economic know-how but the result of responsive institutions that ensure policy decisions benefits the economic interests of a diverse swath of citizens. In short: justice creates development, not the other way around.

This is the reason the Haki Network was created – to provide international support to local voices to take a leading role in promoting good and just governance, in turn promoting development and fighting poverty. Too often we have seen good development projects frustrated by elite capture or, worse, used as a tool to further entrench existing power dynamics. As Acemoglu and Robinson deftly document, development is a process of constructive destruction that often threatens the power of an established few, but benefits the vast majority. This process cannot be realized without broader democratic participation and the legal empowerment of communities.