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James A. Robinson on Geographical Factors - Dictionary of Arguments

Acemoglu I 48
Geographical Hypothesis/Acemoglu/Robinson: One widely accepted theory of the causes of world inequality is the geography hypothesis, which claims that the great divide between rich and poor countries is created by geographical differences. Many poor countries, such as those of Africa, Central America, and South Asia, are between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Rich nations, in contrast, tend to be in temperate latitudes.
AcemogluVs: This geographic concentration of poverty and prosperity gives a superficial appeal to the geography hypothesis, which is the starting point of the theories and views of many social scientists and pundits alike. But this doesn’t make it any less wrong. >Geographical Hypothesis/Motedquieu, >Geographical Hypothesis/Sachs.
Inequalities/AcemogluVsSachs: World inequality, however, cannot be explained by climate or diseases, or any version of the geography hypothesis. Just think of Nogales. What separates the two parts is not climate, geography, or disease environment, but the U.S.-Mexico border. If the geography hypothesis cannot explain differences between the north and south of Nogales, or North and South Korea, or those between East and West Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall (...).
Acemoglu I 50
(...) it is not true that the tropics have always been poorer than temperate latitudes. The Aztecs had both money and writing, and the Incas, even though they lacked both these two key technologies, recorded vast amounts of information on knotted ropes called quipus. In sharp contrast, at the time of the Aztecs and Incas, the north and south of the area inhabited by the Aztecs and Incas, which today includes the United States, Canada, Argentina, and Chile, were mostly inhabited by Stone Age civilizations lacking these technologies.
Acemoglu I 51
Diseases: Tropical diseases obviously cause much suffering and high rates of infant mortality in Africa, but they are not the reason Africa is poor. Disease is largely a consequence of poverty and of governments being unable or unwilling to undertake the public health measures necessary to eradicate them.
Agriculture: The other part of the geography hypothesis is that the tropics are poor because tropical agriculture is intrinsically unproductive. Tropical soils are thin and unable to maintain nutrients, the argument goes, and emphasizes how quickly these soils are eroded by torrential rains.
AcemogluVs: The great inequality of the modern world that emerged in the nineteenth century was caused by the uneven dissemination of industrial technologies and manufacturing production. It was not caused by divergence in agricultural performance. >Inequlities/Acemoglu.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

EconRobin I
James A. Robinson
James A. Acemoglu
Why nations fail. The origins of power, prosperity, and poverty New York 2012

Acemoglu II
James A. Acemoglu
James A. Robinson
Economic origins of dictatorship and democracy Cambridge 2006

Acemoglu I
James A. Acemoglu
James A. Robinson
Why nations fail. The origins of power, prosperity, and poverty New York 2012


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-07-27
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