Wealth of Nations

I grew up and spent the first 25 years of my life in India. I lived a short while in NYC to attend the recurse center and now I live in the UK. I saw a bit more of the tiny blue marble in the meanwhile.

Hans Rosling says in Factfulness that you cannot divide the world into board “First” and “Third” world categories anymore and the divide is closing; but as someone who got to see a fair bit of both sides of the spectrum, it is my opinion that the divide is unspeakably huge and is much worse than he paints it to be. I earn almost 2x per day today than my first monthly salary out of college doing pretty much the same job. Life can change a lot when you get paid 70x.

India is unspeakably poor. Purchasing power is around 120th among the 180 countries tracked by the world bank. Literacy rate is around the same bracket. What the average British could take for granted a 100 years ago won’t happen in India for another century. Looking at the current state of the nation, it is only getting much worse.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes some countries wealthy and some poor. I enjoy learning macro economics and I hope to spend time in the next few months learning more; hopefully updating this post with details.

Here are some of the book suggestions from the twitter thread.

1. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

I’m honestly not sure if much of this is relevant anymore since he spends maybe 30% of the book talking about wheat prices in London. Its over 1200 pages long and a bit too dry to keep reading.

2. Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

I’ve a paperback already, so this might be the first in the list.

Why nations fail | James Robinson | TEDxAcademy

3 Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber

DEBT: The First 5,000 Years | David Graeber | Talks at Google

4. Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty

5. Development as Freedom by Amartya Sen

6. The Rise and Fall of Nations: Forces of Change in the Post-Crisis World by Ruchir Sharma

7. The wealth of Networks by Yochai Benkler (pdf)

Let me know your thoughts. You can reach me over email or @jaseemabid