Narrow Corridor
Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson

Book cover image

Narrated By: Stephen Graybill

Duration: 23 hours and 45 minutes

What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

By the authors of the international bestseller Why Nations Fail, based on decades of research, this powerful new big-picture framework explains how some countries develop towards and provide liberty while others fall to despotism, anarchy or asphyxiating norms - and explains how liberty can thrive despite new threats.

Liberty is hardly the 'natural' order of things; usually states have been either too weak to protect individuals or too strong for people to protect themselves from despotism. There is also a happy Western myth that where liberty exists, it's a steady state, arrived at by 'enlightenment'. But liberty emerges only when a delicate and incessant balance is struck between state and society - between elites and citizens. This struggle becomes self-reinforcing, inducing both state and society to develop a richer array of capacities, thus affecting the peacefulness of societies, the success of economies and how people experience their daily lives.

Explaining this new framework through compelling stories from around the world, in history and from today - and through a single diagram on which the development of any state can be plotted - this masterpiece helps us understand the past and present, and analyse the future.

Includes an accompanying PDF of charts.

Genre

Government powers, Constitution: government & the state, Central / national / federal government policies, Systems of law, International law, Law & society, sociology of law, Comparative politics

Listen to a sample

Society and state need each other. Applying a global wealth of historical detail to a simple analytic framework, Acemoglu and Robinson build a powerful argument against the current opposing fashions of totalitarianism and the stateless society

Sir Paul Collier, author of The Bottom Billion

Another outstanding, insightful book by Acemoglu and Robinson on the importance and difficulty of getting and maintaining a successful democratic state. Packed with examples and analysis, it is a pleasure to read

Peter Diamond, Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2010

How should we view the current challenges facing our democracies? This brilliant, timely book offers a simple, powerful framework for assessing alternative forms of social governance. The analysis is a reminder that it takes vigilance to maintain a proper balance between the state and society-to stay in the 'narrow corridor'-and avoid falling either into statelessness or dictatorship

Bengt Holmstrom, Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2016

This book is more original and exciting than its predecessor...the highly influential Why Nations Fail

Financial Times

The Narrow Corridor takes us on a fascinating journey, across continents and through human history, to discover the critical ingredient of liberty. It finds that it's up to each of us: that ingredient is our own commitments, as citizens, to support democratic values. In these times, there can be no more important message-nor any more important book

George Akerlof, Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2001

One of the biggest paradoxes of political history is the trend, over the last 10,000 years, towards the development of strong centralized states, out of the former bands and tribes of no more than a few hundred people that formerly constituted all human societies. Without such states, it would be impossible for societies of millions to function. But-how can a powerful state be reconciled with liberty for the state's citizens? This great book provides an answer to this fundamental dilemma. You will find it as enjoyable as it is thought-provoking