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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2008
An excellent text or required reading for a course in social entrepreneurship, if only for those students with a thorough grounding in economics. Covering entrepreneurial, wealth-creating activities around the world, "Making poor nations rich" provides a useful sampling of efforts to eradicate poverty not through aid or poverty assistance programs but instead through creative capitalism and social entrepreneurship. Another good example of going well beyond giving a person a fish and, instead, helping her start a sustainable business. Wealth transfer and re-distribution are insufficient if well-intentioned remedies and globalization, free trade, and even some creative destruction are much more benevolent for the poor than they are often painted.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
In 1776 Adam Smith wrote a book on An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations in which he explained how and why Britain was becoming wealthy. The American founders took the book to heart, and as a consequence the 19th century saw Britain and the U.S. to become the first nations on earth in which the ordinary working man was able to enjoy an ever-more comfortable standard of living. Much of western Europe and then Japan managed to follow, until the anti-capitalists took over the universities in the 1920s and 30s. Sadly, after having known how to eliminate mass poverty for more than a hundred years, by 1950 most economists had become distracted by Keynes, socialism, or Marxism, such that as the former colonies became free they almost invariably implemented either a heavy-handed central government or outright Marxism. Powell's book is a wonderful contribution to the growing revival of real development economics, economics that can actually be used to create prosperity. The various contributions in Powell's book show how economic freedom has resulted in prosperity whenever it has been allowed to take place. In addition to the data-driven evidence, there are heart-rending accounts of how the poor are abused by bureaucrats. Every time I think of the Mr. Bouazizi, Tunisian merchant who immolated himself and thus started the Arab spring after he was harassed by authorities simply for selling goods, I think of accounts such as this from Powell's book:

"Consider cycle-rickshaw pullers and street vendors in the cities and towns of India. Delhi has approximately 500,000 cycle-rickshaws, providing an affordable and accessible transportation service to the poor. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi has mandated that rickshaws have to be licensed and that only ninety thousand licenses shall be given out. More than 80 percent of the cycle-rickshaws are illegal. This government-created illegality exposes the pullers to constant harassment and extortion by the police and municipal officers. One study suggests that on average a bribe of Rs 200 per month per cycle rickshaw is paid. Even the licensed rickshaws have to pay up. The government functionaries extort Rs 10,000,000 a month from the cycle-rickshaw pullers!"

Sadly, because of a lack of professional responsibility among mainstream development economists, the fact of the massive over-regulation, and consequent harassment, corruption, and constantly thwarted entrepreneurial opportunity in all poor nations remains unknown to most of the world. If only the protestors of the Arab spring had read Powell's book they would know that economic freedom is at least as important as democracy, and in terms of prosperity it is much more important.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
"Making Poor Nations Rich" is a very good book. It consists of three main parts. The first part deals with institutions and entrepreneurship. The second part is about the importance of constrained entrepreneurship on economic development in Africa, Latin America, Scandinavia, and the transitional economies of the former USSR. The final part stresses the benefit of the reforms underlying the growth spurt in entrepreneurship in China and the Republic of Ireland, and the difficulties that challenge entrepreneurship in India, New Zealand, and Botswana.

If pressed to rank the sections of the book in descending order of their strengths, I would say: Foreword, Introduction, Part 1, Part 3, and Part 2. However, such an ordering is too subjective for a great book like this one. I give it 5-stars.

Amavilah, Author
Modeling Determinants of Income in Embedded Economies
ISBN: 1600210465
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This book is based, first of all, on a failure to define exactly what the authors mean by "entrepreneurship", and second by their failure to indicate that it is their kind of "entrepreneurship" that has been rejected by the Supreme Court and Congress of these United States

Their kind of "entrepreneurship" is business and commerce unbridled and uncontrolled by just laws - - the kind of "entrepreneurship" that created slavery, segegration, child labor, and the kind of labor practices that brought about major decisions of the Supreme Court. like "Muller v. Oregon". in 1908, , and a host of others.

It is this kind of "entrepreneurship" that is operative in most Third World countries, in spite of the authors seeming detailed statistics to the contrary. We can see it tearing apart countries like Mexico - in Africa,in Asia, and in the Middle East. Entrepreneurship is absent in totalitarian countries like China, Russia, Syria, Iran and North Korea, because totalitarian governments want to control the economy of their countries to benefit the State.

This book is really a plea for Free Market Economics, unbridled and unregulated by just laws, with the manipulation of statistics to give the impression that it is Free Market Economics that brings about prosperity in nations.

Commerce in the United states is the responsibility of Congress, not the several states, because otherwise states would put barriers to a national economy.

Supreme Court decisions from "Gibbons v. Ogden - to "Wabash , St. Louis & Pacific Railway Co. v. Illinois" - to Muller v. Oregon" - to C & A Carbone, Inc v. Town of Clarktown" have prevented a Free Market Economy from taking root in the United states. The latest decision in 1994.

Without these Supreme Court decisions and similar acts of Congress, business monopolies would dominate commerce in these United States and the commerce of the country would be in the hands of Free Market practitioners, intent only on their own private and personal advantage.

In these United states, commerce and business is regulated by Congress, and not by the market. This book is an attempt to circumvent both Congress and the Supreme Court in matters commercial and Economic, by an appearance of statistical analyses of world-wide economics, in particular,of Third World countries, totally oblivious to the effect of unrestrained economics in these countries, and the sole reason for the developmental conundrum of their impoverished condition.

Father Clifford Stevens
Archdiocese of Omaha
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