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I recommend reading “Why Nations Fail” by Daron Acemoglu. At a very high level, nations often fail because of elite-driven rent extraction. Sometimes they don’t just fail for a few decades, they continue to spectacularly fail for centuries.

When people are forced out of their social and economic agency by a narrow elite, they will continue to be deprived of their agency long after that elite is replaced by another elite and another elite until people forget that they ever had culture and wealth. Now, I don’t think we’re seeing the worst manifestation of that in the U.S. Far from it. But it was striking to see not only how consistently problematic elite stratification is, but how good it can be to give power to the people.

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty https://www.amazon.com/dp/0307719227/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_pp...

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