Jeffrey Sachs' argument about the book Why Nations Fail boils down to a basic claim: it is simple, misleading, and frequently wrong. Sachs is all too eager to take shots at the ideas of others, but can't tolerate challenges to his own work.
Why Nations Fail is grand history in the style of Jared Diamond. Provocative and fun, the theme is that the reason nations fail or succeed is not economic policies, geography, culture, or value systems -- but rather political institutions.
The downgrades in the credit ratings of major banks mean very little to the average consumer, but the downgrade in the credibility of Congress and the mess we have made of our financial regulatory structure should give us all pause.
One cannot read Why Nations Fail during this campaign season without recognizing on every page the authors' criteria for successful nations fulfilled by President Obama's built-to-last economic policies and the failing nations' policies being consciously pursued by Romney-Ryan.