Rich Nation, Poor Nation

Why Some Nations Prosper While Others Fail

Non-Fiction - Gov/Politics
152 Pages
Reviewed on 02/22/2017
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Charles Remington for Readers' Favorite

Rich Nation, Poor Nation, subtitled Why Some Nations Prosper While Others Fail, is a compelling work on the positive aspects of Free Market Economics. The author, Robert Genetski, takes the basic wealth of nations as his baseline and demonstrates through statistical evidence and cogent argument how economic freedom, as envisaged by the founding fathers of the USA and luminaries such as Adam Smith and Milton Friedman, is the principal method to promote wealth and maintain a sound national economy. The book provides detailed information analysing periods of Free Market policies (which the author refers to as Classical Principles) followed by governments in the USA and around the world, and periods of more Socialist leaning policies involving high taxation and burdensome government control (referred to as Progressive Policies), to demonstrate the ebb and flow of national wealth resulting from those exact policies. It was a surprise to learn that during periods of Progressive Policies adopted by various governments in the USA and around the world, national wealth fell and workers' wages remained stagnant or were reduced. It was only during periods of minimal government control, low taxation, and free open markets that both the nation and the average worker improved their basic wealth. The book also includes extensive analysis and statistics, together with data and appendices, to support the author’s arguments and conclusions.

Let me say straight away that I am not an economist, and after the recent global banking crisis and the machinations of the oil and energy markets, I was inclined to take a jaundiced view of a book expounding the benefits of free market economics. However, the analysis carried out by Robert Genetski presents an argument which is difficult to counter. Taking evidence from the performances of countries all around the world, including Russia, Japan and a good number of European, African and South American countries during periods of both Classic and Progressive government policies, the evidence becomes almost incontrovertible. I did not expect to enjoy this book, let alone start to agree with the principles put forward, but Rich Nation, Poor Nation has certainly caused me to reexamine my views. I congratulate Mr Genetski on producing a clear, thought-provoking narrative covering a complex subject, but which can be easily followed by the layman. An excellent, scholarly work and I do not hesitate to recommend it.

Stefan Vucak

Why are some nations rich and others poor? In his short book, Rich Nation, Poor Nation, Robert Genetski provides an interesting conclusion based on analysis of the wealthiest and poorest nations in the world. The author defines wealth as ‘…the value of those goods and services originally created to meet the demands of others … Wealth is what determines the living standards of people throughout the world.’ While government is essential in providing the proper environment for creating wealth, all wealth is created by the private sector. Without the discipline imposed by a system of profits and losses, there is a strong tendency for government spending to be less efficient than private spending. There is an ongoing conflict between policies that increase the power of governments, which results in erosion of individual freedoms, increase in government spending and a declining economy, and policies to reduce government influence. In the United States, periods of low interest rates and smaller government spending have resulted in real growth in individual and national wealth. Whenever the US deviated from its founding principles, its economy behaved in a manner similar to what is found in the world’s poorest nations.

Comparison of European countries with large bureaucratic governments as examples of highly successful economies is not supported by evidence. The evidence indicates that the most successful European nations are those with smaller government sectors and greater economic freedom. The EU bureaucracy is an impediment to wealth creation and stifles individual and corporate economic freedom, which has resulted in a stagnating economy. From being one of the poorest countries in the world, China became the largest economy in the world by embracing elements of classical economic principles and enabling limited individual economic freedom. In terms of natural resources, Russia may be the richest country in the world. In recent years, Russia has reverted to its authoritarian past, resulting in the decline of economic wealth and curtailment of individual freedom. Many observers attributed Japan’s success since the 1950s to the government’s active role in guiding its economy. In reality, success can be attributed to the introduction of free-market capitalism into what was otherwise a tightly controlled economy. Increases in government spending and taxes have undermined growth and eroded living standards, which has led to gradual economic stagnation.

Robert Genetski maintains that, regardless of their culture, people respond to policies that promote economic and individual freedom. This response consistently enhances the wealth of individuals and the wealth of their nation. In contrast, policies restricting economic freedom repress people’s creative, productive behavior. As a result, such policies consistently undermine the creation of wealth. The higher a country’s degree of economic freedom and the longer it is sustained, the greater the increase in a country’s wealth. Similarly, the longer policies move away from such freedoms, the more countries experience widespread poverty. Rich Nation, Poor Nation briefly touches on the fascinating interplay of laissez-faire economics, the role of governments and individual freedom in the role of generating and maintaining national wealth and living standards. I wish that Robert Genetski had produced a more comprehensive analysis, incorporating contributing factors to wealth generation appropriate in a larger book. Nevertheless, the work is a worthy snapshot to prompt readers into further research.

Geree McDermott

What makes some countries wealthy and other countries impoverished? Discover the reason in Robert Genetski’s Rich Nation, Poor Nation: Why Some Nations Prosper While Others Fail. Through extensive historical research, Robert Genetski examines the economic policies of the United States, as well as other countries, and reveals surprising similarities in how countries respond to different economic policies. He uncovers the policies that result in the wealthiest and the poorest nations, and illustrates his findings with historical facts and graphic charts. We learn, for example, that in the United States, presidents often choose to venture away from the current policy to achieve different goals, and that certain policies lead to prosperity while others cause stagnation. After reading Rich Nation, Poor Nation, the answer is obvious.

I enjoyed reading Rich Nation, Poor Nation. It is well written and easy to understand so that even laypersons like myself can comprehend the economic mistakes and successes of the world’s nations. I have experienced the economic consequences Robert Genetski outlines and his premise is correct. I no longer live in the United States and now live in Chile and, as Robert Genetski explains, Chile changed economic policies and transformed itself from a poor nation into the wealthiest economy in South America; the proof is in the prosperous businesses and the contentment of the people. I found Robert Genetski’s Rich Nation, Poor Nation a must-read for citizens of all countries.

Sefina Hawke

Rich Nation, Poor Nation: Why Some Nations Prosper While Others Fail by Robert Genetski is a non-fiction book that falls into the genre of government and politics. Rich Nation, Poor Nation would appeal most to an audience made up of adults who enjoy furthering their knowledge of government and politics. This book focuses on how economic policies affect wealth in forty different countries. There is an in-depth analysis of how people in different countries react to alternative economic policies. The book advocates the idea that economic freedom allows people of any country, religion, or culture to maximize their creative talents and potential. This then creates an enhancement of wealth of both individual people and their countries.

I personally found Rich Nation, Poor Nation: Why Some Nations Prosper While Others Fail by Robert Genetski to be an interesting analysis of the reasons for failure and success of nations concerning economic policies and wealth. I found it interesting that economic freedom could serve to increase the creative potential of an individual, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. A person has to have the freedom to be creative before they can truly unleash their potential. I found Robert Genetski's style of writing to be perfect for this topic as he made the material interesting instead of dry, like some authors do. I feel this book would be particularly useful to countries, states, and nations that are struggling financially as it might help them to understand where they are failing and what they would need to alter in their economic policies in order to succeed. Overall, I greatly enjoyed reading Robert Genetski’s book and I can only hope that he continues to write more in the future.

Samantha Dewitt (Rivera)

Wealth is a complex idea that is influenced by a number of different aspects, from skills and effort to rare examples of luck or subterfuge. But that is simply luck as it relates to individuals. When we look at wealth as it relates to countries, however, it becomes even more complex and yet even more important. In Rich Nation, Poor Nation by Robert Genetski, the measurement of the United States and the wealth within, as compared to other countries, is further examined to provide a much clearer picture of just what can be accomplished by the country, and how it can seek to improve its wealth going forward.

If you’re looking to understand wealth better and fully understand how different countries have managed to change their capabilities, then this is the book for you. It examines a range of different countries from more developed ones to less developed ones, and helps you better understand what really goes (or went) into creating wealth for them. It’s a long process and it’s complex, but it’s something that you’ll want to learn about for yourself as well. With this book, you’ll have no problem understanding these complex issues and understanding why some nations are ‘rich’ and some are ‘poor.’ It also helps you better understand why rich nations sometimes seem poor or poor nations sometimes seem rich, because it really is an extremely complicated process and one that economists have attempted to better understand for decades. Using charts and graphs definitely helps to make Rich Nation, Poor Nation by Robert Genetski easier to understand and the concept a whole lot clearer for the average person.