Chapters 2-3, Theories That Don't Work, The Making of Prosperity and Poverty Summary and Analysis
Chapter 2 begins by emphasizing the vast disparities in wealth among the nations of the world. Britain, its satellite nations like the U.S. and Canada and Australia, along with Western Europe, are all rich, along with several Asian nations. The poorest nations are in sub-Saharan Africa. And there is a striking distinction between wealth levels in North and South America. The point of Chapter 2 is to demonstrate that most popular explanations of these disparities are false.
The first theory that the authors target is the "geography hypothesis" which holds, depending on the version, that differences in wealth levels can be attributed to geographical differences between nations. A common view, advocated by Montesquieu, all the way up to economist Jeffrey Sachs today, is that weather plays an important factor. In hot, tropical nations, people are said to be lazier due to less risk of cold and the heat involved in...