From the authors of the international bestseller Why Nations Fail, based on decades of research, this powerful new big-picture framework explains how some countries develop towards and provide liberty while others fall to authoritarianism or anarchy - and explains how liberty can thrive despite new threats.
Liberty is hardly the 'natural' order of things; usually states have been either too weak to protect individuals or too strong for people to protect themselves from despotism. There is also a happy Western myth that where liberty exists, it's a steady state, arrived at by 'enlightenment'. But liberty emerges only when a delicate and incessant balance is struck between state and society - between elites and citizens, between institutions and norms. This struggle becomes self-reinforcing, inducing both state and society to develop a richer array of capacities - thus affecting how peaceful societies are, how economies are organised and how people experience their daily lives.
Explaining this new framework through compelling stories from global history, this masterpiece helps us - with the development of any state plottable on a single diagram - to understand the past and present, and analyse the future.