The Lavin Agency is a speakers bureau, based in New York City and Toronto. We exclusively represent leading thinkers, writers, and doers who inspire ideas and dialogue that make the world a better place.
It’s fitting that in the year after the Arab Spring and the European debt crisis dethroned one head of state after another, MIT economist Daron Acemoglu and Harvard University political scientist James Robinson put out an authoritative tome arguing, based on a sweeping historical survey stretching back to the Neolithic age, that state failure stems not from culture, geography, or insufficient technocratic expertise, but rather from what they call “extractive institutions” — those that concentrate power and wealth in the hands of a few elites. “Poor countries are poor because those who have power make choices that create poverty,” the two write in Why Nations Fail. “They get it wrong not by mistake or ignorance but on purpose.”
In tackling one of history’s most vexing questions — why some countries flourish while others flounder — Acemoglu and Robinson argue that Mexico is poorer than the United States because of the institutions established by Spanish versus British colonialists, and that authoritarian China’s current economic growth is simply not sustainable. The duo has also launched a blog to apply their thesis to everything from the eurozone crisis to sexual repression in North Korea.
Along the way, Acemoglu and Robinson are making people think again (and again) about geopolitics. “The more you read [Why Nations Fail], the more you appreciate what a fool’s errand we’re on in Afghanistan and how much we need to totally revamp our whole foreign aid strategy,” New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman marveled. “But most intriguing are the warning flares the authors put up” about America’s growing inequality and China’s unsustainable growth. They’re danger signs world leaders would do well to heed.
Charles Fishman’s latest feature in The Atlantic examines the potential return of American manufacturing from China. Here’s a few bullet points that sum up Fishman’s fantastic article:
More factory jobs are returning to the United States—probably to stay.
Not only can you make dishwashers (and other appliances) better in America than you can in China or Mexico—but companies are beginning to find ways to make them cheaper at home.
The outsourcing “boom” didn’t save companies money. There was a notion that chasing the lowest cost and sending manufacturing overseas would help to cut down on production costs, but as Fishman says, “they didn’t do the math right, and they didn’t save money.”
Factories are, really, research and development labs. By bringing factory work back to America it means that, over time, companies can learn how to improve their products. When you construct something day in and day out, you learn all about the product and can then learn how to make the product better in terms of efficiency in construction and usefulness for the consumer.
Here’s The Atlantic’s James Fallows, documenting his recent trip through one of China’s Foxconn factories. His feature story in this month’s issue examines the possible return of American manufacturing from a decade of Chinese dominance.
“You need to provide opportunities and incentives, ” economics speaker Daron Acemoglusays of creating economic growth. The problem with this, he discusses in a Edge.org interview, comes when you have to create a political agenda that provides both those things—in a way that entices the public to abide by the changes.
"You really need people themselves to start taking part in the political process. Any solution you impose from above is not going to stick unless it has the support of the people, unless the people themselves are the ones who push for it, who demand it, and who implement that solution."
“The End of Men brilliantly captures a profound change in our cultural zeitgeist” - Time Magazine
“Rosin’s Book may be the most insightful and readable cultural analysis of the year” - The Los Angeles Times
Rosin provides an engaging and in-depth account of the way economic shifts have dramatically changed traditional gender roles in this new book; explaining that men are falling behind and women are coming out ahead.