...the Acemoglu and Robinson point is not just about how things may become awful when the government goes off-track (a right-wing point). They are also more deeply concerned about how powerful people fight to grab control of the state and otherwise compete to exert influence over the rest of society (a left-wing perspective).
The outcome to fear is some form of “extractive institutions,” meaning a set-up in which most of society is pressed down by working arrangements – e.g., various forms of forced labor – or civil disorder or a more general lack of property rights. They provide many historical and contemporary examples of what this means in their book....Read it at the Baseline Scenario
The Koch Brothers, The Cato Institute, And Why Nations Fail
by Simon Johnson | former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and a member of the CBO’s Panel of Economic Advisers.
(h/t Mark Thoma)