In This Review

The Rise and Decline of Nations: Economic Growth, Stagflation, and Social Rigidities
The Rise and Decline of Nations: Economic Growth, Stagflation, and Social Rigidities
By Mancur Olson
Yale University Press, 1982, 287 pp.

This major book builds on the author's very original analyses of public goods and the damage done to societies by the power of special interest groups. Nine implications of his earlier work, when applied to the history of several major countries and the large issues mentioned in the subtitle, produce any number of striking insights and fruitful chains of reasoning. Whether all the explanations will stand up is a matter for scholars to determine as time passes, but they, as well as laymen, can benefit from this stimulating and clearly written exploration. It makes a powerful case for the virtues of competition and the open society.