Famous Economist Prof. Daron Acemoğlu Underscores the Importance of Politics...

Speaking at the 2nd Merih Celasun Memorial Day organized by TEPAV, Acemoğlu stressed that Turkey’s democratization process was slow-paced and full of risks.

ANKARA – Daron Acemoğlu, Professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and two-time nominee for the Nobel Prize, stated that considering the future of the Turkish economy, how political risks were managed was of higher importance than economic figures.

Speaking at the 2nd Merih Celasun Memorial Day TEPAV held on Thursday, 20 June 2010, Acemoğlu said that inclusive and extractive institutions have always coexisted in Turkey and added that though steps towards democratization in Turkey have gained pace in the last decade and a half, the process would be a long one marked with risks. He said, "It is critical that the military power has left the political arena. But that the military power was replaced by a democratically elected government does not necessarily mean that Turkey has become democratic and inclusive." Warning that in the democratization process a political party or certain individuals might be overrepresented in the use of power and thus weaken inclusive institutions, he added, "the critical issue is how Turkey will manage this risk."

In response to a question about whether the withdrawal of the military from the politics will create new authoritarian and extractive institutions, he said that the answer to this question was more important than the current account deficit or interest rate for the economic future of the country.

The event received high participation

This event, the second of the Merih Celasun Memorial Days events organized by TEPAV attracted great attention. Participants involved his former students and friends who are prominent politicians, academics, and bureaucrats as well as many students and academics who wanted to listen to Acemoğlu’s lecture.

Acemoğlu talked about his latest book

This year’s Merih Celasun Memorial Lecture, the first of which was delivered by Professor Dani Rodrik of Harvard University in 2010, was given by Daron Acemoğlu. During the lecture, he talked about his latest book Why Nations Fail, which he co-authored with James Robinson.

He stressed the importance of politics and political institutions in the evolution and operational principles of economic institutions. Explaining the difference between prosperous and poor nations, he referred to the distinction of inclusive and extractive institutions, where he defined the former as "institutions that create a level playing field through which a nation can best deploy its talent." In this context, he referred to case studies from South America and North America, while addressing the latest developments in the region of the "Arab Spring."

Upon a question, he replied:

"Everyone is talking about China. But before China was the more remarkable case of the Soviet Russia, which had grown rapidly for four decades. Back then, everyone thought that it was a perfect system. Obviously, Soviet Russia’s system was composed of extractive institutions where power was enjoyed exclusively by the political party. The system died out as it was unable to bring technology and produce innovative goods. The case in China is similar. Though China initiated major reforms, growth was attained under the extractive institutions system. Yet, China will continue facing challenges unless deep-rooted reforms are made and people are involved in economic and political activities".

Please click here to watch the video of Acemoğlu’s presentation.

Prof. Daron Acemoğlu to Give a Lecture at TEPAV: "Why Nations fail?"

The second event of the annual Merih Celasun Memorial Day series will be held on Wednesday, 20 June 2012. During the event, Professor Daron Acemoğlu of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will deliver a presentation titled "Why Nations Fail?" Merih Celasun Memorial Day events are to host prominent international academics to deliver memorial lectures on structural problems of the Turkish economy.