The Great Escape Book Summary - The Great Escape Book explained in key points
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The Great Escape summary

Angus Deaton

Health, Wealth and the Origin of Inequality

3.8 (33 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

"The Great Escape" by Angus Deaton explores how people around the world have achieved increased prosperity and improved health through political and economic changes. It highlights the ongoing challenges of inequality and the need for continued progress.

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    The Great Escape
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    There’s never been a better time to be alive.

    When listening to the news these days, one gets the impression things are just getting worse and worse. But the news never gives the whole story. In fact, rather than getting worse, our well-being has, on average, never been better than it is today.

    Until about 250 years ago, most people throughout the world lived in poverty. And today, although a lot has happened since then, more than a billion people live in extreme poverty, suffering the same terrible living conditions as their forebears.

    But overall well-being – which includes things like access to health services, higher pay, longer lifespans, happiness, opportunities for education and progress as well as general quality of life – has increased considerably.

    For example, a white middle-class girl born in the Unites States today has a life expectancy of over 80 years (with a 50 percent chance of living to 100). She also has opportunities for education and better economic prospects than her parents.

    Despite all this, however, there is still extreme inequality in well-being worldwide. Though people today earn more money and enjoy better living standards than ever before, there are still massive disparities between rich and poor countries.

    The health standards in Sierra Leone, for instance, are actually worse than health standards were in the United States in 1910, when 25 percent of children died before the age of five. And over half of the population of the Democratic Republic of Congo lives on less than a dollar per day.

    The good news is that these inequalities can lead to progress – if they’re used in the right way. For example, if the difference between, say, the rate of child mortality in rich and poor countries is well known, poor countries will likely try to adopt the innovations that allowed wealthier countries to increase life expectancy, and thus diminish these inequalities.

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    What is The Great Escape about?

    The Great Escape (2013) clearly explains that humanity is doing better than ever before. But not everyone has benefited from the technological and political developments that have made our prosperity possible. By examining both historical and modern inequality, this book offers solid advice on how to close the gap.

    The Great Escape Review

    The Great Escape (2013) is an insightful exploration of global poverty and inequality, offering a unique perspective on the major issues our world faces today. Here are three reasons why you should read this book:

    • With its meticulous research and data-driven analysis, it presents a comprehensive understanding of the complexity of poverty and its solutions.
    • Angus Deaton combines his expertise in economics and his commitment to improving global welfare, providing a valuable and balanced perspective on the subject matter.
    • The book goes beyond mere statistics and explores the human stories behind poverty, touching hearts and making the issue relatable and engaging.

    Best quote from The Great Escape

    The great failure of poverty reduction has been in sub-Saharan Africa.

    —Angus Deaton
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    Who should read The Great Escape?

    • Anyone interested in global inequality
    • Anyone interested in economics and health

    About the Author

    Angus Deaton, a professor at both Princeton University and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Economics. He is also the author of The Analysis of Household Surveys and Economics and Consumer Behaviour.

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    The Great Escape FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Great Escape?

    The main message of The Great Escape is the power of economic development in improving human welfare.

    How long does it take to read The Great Escape?

    The reading time for The Great Escape varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Great Escape a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Great Escape is a thought-provoking book that sheds light on the challenges and victories in the field of development economics. It's definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of The Great Escape?

    The author of The Great Escape is Angus Deaton.

    What to read after The Great Escape?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Great Escape, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Co-Intelligence by Ethan Mollick
    • Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom
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