Sustained growth depends on innovation, whether it's
cutting-edge software from Silicon Valley, an improved assembly
line in Sichuan, or a new export market for Swaziland's leather.
Developing a new idea requires money, which poses a problem of
trust. The innovator must trust the investor with his idea and the
investor must trust the innovator with her money. Robert Cooter and
Hans-Bernd Schafer call this the "double trust dilemma of
development." Nowhere is this problem more acute than in poorer
nations, where the failure to solve it results in stagnant
In "Solomon's Knot," Cooter and Schafer propose a legal theory
of economic growth that details how effective property, contract,
and business laws help to unite capital and ideas. They also
demonstrate why ineffective private and business laws are the root
cause of the poverty of nations in today's world. Without the legal
institutions that allow innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive,
other attempts to spur economic growth are destined to fail.
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