The Great Escape Book Summary By Angus Deaton

*This post contains affiliate links, and we may earn an affiliate commission without it ever affecting the price you pay.

The Great Escape (2013) is an insightful and powerful look at the current state of inequality and what can be done to bridge the gap between those who benefit from technological and political developments, and those who don't.

This book offers engaging stories and vivid details to illustrate the historical backdrop of modern inequality while providing convincing arguments and strategies that can help combat it.

From in-depth analysis on topics such as global poverty to solutions for integrating technology into the fight against inequality, The Great Escape clearly explains why seemingly daunting tasks are within reach if we take aim at a shared goal - creating a more equitable world for all.

The Great Escape Book

Book Name: The Great Escape (Health, Wealth and the Origin of Inequality)

Author(s): Angus Deaton

Rating: 3.8/5

Reading Time: 17 Minutes

Categories: Economics

Buy on Amazon

Author Bio

The Great Escape was written by Angus Deaton, the Nobel Prize-winning author and professor of economics at Princeton University and Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

He is lauded for his work on household surveys, consumer behaviour and economics.

His book, The Great Escape explores wealth inequality from different angles.

Deaton takes a holistic approach to understanding economic disparities around the world and thoroughly examines multiple contributing factors.

With his knowledge in economics and survey analysis, he provides detailed insights into why some countries are more successful than others in creating wealth for their people.

Reversing The Inequality Gap: Understanding And Upholding Global Equality

Inequality Gap

In The Great Escape, readers gain insight into the deep-rooted causes of global inequality and what can be done to create more equitable outcomes.

Through compelling stories, author David Grann shines a light on the advancements made since the 18th century in life expectancy, scientific discoveries and technology that have vastly improved lives around the globe-but not for all.

Successes are often unevenly shared between richer countries and less affluent nations.

In an effort to promote fairer distribution of resources, Grann provides examples from our earliest ancestors’ way of life to explain why we should not take it for granted, how the US became an aristocracy and why foreign aid is only a temporary solution in the battle against poverty.

So if you’re looking for tangible ways to catalyze development in disadvantaged communities around the world, pick up The Great Escape for key strategies that empower both individuals and societies alike!

Wealthier Countries Should Use Their Resources To Improve Equality Of Well-Being Worldwide

Despite what the news might tell us, there has never been a better time to be alive.

Sure, more than a billion people live in extreme poverty, just like their ancestors did.

But overall well-being across the entire world has increased greatly in the last 250 years.

White middle-class girls born in America today now have access to high quality health services and education opportunities that previous generations never had.

What’s more, they have a life expectancy of over 80 years with a 50% chance of living to 100.

Of course, disparities between wealthy and poor countries remain stark – Sierra Leone’s health standards are actually worse than what they were in the United States back in 1910.

But this gap only serves as a motivator for poorer countries to work towards progress and adopting life improving innovations from wealthier ones – enough so that we all can have equal access to basic care and education opportunities that allow us to live healthy, purposeful lives.

The Neolithic Revolution: Settling Down Cost Us Our Well-Being And Lifespan

Our ancestors lived significantly shorter and unhealthier lives than we do today.

This is a stark contrast to their nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle, where they could enjoy healthy and balanced diets with nutritious wild plants, and avoid getting stuck in dirty and disease-ridden villages as they moved around often.

However, when the Neolithic Revolution began and our ancestors shifted to an agricultural lifestyle alongside their animals, their well-being decreased drastically.

This was due to unsanitary conditions created by keeping food close to domesticated animal feces, a lack of nutrition caused by relying on preserved food sources, and the emergence of diseases brought on by trade.

As a result, life expectancy dropped tremendously during this period.

Today’s advances in hygiene, nutrition and medical care have helped us defeat most of the issues faced by our ancestors – leading us to live longer healthier lives now than before!

The Increasing Life Expectancy Of The Modern World: A Look At Health Care, Nutrition, And Scientific Development

Health Care

In the last 250 years, social, political, economic and scientific changes have rapidly decreased mortality in many countries around the world.

This amazing increase of about 30 years in average life expectancy was largely achieved thanks to a decrease in child mortality.

Thanks to improved health care and disease prevention methods, child mortality has dropped to an incredible 0.5%.

This is a stark contrast from centuries past when a third of all children wouldn’t live to reach the age of five!

Better nutrition, health care and education have made it possible for babies born today to expect to live long enough to see their grandchildren or maybe even great-grandchildren — something that would not have been possible centuries ago.

Other factors improving mortality rates include advancements such as the germ theory, governmental stability as well as improved sanitation and increased research into disease prevention and treatments.

For example, after the city of London revamped their sanitation systems in the early 19th century, disease rates were quickly affected with cholera epidemics being brought under control.

However, major catastrophes like the Great Famine of China between 1959-1961 undeniably caused numerous fatalities; likewise the 34 million deaths due to HIV/AIDS cannot be ignored.

Existing preventable diseases like cholera or diarrhea are still killing many children across the globe – highlighting that there is still much work left to do in advancing health equality worldwide.

Governments And Poor Education Are Contributing To High Child Mortality Rates In Developing Countries

Despite the knowledge that improvements in sanitation and access to vaccines could help prevent deadly diseases and infections, child mortality continues to be high in many poorer countries.

This is because many of these countries do not have proper or sufficient healthcare systems or budgets from their governments to improve sanitation or access to medical treatments.

Furthermore, the governments of poorer nations may lack the motivation to implement measures that would help reduce child mortality rates, while the local population may still lack the education necessary to understand how such simple interventions could save lives.

Compounding this problem is limited access to advanced medicine for many people living in poor countries, leaving them vulnerable when their weakened immune system comes under attack from a virus or infection.

Additionally, people may not realize that their government could provide better health care options and services than what is currently available in their area.

All too often what little quality health care is available can only be afforded by those who can pay for it while others are left with nothing and must helplessly watch as their children become victims of preventable diseases due to inadequate health care resources.

The Key To Longer Life Expectancy Lies In Making Positive Lifestyle Choices And Investing In Prevention Rather Than Treatment

In richer countries, caring for the elderly is a huge problem.

Life expectancy has been increasing in wealthier countries due to technological advancement and scientific breakthroughs, but this growth has started to level off.

It’s now harder to lengthen the lives of older people compared to children, as diseases like cancer are still taking the lives of many aged individuals.

Chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and pneumonia often cause the deaths of elderly people in wealthy countries.

Billions of dollars are being pumped into research on treatments for these conditions, but even healthcare budgets can’t prevent them completely.

For example, in America up 18 percent of taxable income is now spent on healthcare services – yet citizens there don’t live as long as those from other similarly rich countries.

Making lifestyle changes such as smoking less and living healthier lifestyles is proving to be a valuable move towards increasing life expectancy in these nations too.

People realise they have the potential to live longer and so they’re working hard on reaching that goal rather than relying solely on medical initiatives or health care spending.

The Growing Global Disparity Of Wealth: From Poor Farmers To Modern-Day Aristocrats

Poor Farmers

The very nature of inequality has changed over time, becoming more multi-faceted and complex as the world progresses.

In the past, inequality was mainly based on wealth with a drastic difference between aristocracy, who owned the majority of land, and poor farmers.

This shifted after the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution brought new technologies to many countries across the world and created more opportunities for people to move up in society and build wealth.

However, some countries were still left behind when it came to receiving the benefits of modern technology, creating an even greater disparity of wealth between nations.

Furthermore, even within wealthy nations like the US, inequality remains high with one-percenters controlling a disproportionate amount of wealth compared to the rest of population who are struggling to meet basic needs or have access to higher education.

Thus we can see that not only is poverty present both within and outside of our own borders but also that its consequences are pervasive across all types of people affected.

The Impact Of Globalization Is Uneven, With Some Countries Gaining More Than Others

Globalization has brought some clear benefits to the world, from cheaper goods to increased access to information and technology.

However, economic and social progress won’t necessarily happen just because of globalization.

Take the example of poor countries around the world who, despite the knowledge of how to treat preventable diseases or establish a functioning democracy becoming more accessible, are still lacking the fundamental institutions necessary to implement those innovations that would help them escape poverty.

We can see this in countries such as Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, China and India which are rapidly growing because they’ve been able to build and sustain a stable environment which has allowed them to access and use globalization’s benefits.

Meanwhile other countries such as Liberia and Afghanistan have not seen similar success.

And then there’s the case of The Democratic Republic of Congo–despite having access to plenty of knowledge, it finds itself even poorer than it was before World War II!

So while globalization is great for spreading ideas and introducing new technologies all over the world, on its own it won’t be enough for lifting poorer countries out of poverty.

Institutions must exist that can take advantage of these newfound opportunities in order for progress in really be made.

The Threat Of Development Aid Illusion: Why Cash Injections Alone Won’t End Poverty

Cash Injections

Giving aid to poor countries may not be the most effective way to fight poverty.

Although governments and charities around the world provide over $133.5 billion in development aid, this money may not actually lead to poverty reduction.

The primary problem with simply throwing money at a country is that it can easily end up in the hands of corrupt leaders with zero interest in fighting poverty.

For example, Zimbabwe receives assistance that amounts to around ten percent of its national income, yet continues to be under autocracy by Robert Mugabe.

Moreover, sometimes cash injections end up propping up failing economies instead of helping those who genuinely need it.

It’s important to remember that there are other better ways of aiding those in need, such as disseminating scientific knowledge or allowing access to free markets — which could have more tangable results compared to giving direct cash aid from rich countries.

Therefore, when it comes to providing development aid for poorer countries, monetary donations alone can sometimes cause more harm than good.

Offering alternative forms of help such as technical assistance and trade agreements should be taken into account for a sustainable long-term solution against poverty.

Wrap Up

The Great Escape is an important book that highlights the great strides humanity has made in recent history.

In many wealthy countries, scientific and political advancements have led to comfortable lifestyles.

However, not all countries have been able to keep up with this progress, which is why help is needed in poorer nations in order to bring them up to modern standards of living.

Ultimately, this book offers an inspiring look at how far we’ve come as a species and reminds us of our responsibility to lend a hand wherever we can so everyone can experience the same opportunities for success.

Buy on Amazon
Arturo Miller

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.