You should read the book in its entirety but in case you don't have time, as usual, I'll summarise its findings for you.
"Countries such as Great Britain and the United States became rich because their citizens overthrew the elites who controlled power and created a society where political rights were much more broadly distributed, where the government was accountable and responsive to citizens, and where the great mass of people could take advantage of economic opportunities" - Extract from the book.
Acemoglu amd Robinson studied the histories of numerous countries describing and found a common cause of failue. What they found is the key differentiator between countries is “institutions.” Nations thrive when they develop “inclusive” political and economic institutions, and they fail when those institutions become “extractive” and concentrate power and opportunity in the hands of only a few.
Nations that thrive and succeed are those that empower their people both politically and economically. Power is distributed "puralistically" and "extractive" power structures that reinforce extractive economic institutions to hold power are avoided
Authors show that there is a common historic pattern that you cannot sustain your economy if don't have the correct political structure i n place. They argue that China has not found the magic formula for combining political control and economic growth - its system in inherently unsustainable and the full historic outcome of current system has not been played out.
In a chapter :“What Stalin, King Shyaam, the NeolithicRevolution, and the Maya city-states all had in common and howthis explains why China’s current economic growth cannot last.”, the authors predict that the current system in China will eventually fail because it concentrates power and is unable to distribute the wealth.
In a presentation at the Harvard Bookshop for the launch of the book, Acemoglu, the leading expert iin his field debunked the myth that a nation can thrive and continue to thrive by if led by enlightened leadership. Such leadership without other inclusive institutions in place will eventually lead to a class of elites whose interest is to enrich themselves and hold on to power rather than share prosperity broadly among the population.
In response to a question by a student, 20min 30sec into the video Acenoglu talks about Singapore and other countries with similar models why such systems are unsustainable.
In an earlier posting, I linked the high income inequality in Singapore to the unequal distribution of power in our society[Link]. Acemoglu and Robinson showed that this is a common pattern among nations that fail and history is full of such examples.