The Lever of Riches is the title, Joel Mokyr is the author.
Summary: Wealth is very important. All of human wealth that we can measure is a result of innovation. What causes innovation? Hmm. That's a very hard, very complex topic. Any single answer fails on the evidence. However, there appear to be combinations of answers that work. However, of everything else, the Mancur Olson (Mokyr uses different words, Aretae connects the dots) response is perhaps the largest part. Innovation occurs when the existing powers are unable to stop it, and fails if the existing powers have the ability to stop it. The English vs. Continental vs. Chinese vs. Japanese vs. Islamic experiences with the industrial revolution. English had one, because the existing powers were not strong enough to stop the influx of technology. On the continent, the existing powers were strong enough to delay it, until the competition between England and other nations forced their hands. In China, Japan, and the Islamic world, the existing powers were very strong, there was no competition, and the revolution never happened.
The line...innovate or become dirt-eating peasants again (in many years). And the only way to do that is to stop the central authorities who will inevitably stop innovation. Olson's line is even stronger...there is no way to stop the innovation brakes...so what you need is a fractured system that allows innovation to move elsewhere. LaTNB or die.
The perfect arc: Microsoft. Innovate, while dodging IBM's attempt to stop them. Become an existing power-player. Use patents, litigation, bullying, trolling to try to prevent anyone else from dislodging them.
2 thumbs up for a serious analysis of a complex topic. Required reading if you're sitting in any of the single-factor explanation camps, be that de Soto, Clark, or Diamond.