9780691141282

A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780691141282

  • ISBN10:

    0691141282

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 12/29/2008
  • Publisher: Princeton Univ Pr

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Summary

Why are some parts of the world so rich and others so poor? Why did the Industrial Revolution--and the unprecedented economic growth that came with it--occur in eighteenth-century England, and not at some other time, or in some other place? Why didn't industrialization make the whole world rich--and why did it make large parts of the world even poorer? InA Farewell to Alms, Gregory Clark tackles these profound questions and suggests a new and provocative way in which culture--not exploitation, geography, or resources--explains the wealth, and the poverty, of nations.Countering the prevailing theory that the Industrial Revolution was sparked by the sudden development of stable political, legal, and economic institutions in seventeenth-century Europe, Clark shows that such institutions existed long before industrialization. He argues instead that these institutions gradually led to deep cultural changes by encouraging people to abandon hunter-gatherer instincts-violence, impatience, and economy of effort-and adopt economic habits-hard work, rationality, and education.The problem, Clark says, is that only societies that have long histories of settlement and security seem to develop the cultural characteristics and effective workforces that enable economic growth. For the many societies that have not enjoyed long periods of stability, industrialization has not been a blessing. Clark also dissects the notion, championed by Jared Diamond inGuns, Germs, and Steel, that natural endowments such as geography account for differences in the wealth of nations.A brilliant and sobering challenge to the idea that poor societies can be economically developed through outside intervention,A Farewell to Almsmay change the way global economic history is understood.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introduction: The Sixteen-Page Economic History of the Worldp. 1
The Malthusian Trap: Economic Life top. 1800
The Logic of the Malthusian Economyp. 19
Living Standardsp. 40
Fertilityp. 71
Life Expectancyp. 91
Malthus and Darwin: Survival of the Richestp. 112
Technological Advancep. 133
Institutions and Growthp. 145
The Emergence of Modern Manp. 166
The Industrial Revolution
Modern Growth: The Wealth of Nationsp. 193
The Puzzle of the Industrial Revolutionp. 208
The Industrial Revolution in Englandp. 230
Why England? Why Not China, India, or Japan?p. 259
Social Consequencesp. 272
The Great Divergence
World Growth since 1800p. 303
The Proximate Sources of Divergencep. 328
Why Isn't the Whole World Developed?p. 352
Conclusion: Strange New Worldp. 371
Technical Appendixp. 379
Referencesp. 383
Indexp. 409
Figure Creditsp. 419
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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