A maverick economist explains how protectionism makes nations rich, free trade keeps them poor---and how rich countries make sure to keep it that way.
Throughout history, some combination of government intervention, protectionism, and strategic investment has driven successful development everywhere from Renaissance Italy to the modern Far East. Yet despite the demonstrable success of this approach, development economists largely ignore it and insist instead on the importance of free trade. Somehow, the thing that made rich nations rich supposedly won't work on poor countries anymore.
Leading heterodox economist Erik Reinert's invigorating history of economic development shows how Western economies were founded on protectionism and state activism and only later promoted free trade, when it worked to their advantage. In the tug-of-war between the gospel of government intervention and free-market purists, the issue is not that one is more correct, but that the winning nation tends to favor whatever benefits them most.
As Western countries begin to sense that the rules of the game they set were rigged, Reinert's classic book gains new urgency. His unique and edifying approach to the history of economic development is critical reading for anyone who wants to understand how we got here and what to do next, especially now that we aren't so sure we'll be the winners anymore.
A "New York Times" Notable Book for 2011
Sometime around 1750, English entrepreneurs unleashed the astounding energies of steam and coal, and the world was forever changed. The emergence of factories, railroads, and gunboats propelled the West's rise to power in the nineteenth century, and the development of computers and nuclear weapons in the twentieth century secured its global supremacy. Now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, many worry that the emerging economic power of China and India spells the end of the West as a superpower. In order to understand this possibility, we need to look back in time. Why has the West dominated the globe for the past two hundred years, and will its power last?
Describing the patterns of human history, the archaeologist and historian Ian Morris offers surprising new answers to both questions. It is not, he reveals, differences of race or culture, or even the strivings of great individuals, that explain Western dominance. It is the effects of geography on the everyday efforts of ordinary people as they deal with crises of resources, disease, migration, and climate. As geography and human ingenuity continue to interact, the world will change in astonishing ways, transforming Western rule in the process.
Deeply researched and brilliantly argued, "Why the West Rules for Now "spans fifty thousand years of history and offers fresh insights on nearly every page. The book brings together the latest findings across disciplines from ancient history to neuroscience not only to explain why the West came to rule the world but also to predict what the future will bring in the next hundred years."
"Variably genial, cautionary, lyrical, admonitory, terrifying, horrifying and inspiring...A lifetime of thought, travel, reading, imagination and memory inform this affecting account." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Blending history and anecdote, geography and reminiscence, science and exposition, New York Times bestselling author Simon Winchester tells the breathtaking saga of the Atlantic Ocean. A gifted storyteller and consummate historian, Winchester sets the great blue sea's epic narrative against the backdrop of mankind's intellectual evolution, telling not only the story of an ocean, but the story of civilization. Fans of Winchester's Krakatoa, The Man Who Loved China, and The Professor and the Madman will love this masterful, penetrating, and resonant tale of humanity finding its way across the ocean of history.
In The Great Divide, acclaimed author and historian Peter Watson explores the development of humankind between the Old World and the New, and offers a groundbreaking new understanding of human history.
By 15,000 BC, humans had migrated from northeastern Asia across the frozen Bering land bridge to the Americas. When the last Ice Agecame to an end, the Bering Strait refilled with water, dividing America from Eurasia. This division continued until Christopher Columbus voyaged to the New World in the fifteenth century.
The Great Divide compares the development of humankind in the Old World and the New between 15,000 BC and AD 1,500. Combining the most up-to-date knowledge in archaeology, anthropology, geology, meteorology, cosmology, and mythology, Peter Watson's masterful study offers uniquely revealing insight into what it means to be human.
An essential book for anyone who's ever been captivated by horses, The Age of the Horse is a breathtaking exploration of the enduring connection between humans and Equus caballus. Equestrian expert Susanna Forrest presents a unique, sweeping panorama of the animal's prominent role in societies around the world and across time.Fifty-six million years ago, the earliest equid walked the earth--and beginning with the first-known horse-keepers of the Copper Age, the horse has played an integral part in human history. Combining fascinating anthropological detail and incisive personal anecdotes, Forrest draws from an immense range of archival documents as well as literature and art to illustrate how our evolution has coincided with that of horses. In paintings and poems (such as Byron's famous "Mazeppa"), in theater and classical music (including works by Liszt and Tchaikovsky), representations of the horse have changed over centuries, portraying the crucial impact that we've had on each other. Forrest deftly synthesizes this material with her own experience in the field, traveling the globe to give us a diverse, comprehensive look at the horse in our lives today: from Mongolia where she observes the endangered takhi, to a show-horse performance at the Palace of Versailles; from a polo club in Beijing to Arlington, Virginia, where veterans with PTSD are rehabilitated through interaction with horses. With passion and singular insight, Forrest investigates the complexities of human and horse coexistence, illuminating the multifaceted ways our cultures were shaped by this powerful creature.
The human head is exceptional. It accommodates four of our five senses, encases the brain, and boasts the most expressive set of muscles in the body. It is our most distinctive attribute and connects our inner selves to the outer world. Yet there is a dark side to the head's preeminence, one that has, in the course of human history, manifested itself in everything from decapitation to headhunting. So explains anthropologist Frances Larson in this fascinating history of decapitated human heads. From the Western collectors whose demand for shrunken heads spurred massacres to Second World War soldiers who sent the remains of the Japanese home to their girlfriends, from Madame Tussaud modeling the guillotined head of Robespierre to Damien Hirst photographing decapitated heads in city morgues, from grave-robbing phrenologists to skull-obsessed scientists, Larson explores our macabre fixation with severed heads.
The badasses populating the pages of Badass are the most savagely awesome historical figures to ever strap on a pair of chain mail gauntlets and run screaming into battle. Author Ben Thompson--considered by many to be the Internet's foremost expert on badassitude--has gathered together a rogues' gallery of butt-stomping rogues, from Julius Caesar and Genghis Khan to Blackbeard, George S. Patton, and Bruce Lee. Their bone-breaking exploits are illustrated by top artist from the fields of gaming, comics, and cards--DC Comics illustrator Matt Haley and Thomas Denmark, illustrator for the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering. This is not your boring high school history--this is tough, manly, unrelentingly Badass
In this sweeping and deeply penetrating work, distinguished historian Michael Burleigh explores the nature of terrorism from its origins in the West to the current global threat fueled by fundamentalists. Burleigh takes us from the roots of terrorism in the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Russian Nihilists, and the London-based anarchists of Black International to the various terrorist campaigns that exist today. He also explores the lives of people engaged in careers of political violence and those who are most affected by the scourge of terrorism. Authoritative, illuminating, and masterfully written, Blood and Rage sheds an unflinching light on the global threat that we are likely to face for decades to come.
"Old maps lead you to strange and unexpected places, and none does so more ineluctably than the subject of this book: the giant, beguiling Waldseemuller world map of 1507." So begins this remarkable story of the map that gave America its name.
For millennia Europeans believed that the world consisted of three parts: Europe, Africa, and Asia. They drew the three continents in countless shapes and sizes on their maps, but occasionally they hinted at the existence of a "fourth part of the world," a mysterious, inaccessible place, separated from the rest by a vast expanse of ocean. It was a land of myth--until 1507, that is, when Martin Waldseemuller and Matthias Ringmann, two obscure scholars working in the mountains of eastern France, made it real. Columbus had died the year before convinced that he had sailed to Asia, but Waldseemuller and Ringmann, after reading about the Atlantic discoveries of Columbus's contemporary Amerigo Vespucci, came to a startling conclusion: Vespucci had reached the fourth part of the world. To celebrate his achievement, Waldseemuller and Ringmann printed a huge map, for the first time showing the New World surrounded by water and distinct from Asia, and in Vespucci's honor they gave this New World a name: America.
The Fourth Part of the World "is the story behind that map, a thrilling saga of geographical and intellectual exploration, full of outsize thinkers and voyages. Taking a kaleidoscopic approach, Toby Lester traces the origins of our modern worldview. His narrative sweeps across continents and centuries, zeroing in on different portions of the map to reveal strands of ancient legend, Biblical prophecy, classical learning, medieval exploration, imperial ambitions, and more. In Lester's telling the map comes alive: Marco Polo and the early Christian missionaries trek across Central Asia and China; Europe's early humanists travel to monastic libraries to recover ancient texts; Portuguese merchants round up the first West African slaves; Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci make their epic voyages of discovery; and finally, vitally, Nicholas Copernicus makes an appearance, deducing from the new geography shown on the Waldseemuller map that the earth could not lie at the center of the cosmos. The map literally altered humanity's worldview.
One thousand copies of the map were printed, yet only one remains. Discovered accidentally in 1901 in the library of a German castle it was bought in 2003 for the unprecedented sum of $10 million by the Library of Congress, where it is now on permanent public display. Lavishly illustrated with rare maps and diagrams, "The Fourth Part of the World "is the story of that map: the dazzling story of the geographical and intellectual journeys that have helped us decipher our world.