The central question that How the West Grew Rich addresses is precisely what its title implies. For thousands of years, human beings lived in unrelieved misery: hunger, famine, illiteracy, superstition, ignorance, pestilence and worse have been their lot. How did things change? How did a relatively few people—those in what we call “the West”—escape from grinding poverty into sustained economic growth and material well-being when most other societies remained trapped in an endless cycle of birth, hardship, and death? This fascinating book tells that story. The explanations that many historians have offered—claiming that it was all due to science, or luck, or natural resources, or exploitations or imperialism—are refuted at the outset, in the book’s opening chapter. Rosenberg and Birdzell are then free to provide an explanation that makes much more sense.
How The West Grew Rich: The Economic Transformation Of The Industrial World
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