A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World by Gregory Clark

By Gregory Clark

Why are a few elements of the area so wealthy and others so terrible? Why did the economic Revolution--and the unheard of monetary progress that got here with it--occur in eighteenth-century England, and never at another time, or in elsewhere? Why did not industrialization make the complete international rich--and why did it make huge components of the realm even poorer? In A Farewell to Alms, Gregory Clark tackles those profound questions and indicates a brand new and provocative approach within which culture--not exploitation, geography, or resources--explains the wealth, and the poverty, of countries. Countering the existing thought that the economic Revolution was once sparked via the unexpected improvement of strong political, felony, and fiscal associations in seventeenth-century Europe, Clark exhibits that such associations existed lengthy ahead of industrialization. He argues as a substitute that those associations steadily resulted in deep cultural adjustments via encouraging humans to desert hunter-gatherer instincts-violence, impatience, and economic system of effort-and undertake monetary habits-hard paintings, rationality, and schooling. the matter, Clark says, is that simply societies that experience lengthy histories of payment and protection appear to strengthen the cultural features and potent workforces that let monetary progress. For the various societies that experience now not loved lengthy sessions of balance, industrialization has no longer been a blessing. Clark additionally dissects the suggestion, championed via Jared Diamond in weapons, Germs, and metal, that usual endowments resembling geography account for changes within the wealth of countries. an excellent and sobering problem to the concept terrible societies could be economically built via outdoors intervention, A Farewell to Alms may perhaps swap the best way international fiscal background is known.

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A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World (Princeton Economic History of the Western World)

Why are a few components of the realm so wealthy and others so negative? Why did the commercial Revolution--and the remarkable monetary progress that got here with it--occur in eighteenth-century England, and never at another time, or in some place else? Why did not industrialization make the entire international rich--and why did it make huge elements of the area even poorer?

Additional resources for A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World (Princeton Economic History of the Western World)

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This is called the technology schedule, because the major cause of changes in this schedule has been technological advance. But other factors could also shift this schedule: the availability of more capital, improved trade possibilities, climate changes, or better economic institutions. 5 shows the path of adjustment from an isolated improvement in technology: a switch from an inferior technology, represented by curve T0, to a superior technology, represented by curve T1. Since population can change only slowly, the short-run effect of a technological improvement was an in-    crease in real incomes.

Human and Animal Economies The economic laws we have derived in this chapter for the preindustrial human economy are precisely those that apply to all animal, and indeed plant, 12. Malthus, 1798, 115.    populations. Before 1800 there was no fundamental distinction between the economies of humans and those of other animal and plant species. ”13 Thus the Malthusian model dominates in evolutionary ecology as well. For animal and plant species population equilibrium is similarly attained when birth rates equal death rates.

To take one example, suppose that the preindustrial king or emperor levied a poll tax on every person in the economy, equivalent to 10 percent of average income. Suppose also that, as was the wont of such sovereigns, the proceeds of the tax were simply frittered away on palaces, cathedrals, mosques, or temples; on armies; or to stock a large harem. Despite the waste, in the long run this action would have no effect on the welfare of the average person. 1. The tax would act like a shock to the technology of the economy, shifting the lower curve uniformly 16.

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