By David S. Landes
A towering paintings of background interpreting the world's so much urgent problem--the transforming into gulf among wealthy and negative. For the final 600 years, the world's wealthiest international locations were ordinarily ecu. past due in our century, the stability has all started to shift towards Asia, the place nations resembling Japan have grown at stunning premiums. Why have those dominant countries been blessed, and why are such a lot of others nonetheless mired in poverty? the reply lies during this very important and well timed e-book, the place David Landes, taking his cue from Adam Smith's The Wealth of countries, tells the lengthy, attention-grabbing tale of wealth and tool in the course of the global: the production of wealth, the trails of winners and losers, the increase and fall of countries. He stories background as a strategy, trying to know the way the world's cultures lead to--or retard--economic and armed forces luck and fabric success. international locations of the West, Landes asserts, prospered early in the course of the interaction of an essential, open society occupied with paintings and data, which resulted in elevated productiveness, the production of latest applied sciences, and the pursuit of switch. Today's new financial winners are following a lot an analogous roads to energy, whereas the laggards have one way or the other did not reproduction this important formulation for achievement. the foremost to relieving a lot of the world's poverty lies in figuring out the teachings historical past has to educate us--lessons uniquely imparted during this groundbreaking e-book.
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Extra info for The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor
But behind those criticisms lay a dissatisfaction with some of the results. Geography had been tarred with a racist brush, and no one wanted to be contaminated. And yet, if by "racism" we mean the linking, whether for better or worse, of individual performance and behavior to membership in a group, especially a group defined by biology, no subject or discipline can be less racist than geography. Here we have a discipline that, con fining itself to the influence o f environment, talks about anything but group-generated characteristics.
N o t all streams are so generous. The Volta drains over 100,000 square kilometers in West Africa—half the area o f Great Britain—but when low, averages at its mouth a mea ger flow o f only 28 cubic meters per second, as against 3 , 5 0 0 - 9 , 8 0 0 at the peak. Drought in the Volta basin comes at the hottest and windi est time o f year, and loss o f water to evaporation is discouragingly high. Then we have the catastrophes—the so-called once-in-a-hundredyear floods and storms and droughts that happen once or twice every decade.
Where conditions permitted, the Chinese went beyond this, over to rice gardening in submerged paddies. Taking quickergrowing varieties, they got three or more crops per year. To do this, they saved and applied every drop o f dung and feces; weeded inces santly; and maximized land use by raising seedlings in nurseries (high density) and then transplanting the mature shoots (needing more space) to the rice fields. In economic terms, they substituted labor for land, using sixty and eighty persons per hectare where an American wheat farmer would use one, and obtaining yields double and triple the already g o o d results achieved in dry farming—as much as 2,700 liters per hectare.