International trade has shaped the modern world, yet until now no single book has been available for both economists and general readers that traces the history of the international economy from its earliest beginnings to the present day. Power and Plenty fills this gap, providing the first full account of world trade and development over the course of the last millennium.
Ronald Findlay and Kevin O’Rourke examine the successive waves of globalization and “deglobalization” that have occurred during the past thousand years, looking closely at the technological and political causes behind these long-term trends. They show how the expansion and contraction of the world economy has been directly tied to the two-way interplay of trade and geopolitics, and how war and peace have been critical determinants of international trade over the very long run. The story they tell is sweeping in scope, one that links the emergence of the Western economies with economic and political developments throughout Eurasia centuries ago. Drawing extensively upon empirical evidence and informing their systematic analysis with insights from contemporary economic theory, Findlay and O’Rourke demonstrate the close interrelationships of trade and warfare, the mutual interdependence of the world’s different regions, and the crucial role these factors have played in explaining modern economic growth.
Power and Plenty is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the origins of today’s international economy, the forces that continue to shape it, and the economic and political challenges confronting policymakers in the twenty-first century.
Ronald Findlay is the Ragnar Nurkse Professor of Economics at Columbia University. He is the author of Factor Proportions, Trade, and Growthand Trade, Development, and Political Economy. Kevin H. O'Rourke is professor of economics at Trinity College, Dublin. He is the coauthor of Globalization and History.
"Trade has been the economic foundation of international integration and globalization. But, as Findlay and O'Rourke show in this masterful, state-of-the-art historical survey, it has also been a very frequent cause of rivalry between nations and maritime conflict. No better book exists on the role that commerce has played in generating both the wealth of nations and the wars between them. The authors command the literature the way Victorian admirals ruled the waves."—Niall Ferguson, Harvard University
"A work of extraordinary scope and ambition and a major achievement. Findlay and O'Rourke show how international trade opens an illuminating window onto fully a millennium of world economic history."—Barry Eichengreen, University of California, Berkeley
The vision that emerges in this book is more powerful and encompassing than any previous study of world trade. It passes all the tests that an economic historian might require in terms of empirical evidence while also embodying a very clear view of the economics of globalization. The authors have new and important things to say about trade and the Industrial Revolution, the Great Divergence, the extent and driving forces of the globalization of trade in different periods, and the possibility of another globalization backlash. A marvelous achievement."—Nicholas Crafts, University of Warwick
"The significance of this work lies in its comprehensiveness and the unflagging thoughtfulness of its analysis. It is very rare to find such detailed historical coverage resting on such a solid theoretical foundation."—Eric L. Jones, author of The European Miracle and Cultures Merging
"This book, magisterial in scope and execution, marries a reading of voluminous historical research with an economist's sharp eye to what is important in shaping economies and events. The authors have drawn exhaustively on the secondary historical, political, and economic literature of the relevant periods and have integrated it faithfully with their own conceptual framework."—Douglas A. Irwin, Dartmouth College