Why are some parts of the world so rich and others so poor? Why did the Industrial Revolution--and the unprecedented economic growth that came with it--occur in eighteenth-century England, and not at some other time, or in some other place? Why didn't industrialization make the whole world rich--and why did it make large parts of the world even poorer? In A Farewell to Alms, Gregory Clark tackles these profound questions and suggests a new and provocative way in which culture--not exploitation, geography, or resources--explains the wealth, and the poverty, of nations.
Countering the prevailing theory that the Industrial Revolution was sparked by the sudden development of stable political, legal, and economic institutions in seventeenth-century Europe, Clark shows that such institutions existed long before industrialization. He argues instead that these institutions gradually led to deep cultural changes by encouraging people to abandon hunter-gatherer instincts-violence, impatience, and economy of effort-and adopt economic habits-hard work, rationality, and education.
The problem, Clark says, is that only societies that have long histories of settlement and security seem to develop the cultural characteristics and effective workforces that enable economic growth. For the many societies that have not enjoyed long periods of stability, industrialization has not been a blessing. Clark also dissects the notion, championed by Jared Diamond in Guns, Germs, and Steel, that natural endowments such as geography account for differences in the wealth of nations.
A brilliant and sobering challenge to the idea that poor societies can be economically developed through outside intervention, A Farewell to Alms may change the way global economic history is understood.
First published in 2007.Gregory Clark is chair of the economics department at the University of California, Davis. He has written widely about economic history.
More about this book
- Winner of the 2008 Gold Book Medal in Finance/Investment/Economics, Independent Publisher Book Awards
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction: The Sixteen-Page Economic History of the World 1
PART I: The Malthusian Trap: Economic Life to 1800
Chapter 2: The Logic of the Malthusian Economy 19
Chapter 3: Living Standards 40
Chapter 4: Fertility 71
Chapter 5: Life Expectancy 91
Chapter 6: Malthus and Darwin: Survival of the Richest 112
Chapter 7: Technological Advance 133
Chapter 8: Institutions and Growth 145
Chapter 9: The Emergence of Modern Man 166
PART II: The Industrial Revolution
Chapter 10: Modern Growth: The Wealth of Nations 193
Chapter 11: The Puzzle of the Industrial Revolution 208
Chapter 12: The Industrial Revolution in England 230
Chapter 13: Why England? Why Not China, India, or Japan? 259
Chapter 14: Social Consequences 272
PART III: The Great Divergence
Chapter 15: World Growth since 1800 303
Chapter 16: The Proximate Sources of Divergence 328
Chapter 17: Why Isn't the Whole World Developed? 352
Chapter 18: Conclusion: Strange New World 371
Technical Appendix 379
Figure Credits 419
Other Books Written by this Author(s)
- Gregory Clark
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