Civilization

Books

The Birth of Plenty | William J. Bernstein


No Comments

For millennia, the road to wealth was to win wars and plunder. Until 1820, world growth per capita was approximately zero. During the century after the fall of the Roman Empire, prosperity in Europe had actually declined and most critical technologies had disappeared – the most important being cement, which would not be rediscovered until much later. But not long after 1820, prosperity began to increase, and for each generation, life became noticeably more comfortable. During the 172 years after 1820, the world’s GDP increased eightfold. During the same 172-year period, GDP in the United Kingdom rose 10x and in the United States 20x. Economic growth is synonymous with increased productivity, which is almost exclusively the result of technological progress.

A summary of the book can be read here.

Books

Factfulness | Hans Rosling


No Comments

Hans Rosling (1948-2017) shows that the majority of people believes that 50% or more of the people in the world live in low-income countries. The real figure is 9%. Also, most have a worldview that matches what the world looked like when one’s teacher was studying. This inertia to understand developments may be due to the fact that people historically lived in environments that hardly change. But today’s societies and cultures are in constant motion. The proportion of the world’s population living in extreme poverty has been halved in the last twenty years. Read full brief here.