Reading: Jared Diamond (1997): Agriculture: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race
Reading: Robert Allen (2011): Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction, chapters 2 and 3

Reading: David Landes (2006): Why Europe and the West? Why Not China?

David Landes (2006): Why Europe and the West? Why Not China?

As you read, note:

  • Adam Smith laid out what went wrong as the background for his picture of how things can go right, while Landes is as interested in the roots of relative--and absolute--economic failure as of success.
  • This is a profoundly eurocentric history. Is that a problem for Landes, given his aims?

  • Focus on Landes's account of why Europerather than China--or India, or Islam--eventually led the way to industrial civilization. I find it convincing...

  • But there is no doubt that it looks as if Chinese civilization had a clear half-millennium as the world's leader in technological innovation from 500 to 1000: Chinese civilization in the millennium before the Ming dynasty appears to have been the most intellectually confident and technologically progressive on the globe. Thereafter innovation in China appears to flag. I do not understand this. Does Landes claim to? Does Landes?

My review of Landes: