The Birth of Plenty: How the Prosperity of the Modern World was Created

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McGraw Hill Professional, Jun 22, 2004 - Business & Economics - 434 pages

FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE INTELLIGENT ASSET ALLOCATOR

Praise for The Birth of Plenty:

"Bill Bernstein has given us a compact and immensely readable economic, political, military, and institutional history of our civilization that is a tour de force. Put everything else down. Take a deep breath. Open The Birth of Plenty. And prepare to be amazed.

--John C. Bogle, Founder and Former CEO, The Vanguard Group

"The Birth of Plenty is a brilliantly written, whirlwind account of how the modern world was formed. It is a hugely enjoyable read, full of vigor and liveliness, and a book every American should possess--at least those who treasure our abundant life and care about our future."

--William Schultheis, Author, The Coffeehouse Investor


"Put simply, this is my favorite economic history book. It gathers what is interesting about economic history to draw important lessons."
--Ed Tower, Professor of Economics, Duke University

"William Bernstein scrutinizes the research literature, distills it with originality and insight, then shares the results with classic Bernstein clarity and wit. Ideologues on both political wings should prepare to have their assumptions challenged."

--Bernard Sherman, Host, Talk of Iowa - Focus on Finance radio show

A daring look at the development of human prosperity--how it was created, and where it's headed

In the breakthrough spirit of Against the Gods, William Bernstein's The Birth of Plenty has the topical uniqueness and storytelling panache to literally create its own category and reader. Based upon the premise that mankind experienced virtually zero economic growth from the dawn of time until 1820, this provocative, bigpicture book identifies the four conditions necessary for sustained economic progress--property rights, scientific rationalism, capital markets, and communications and transportation technology-- and then analyzes their gradual appearance and impact throughout every corner of the globe. Filled with bestselling author William Bernstein's trademark meticulous research and page-turning writing style, The Birth of Plenty explores:

  • Where the world economy could be headed next
  • Implications of the book's thesis for today's society
  • How the absence of one or more of the conditions continues to threaten beleaguered regions

Rare is the book that proposes an entirely new premise, validates that premise with inarguable research and analysis, and then explains beyond question both the relevance and the implications of its premise to the reader and the world at large. The Birth of Plenty is just such a book. From its unique, topical subject matter to its tremendous review potential, this insightful book will be one of the most talked-about volumes of the publishing season.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ohernaes - LibraryThing

Fairly standard account of the world's economic history since the industrial revolution. Starts with the value of John Harrisons's newly invented chronometer (to compute longitude) to seafarers in the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jeffevarts - LibraryThing

An interesting history book?!? Impossible! Not now. If you found Guns, Germs, and Steel interesting, or are concerned with global wealth distribution, this is an amazingly thought provoking read. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Section I The Sources of Growth
7
Section II Nations
193
Section III Consequences
295
Notes
387
Index
403
Copyright

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Page 82 - Man being born, as has been proved, with a title to perfect freedom and an uncontrolled enjoyment of all the rights and privileges of the law of Nature, equally with any other man, or number of men in the world, hath by nature a power not only to preserve his property—that is, his life, liberty, and estate.
Page 224 - Marx: The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement, and entombment in the mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the
Page 11 - The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. —Karl Marx,
Page 224 - mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of blackskins, signalized the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production.
Page 83 - the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
Page 86 - projects of new invention, so they be not contrary to the Law, nor mischievous to the State, by raising prices of commodities at home, or hurt of trade, or otherwise inconvenient.
Page 74 - freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or be disseised* of his freehold, or liberties, or free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any otherwise destroyed; nor will we not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either justice or right.
Page 82 - whenever the Legislators endeavour to take away, and destroy the Property of the People. . . they put themselves into a state of War with the People, who are thereupon absolved from any further Obedience.”
Page 72 - arrested, or detained in prison, or deprived of his freehold, or outlawed, or banished, or in any way molested; and we will not set forth against him nor send against him, unless by the lawful judgment of his peers
Page 30 - property. Those who were not bondmen were tenants at will, and though the rent which they paid was often nominally little more than a quit-rent, it really amounted to the whole produce of the land. Their lord could at all times command their labor in peace, and their service in war. Though they lived at a

About the author (2004)

William Bernstein, Ph.D., M.D. (North Bend, OR) founded the popular website efficientfrontier.com. A practicing neurologist and the author of The Intelligent Asset Allocator and The Four Pillars of Investing, Dr. Bernstein has an intensely loyal following of readers as well as an extensive network of media contacts. He is often quoted in The Wall Street Journal and is a frequent guest columnist for Morningstar.

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