Civilization: The Six Killer Apps Of Western Power
- Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date:
- 03 May 2012
- General & World History
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Superb read. I think it an objective look at what Western civilization is and how we got here, warts, saints and all.
An interesting view on the reasons western civilization progressed ahead of the rest and how the 'rest" are now catching up and may eventually overtake.Comparisons on competition, science, property, medicine, consumption and work are used to explain why certain countries grew and expanded and why others did not.Some interesting concepts although sometimes so many facts it was difficult to take them all in - although I do think I actually did learn something!
Ferguson is a talented writer and spins avery good argument. You are entertained, educated and, generally gently, prodded to think a little as well. Ferguson challenges the liberal agenda that the West is a 'bad thing' and explains well how Western Civilisation (whatever we think of it) dominates global culture, politics and economics. On shakier ground when he addresses if the West will continue to dominate and rightly points out that it will fade as all civilisations do. The question is how long and what will be accomplished in that time?
Western civilization’s rise to global dominance is the single most important historical phenomenon of the past five centuries. All over the world, more and more people study at Western-style universities, work for Western-style companies, vote for Western-style governments, take Western medicines, wear Western clothes, and play Western sports. Yet six hundred years ago the petty kingdoms of Western Europe seemed like miserable backwaters, ravaged by incessant war and pestilence. It was Ming China or Ottoman Turkey that had the look of world civilizations. How did the West overtake its Eastern rivals? And has the zenith of Western power now passed?In Civilization: The West and the Rest, acclaimed historian Niall Ferguson argues that, beginning in the fifteenth century, the West developed six powerful new concepts that the Rest lacked: competition, science, the rule of law, modern medicine, consumerism, and the work ethic. These were the ‘killer applications’ that allowed the West to leap ahead of the Rest; opening global trade routes, exploiting new scientific knowledge, evolving representative government, more than doubling life expectancy, unleashing the industrial revolution, and hugely increasing human productivity. Civilization shows exactly how a dozen Western empires came to control three-fifths of mankind and four-fifths of the world economy.
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