"David Landes has written a masterly survey of the great successes and failures among the the causes of the wealth and poverty of nations—the grand object. The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich a and millions of other books are available for site Kindle. The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor Paperback – May 17, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations is David S. Landes's. Samson, Steven Alan, "David S. Landes: The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Study Guide" might account for the relative poverty of the tropics and subtropics ?.
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Stunning. Startling. Mystifying. Reactions to David Landes's latest tour de force will no doubt run the gamut. Filled with pithy sketches of nations (why weren't the . David S. Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and. Some So Poor, New York, W.W. Norton & Co., , xxi + pp. Economic . The Wealth and Poverty of Nations. Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor. David S. Landes (Author, Harvard University). Sign up for the monthly New.
But in pressing this deeper argument about Western superiority, Landes goes overboard, lustily attacking all who disagree with him, and throwing out his arguments in blatant disregard [End Page ] for logic and consistency. He becomes like the lawyer who, in order to defend his client from allegations about the theft of a vase from his neighbor, argues that 1 the vase never existed; 2 the vase is still in possession of the plaintiff; and 3 the vase belonged to his client in the first place.
Here is Landes on slavery and climate: This is to buttress his argument that in the tropics, it is too hot to work, so people do not labor if they can help it; thus they rely on slaves. And where people depend on slaves, there can be no initiative, no labor-saving devices, no great civilizations.
How absurd! Slavery has abounded in all societies where the strong could prey on the weak--the word itself comes from the Slavic peoples of the Black Sea region Caucasians from the lands around the Caucasus Mountains , who were sold by Norsemen to peoples throughout the Mediterranean. Classical Greece--that land of enterprising colonists and traders, nonpareil innovators and speculators, sculptors, poets, and playwrights of genius Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.
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Looking at other reviews, some complain Landes is too Eurocentric. Given the theme of the book, the wealth and poverty of nations, I can't blame him much.
It's like that old joke about robbing banks--you go where the money is. Mind you, he seems to me to be not just Eurocentric but Anglocentric--although again, it does tie into his theory given Britain was arguably ground zero for the Industrial Revolution.
And that is definitely at the center of his answer to the question posed in his subtitle concerning nations: why some are so rich and some so poor. The book did leave me with questions. Landes begins with an analysis of geography. But if that's so, why didn't North America develop a technologically sophisticated culture before contact with the West?
Why then would the most impressive indigenous civilizations in the Americas rise out of jungles, such as the Mayans and the Incas? It's not a question asked in the book, which doesn't deal with the Americas until the era of exploration and colonization.
Though to give Landes his due, Eurocentric doesn't mean triumphalist or apologist. If for whatever reason, you're ignorant of the atrocities committed by Europeans in the Americas or of the savagery of the Atlantic Slave Trade, Landes will certainly provide an education. Especially when it comes to the Spanish Conquistadors. Landes is not kind to Catholicism or Islam, which he sees as stultifying upholders of dogma.
I'd be the last person to dismiss such factors out of hand, yet Landes' thesis as to the definitive factor that gave rise to the differences did raise both eyebrows: Europe's great good fortune lay in the fall of Rome and the weakness and division that ensued.
So much for the lamentations of generations of classicists and Latin teachers. The Roman dream of unity, authority, and order the pax Romana remained, indeed has persisted to the present Political rivalry and the right of exit made all the difference.
Because I do find it hard to believe the fall of Rome wasn't a tragedy for the West.
Ancient Rome at its height is estimated to have had a population of one million. After its fall, no city, in Europe at least, would hit that threshold until London in