Malthus on Population and Human Welfare

A continuously rising standard of living would have been an alien concept to anyone living in Europe (or anywhere else) before 1500. People lived and worked much as their parents and grandparents had, and most of them produced food…

The Foundations of the Scientific Revolution

The Scientific Revolution occurred when new methods — notably mathematical reasoning and experimentation — were adopted, but at the time of the Revolution, both mathematics and experimentation had been known to Europeans for centuries…

The Enlightenment in Britain and France

The Enlightenment marked a change in the way that humans understood themselves. Before the Enlightenment, they were bit players under God’s direction; after the Enlightenment, they stood at center stage…

The Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, and the Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution was influenced by both the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment…

The Division of the World

W. Arthur Lewis explains how the world divided into manufacturers and primary producers…

More on the Division of the World

Long-distance trade grew rapidly during the nineteenth century. Third World countries increased their production of primary products, and decreased their production of industrial goods. The gap between the per capita incomes of the West and those of the Third World widened substantially…

How Modern Science Came to China

China was not exposed to Euclid’s geometry until the arrival of the Jesuits in the late sixteenth century. It was not exposed to Newtonian mechanics until 1849, more than 160 years after the publication of Principia

Why Nations Fail: 
Extractive and Inclusive Institutions

Acemoglu and Robinson’s goal is to explain why some nations are rich and others are poor. They present a theory based on the interaction between political and economic institutions. Casual empiricism suggests that its explanatory power is quite strong…

Why Nations Fail:
 Theory is Tidy, History is Messy

Acemoglu and Robinson argue that sustained growth is almost always attained in a particular way: inclusive political institutions develop first, followed by inclusive economic institutions, followed by growth. They recognize the boldness of their claim…