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The history of nations is a history of haves and have-nots, and as we approach the millennium, the gap between rich and poor countries is widening. In this engrossing and important new work, eminent historian David Landes explores the complex, fascinating and often startling causes of the wealth and poverty of nations. The answers are found not only in the large forces at work in economies: geography, religion, the broad swings of politics, but also in the small surprising details. In Europe, the invention of spectacles doubled the working life of skilled craftsmen, and played a prominent role in the creation of articulated machines, and in China, the failure to adopt the clock fundamentally hindered economic development. The relief of poverty is vital to the survival of us all. As David Landes brilliantly shows, the key to future success lies in understanding the lessons the past has to teach us - lessons uniquely imparted in this groundbreaking and vital book which exemplifies narrative history at its best.
Although no less an authority than Joseph A. Schumpeter proclaimed that Antonio Serra was the world's first economist, he remains something of a dark horse of economic historiography. Nearly nothing is known about Serra except that he wrote and died in jail, and his Short Treatise is so rare that only nine original copies are known to have survived the ravages of time. What, then, can a book written nearly four centuries ago tell us about the problems we now face? Serra's key insight, studying the economies of Venice and Naples, was that wealth was not the result of climate or providence but of policies and strategies for competitively developing some economic activities rather than others, particularly manufactures, subject to increasing returns to scale and a large division of labour. Through a very systematic taxonomy of economic life, Serra then went on from this insight to theorize the causes of the wealth of nations and the measures through which a weak, dependent economy could achieve worldly melioration. At a time when leading economists return to biological explanations for the failure of their theories, the Short Treatise can remind us that there are elements of history which numbers and graphs cannot convey or encompass, and that there are less despondent lessons to be learned from our past. Serra's remarkable treatise is introduced by a lengthy and illuminating study of his historical context and legacy for the theoretical and cultural history of economics and for the economic strategies of nations.
From the author of the New York Times bestseller The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, a fascinating look at the crossroads of kin and coin David S. Landes has earned a reputation as a brilliant writer and iconoclast among economic historians. In his latest acclaimed work, he takes a revealing look at the quality that distinguishes a third of today's Fortune 500 companies: family ownership. From the banking fortunes of Rothschild and Morgan to the automobile empires of Ford and Toyota, Landes explores thirteen different dynasties, revealing what lay behind their successes-and how extravagance, bad behavior, and poor enterprise brought some of them to their knees. A colorful history that is full of surprising conclusions, Dynasties is an engrossing mix of ambition, eccentricity, and wealth.
This major textbook provides students with a critical understanding of poverty and social exclusion in relation to wealth, rather than as separate from it.
How does the proclamation of good news to the poor in Luke's Gospel relate to wealth and poverty? What does Luke-Acts mean to affluent Christians and churches in our time? In a fresh, systematic way, Professor Pilgrim surveys Old Testament tradition on the poor and describes the Jesus movement as background for understanding Luke-Acts.
Explains the hows and whys of income distribution--why some are rich, some are poor, how income is measured, and the impact of goverment policies on jobs and personal wealth.

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