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    How the West Grew Rich: The Economic Transformation of the Industrial World (Paperback) By (author) Nathan Rosenberg, By (author) Jr. L. E. Birdzell

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    DescriptionHow did the West--Europe, Canada, and the United States--escape from immemorial poverty into sustained economic growth and material well-being when other societies remained trapped in an endless cycle of birth, hunger, hardship, and death? In this elegant synthesis of economic history, two scholars argue that it is the political pluralism and the flexibility of the West's institutions--not corporate organization and mass production technology--that explain its unparalleled wealth.


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  • Full bibliographic data for How the West Grew Rich

    Title
    How the West Grew Rich
    Subtitle
    The Economic Transformation of the Industrial World
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Nathan Rosenberg, By (author) Jr. L. E. Birdzell
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 368
    Width: 152 mm
    Height: 226 mm
    Thickness: 20 mm
    Weight: 522 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9780465031092
    ISBN 10: 0465031099
    Classifications

    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 15500
    B&T Book Type: NF
    BIC E4L: ECO
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T5.3
    BIC subject category V2: KCZ
    B&T General Subject: 180
    Ingram Subject Code: BE
    Libri: I-BE
    BISAC V2.8: BUS022000
    B&T Merchandise Category: POD
    BISAC V2.8: BUS069000, BUS023000
    LC subject heading: ,
    DC21: 330.91722
    LC subject heading:
    DC22: 330.9172
    LC classification: HC240.R67
    DC22: 330.9172/2
    LC classification: HC240 .R67 1986
    Thema V1.0: KCZ
    Edition statement
    Reprint
    Illustrations note
    black & white illustrations
    Publisher
    The Perseus Books Group
    Imprint name
    BASIC BOOKS
    Publication date
    11 May 1987
    Publication City/Country
    New York
    Author Information
    Nathan Rosenberg, a leading expert on the history of technology, is an economist at Stanford University.L.E. Birdzell, Jr. is an attorney and legal scholar, based in Newport, Rhode Island. Nathan Rosenberg, a leading expert on the history of technology, is an economist at Stanford University.L.E. Birdzell, Jr. is an attorney and legal scholar, based in Newport, Rhode Island.
    Review text
    A persuasively argued brief for the proposition that the West's economic development and comparatively high living standards are attributable mainly to the autonomy ceded the industrial/commercial sector by ecclesiastic as well as political authorities. Rosenberg (a Stanford professor) and Birdzell (an attorney) take the High Middle Ages as their point of departure. In Western Europe, they note, feudalism began yielding to a new order around 1600, about the time the continent's population regained the levels of 1347 - a plague year. Of particular importance in this process (made possible by the chartering of towns where trade could flourish unhindered) was the relaxation of controls on wages and prices, traditionally set by law or custom under a religious standard of justice. By the mid-18th century, an active merchant class was creating a plural society encompassing not only market networks but also the institutions (depository banking, insurance, a legal system) required to exploit the opportunities afforded by the industrial revolution. Among factors responsible for the subsequent expansion, the authors cite the business community's receptivity to technological advances, a shift from an agrarian to an urban culture, widespread acceptance of supply/demand forces, and a flexible approach to organization and operations. Rosenberg and Birdzell explore the important role that applied science has played in the New World's prosperity, noting that Western enterprise, which is largely free to set its own risk/reward agenda, produces consistenly better results than, for example, the centrally planned and managed economies of Socialist Bloc nations. They also trace the rise of "conspicuously large" publicly held corporations. These leviathans, they comment, arrived on the scene too late to account for Western affluence. In fact, they argue, smaller firms dominate industrialized economies by virtue of their collectively larger employment rolls and capacity for innovation. The authors close on an optimistic note, declaring there's little reason to believe the West has exhausted its potential for economic growth. They caution, however, that government policies designed "to create a society better in ways other than being richer" could reduce the capacity of future generations to reach still greater heights of material well-being. On balance, then, a provocative evaluation that does not shrink from the implications of its challenging conclusions. (Kirkus Reviews)
    Back cover copy
    In this elegant synthesis of economic history, two scholars argue that it is the political pluralism and the flexibility of the West's institutions, not corporate organization and mass production technology-that explain its unparalleled wealth.
    Table of contents
    * Introduction * The Starting Point: The Middle Ages * The Growth of Trade to 1750 * The Evolution of Institutions Favorable to Commerce * The Development of Industry: 17501880 * Diversity of Organization: The Corporation * Technology, Trusts, and Marketable Stock * The Link Between Science and Wealth * Diversity of Enterprise * Implications and Comparison