Monday, February 27, 2012

Reading, 02/27/2012

Civilization: The West and the Rest, Niall Ferguson
Going back to the library, so I'll just end my posting about this one with a quote from his Conclusion:
Why did the West dominate the rest and not vice versa? I have argued that it was because the West developed six killer applications that the Rest lacked. These were:
  1. Competition, in that Europe itself was politically fragmented and that within each monarchy or republic there were multiple competing corporate entities.
  2. The Scientific Revolution, in that all the major seventeenth century breakthroughs in the mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology happened in Western Europe.
  3. The rule of law and representative government, in that an optimal system of social and political order emerged in the English-speaking world, based on private property rights and the representation of property-owners in elected legislatures.
  4. Modern medicine, in that nearly all the major nineteenth and twentieth century breakthroughs in health care, including the control of tropical diseases, were made by Western Europeans and North Americans.
  5. The consumer society, in that the Industrial Revolution took place where there was both a supply of productivity-enhancing technologies and a demand for more, better, and cheaper goods, beginning with cotton garments.
  6. The work ethic, in that Westerners were the first people in the world to combine more extensive and intensive labour {sic--he's a Scot} with higher savings rates, permitting sustained capital accumulation.
How many of those are under attack today from one quarter or another of the progressive sphere?

This is one of the first books I've gotten from the library in quite a while that I felt like actually purchasing in hard cover...

Throw Them All Out, Peter Schweizer.  Does the phrase "Honest graft" seem like a contradiction in terms to you?  Yeah, me too.  But not congresscritters.  They have special "ethics" rules just for them.

What a bunch of crooks. 

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