A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World by Gregory ClarkA Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World by Gregory Clark

A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World

byGregory Clark

Paperback | January 18, 2009

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Why are some parts of the world so rich and others so poor? Why did the Industrial Revolution--and the unprecedented economic growth that came with it--occur in eighteenth-century England, and not at some other time, or in some other place? Why didn't industrialization make the whole world rich--and why did it make large parts of the world even poorer? In A Farewell to Alms, Gregory Clark tackles these profound questions and suggests a new and provocative way in which culture--not exploitation, geography, or resources--explains the wealth, and the poverty, of nations.


Countering the prevailing theory that the Industrial Revolution was sparked by the sudden development of stable political, legal, and economic institutions in seventeenth-century Europe, Clark shows that such institutions existed long before industrialization. He argues instead that these institutions gradually led to deep cultural changes by encouraging people to abandon hunter-gatherer instincts-violence, impatience, and economy of effort-and adopt economic habits-hard work, rationality, and education.


The problem, Clark says, is that only societies that have long histories of settlement and security seem to develop the cultural characteristics and effective workforces that enable economic growth. For the many societies that have not enjoyed long periods of stability, industrialization has not been a blessing. Clark also dissects the notion, championed by Jared Diamond in Guns, Germs, and Steel, that natural endowments such as geography account for differences in the wealth of nations.


A brilliant and sobering challenge to the idea that poor societies can be economically developed through outside intervention, A Farewell to Alms may change the way global economic history is understood.

Gregory Clark is chair of the economics department at the University of California, Davis. He has written widely about economic history.
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Title:A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the WorldFormat:PaperbackDimensions:432 pagesPublished:January 18, 2009Publisher:Princeton University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0691141282

ISBN - 13:9780691141282

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xi

Chapter 1: Introduction: The Sixteen-Page Economic History of the World 1





PART I: The Malthusian Trap: Economic Life to 1800





Chapter 2: The Logic of the Malthusian Economy 19

Chapter 3: Living Standards 40

Chapter 4: Fertility 71

Chapter 5: Life Expectancy 91

Chapter 6: Malthus and Darwin: Survival of the Richest 112

Chapter 7: Technological Advance 133

Chapter 8: Institutions and Growth 145

Chapter 9: The Emergence of Modern Man 166





PART II: The Industrial Revolution





Chapter 10: Modern Growth: The Wealth of Nations 193

Chapter 11: The Puzzle of the Industrial Revolution 208

Chapter 12: The Industrial Revolution in England 230

Chapter 13: Why England? Why Not China, India, or Japan? 259

Chapter 14: Social Consequences 272





PART III: The Great Divergence





Chapter 15: World Growth since 1800 303

Chapter 16: The Proximate Sources of Divergence 328

Chapter 17: Why Isn't the Whole World Developed? 352

Chapter 18: Conclusion: Strange New World 371





Technical Appendix 379

References 383

Index 409

Figure Credits 419


Editorial Reviews

"While many books on the Industrial Revolution tend to focus narrowly either on the event itself, or on one explanation for it, Gregory Clark does neither. He takes an extremely long-run view, covering significant periods before and after the Industrial Revolution, without getting bogged down in long or detailed exposition. This is an extremely important contribution to the subject."-Clifford Bekar, Lewis and Clark College