Book in brief.


Civilization: the West and the rest by Niall Ferguson Simon & Schuster, [pounds sterling] 20


Looking at the world in 1411, you would have been hard pressed to predict that the West would come to dominate global political and economic life for 600 years. Historian Niall Ferguson explains this phenomenon and asks if this era is at an end. Here is a brief synopsis:

  1. The West's success was built on six differentiators: competition, science, democracy, medicine, consumerism and the work ethic.

  2. Political fragmentation between and within European states drove competition and spurred people to pursue overseas opportunities.

  3. A free press and immigration led to Enlightenment ideas and scientific innovation in the West.

  4. Confucianism stood in the way of the right legal and institutional development.

  5. The scramble to colonise Africa - exploiting its people and land - was also a race for...

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