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Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  529 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Why are some countries rich and others poor? In 1500, global income differences were small, but disparities have grown dramatically since Columbus reached America. In this Very Short Introduction, Robert C. Allen shows how the interplay of geography, globalization, technological change, and economic policy has determined the wealth and poverty of nations. Allen shows how t ...more
Paperback, 196 pages
Published November 15th 2011 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2011)
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3.83  · 
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 ·  529 ratings  ·  73 reviews


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Riku Sayuj
I had been asked to read this in parallel with Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. Unfortunately, I have gotten around it more than a year late. But I kept the GGS open beside me as I traced the economic explanations for the trajectories of the various continents/regions - and it is true this book is a good companion volume for the enormously popular GGS. It can prove to be a useful aid to go beyond some of the simplistic assumptions and still arrive at some of ...more
Amira Mahmoud
كنت بحاول استوعب إيه الأفضلية المقارنة اللي الكاتب بيتكلم عنها دي لحد ما قدرت أخمن في النهاية إنه يقصد القانون الاقتصادي المعروف بالميزة النسبية، المترجم حتى معندوش أدنى معرفة اقتصادية تساعده يترجم صح ولا حتى فكر يدور في ترجمه ومعنى حاجة مشهورة ومهمة اقتصاديًا بالشكل ده!

بخلاف كدة الكتاب عظيم، ومهم جدًا، وبيطرح تفسيرات وإجابات غير معتادة عن السؤال اللي قُتل بحثًا وهو ليه في دول غنية ودول غيرها فقيرة
وأعتقد هحتاج اقراه مرة تانية، أو ارجع له في أجزاء مهمة على الأقل.
من أفضل قراءات 2018
Warwick
Sep 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, economics
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes…Everybody knows.

      —Leonard Cohen

Economics is a frustrating subject, managing to be both essential and eye-wateringly dull. This primer does a decent job of distilling its subject into one basic question – why the world is so unequal – and of holding your attention long enough to sketch the outlines of an answer.

Normally with such things there is a lot of hemming and hawing, bet-hedging, and phrases lik
...more
سارة العاصي
مقدمة قصيرة عن التاريخ الاقتصادي العالمي لكن مفيدة و مثيرة للفكر، لماذا بعض الدول غنية و الأخرى فقيرة؟ لماذا نهضت أوروبا لا إفريقيا؟ أسئلة قديمة الإجابة عنها جولة في تاريخ العالم و تحليل لعوامل النمو الاقتصادي ما بين بريطانيا و فترات الاستعمار و قيام أمريكا و نموذج اليابان و روسيا و الفرق بين نموذج التنمية الاقتصادي القياسي و الدفعة القوية و عوامل النجاح و الفشل لنفس النموذج في دول مختلفة.
أكد الكتاب كثيرا على نقطة أن ارتفاع الأجور يجعل الدول تتجه للتكنولوجيا و بحث تخفيض العمالة فهنا تكون تكلفة
...more
Jonathan Peto
Nov 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This "very short introduction" was fine. One point it hammered home was that there is a historical connection between high wages and growth. That came up repeatedly. Another interesting idea for me was that without the Industrial Revolution, without growth, without, I guess, consumerism, a lot of us would work hard just to subsist. The book gave me a good impression of how various factors interact and why some nations have been more successful than others. Folks, education is much more important ...more
Vivek Agarwal
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The perspectives in this book are not unlike the other history books I have previously read

The main difference is that this is as the title says a lot more concise and to the point

The chapter on Africa is vey interesting and shows how and why Africa has lost out on the development which the other emerging countries were able to build upon

The author is very careful in linking many variables very well through the book

Which includes the education, ago based economy, how and why the Industrial Re
...more
Dorotea
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Allen’s writing is clear and the material is fascinating. The central topic is the big divergence, the situation that it emerged from, its causes, the situation after (the ‘big push’) .

One distinctive element of the mercantilist era it’s that it witnessed an early modern globalisation because of the discovery of the New World and new sea routes to East Indies and Americas. This lead to the rise of north-western Europe (Britain, Netherlands, France) and the contemporary relative decline of the Me
...more
Jaqueline
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: filosofia
Un percorso, che vede nella scoperta dell'America e nell'età delle grandi esplorazioni l'inizio della globalizzazione (che ha portato il mondo ad essere ciò che è oggi), e che cerca di rispondere a questa sola domanda: perchè esistono paesi ricchi -che possiedono supremazia economica a livello globale- e paesi poveri, che vivono nella miseria e sottostanno al dominio di un economia dettata dall'Occidente che, in passato, li ha distrutti e che tutt'ora continua a farlo? Quand'è iniziata questa gr ...more
Kyle Bunkers
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting book. At least, if you like reading about how countries industrialized, and the theories on how to effectively do so. Allen does a good job of explaining a rather convincing theory that high wages drove investments in high-capital labor saving devices/methods, which forms a positive feedback cycle, as the high-capital devices allow wages to increase, and so higher-capital devices can be introduced economically.

He also gives good accounts of other theories of how economic histor
...more
Hoda Tarek
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

لماذا بدأت النهضة الإقتصادية من الغرب بالذات ولم تبدأ من أسيا وأفريقيا ؟
سؤال مهم يجيب عنه الكتاب بتفصيل عن طريق قراءة تاريخ الأمم ،
لكني هلخص الأمر في كام نقطة :

-إنجلترا بإعتبارها أكبر قوة عظمى في العالم منذ قرون خلت لم تصعد بمحض الصدفة بل بالإستعمار
وبأخذ ماثقل وزنه أو خف من الدول التي يصعد إقتصادها في ذلك الوقت كالهند مثلا
- أمريكا التي هي في الأصل خليط من بريطانيا وبقية الدول الغربية حذت حذو إنجلترا لكنها تعاملت بعنصرية أكبر وحصرت النمو الإقتصادي على طبقة نخبوية
بعدما همشت السكان الأصليين "الهن
...more
أحمد
كتاب جيد مبني على مجموعة من البيانات التي ينهمك في تحليلها طوال الكتاب مجيبًا على تساؤل لماذا هناك دول غنية ودول فقيرة ، مرورًا بالتاريخ الإقتصادي لهذه الدول ، ويصلح لغير المتخصصين.
Muhammad Hassan
كتاب جيد جدا يدور حول هذا السؤال :


ويحاول الاجابة عن طريق تحليل بيانات عديدة مهمة للتاريخ الاقتصادى للعالم بداية من 1500
ويركز الحديث اكثر عن اوروبا وقيام الثورة الصناعية فيها
وخصوصا بريطانيا ولماذا بدأت فيها وليس فى اى بلد آخر
مع عرض التاريخ الاقتصادى لدول افريقيا واسيا والامريكتين (خصوصا الولايات المتحدة)
ثم عرض نماذج دول تقدمت خارج دول اوروبا والولايات المتحدة مثل اليابان والصين

افادنى الكتاب كثيرا فى عرض لتاريخ الاقتصادى للعالم باسلوب مناسب لغير المتخصصين
وانصح به
Adam
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is not so much a history of the global economy as it is a comparative study of economic development after the Industrial Revolution. Its premise is that at around 1800, most nations had more or less the same size economy relative to their population – i.e., they were all poor despite the existence of some small elite. But from that point, the richest nations experienced a spiral of growing population, GDP, education, and industrial output, while the poorest nations continued to grow sl ...more
John-Paul
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I felt quite ignorant about this topic and now that I've read this little book I feel slightly less ignorant. Allen writes quite well -- not beautifully, but efficiently -- so the reader not only gets a lot of facts but also a way of thinking about the central question of the book: Why are some countries rich and other countries poor?

His answers are reasonable and persuasive if not definitive, and squarely in the California School of history: it's mostly about access to resources and getting the
...more
xhxhx
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
It could have been so much better.

A non-Marxist center-left account. No, that's not quite right. A Listian, Leninist and Preobrazhenskyan history of the world. A history of primitive accumulation and extractive growth.

A critically incomplete account. Provides the outputs of growth, trade, and labor market models, but does not articulate their premises. Offers a dubious account of capital and technology transfer. Offers the conventional (deprecated) account of underdevelopment in the periphery. D
...more
DonkeyPopsicle
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Industrial policy works, except for all those times when it didn't.

Good for the basics of economic history (the great divergence, the industrial revolution, etc.). Topical rather than thematic, making it better than the average VSI. Like lots of economic history, too often caught up in GDP rather than the spectrum of standard of living at a current time period (even quartiles would be nice). Still, a very good starting point.
Pavlo Illashenko
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Good overview, but may be a bit biased towards authors own work: sometimes you can ran into an unjustified (not very convincing) underestimation of the role of institutions. This book is useful because of generalizations and the big picture view of a very long period of economic development. If you a novice in this topic it will certainty destroy some of yours misconceptions. So, if you are ideologically biased reader, be careful, you can hurt your filings.
Mykyta Kuzmenko
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Очень маленькая, но очень важная книжка. Освещает экономическое развитие нового времени. В целом у книги глобальный аспект, но автор отдельно выделяет Англию, США, страны западной Европы, Латинской Америки и СССР, а также Япония и Китай. Рецептов как достичь процветания сегодня книга не дает, но приводит удачные решения перечисленных стран в прошлом. В целом дает представление о том с какой скоростью и как долго должны расти страны чтобы "догнать и перегнать".
Jack
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, nonfiction
Fantastic brief book on why some countries have a lot of shit, and why other countries have much less.
AnnaG
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good overview of economic history. The narrative elements explaining statistically what happened when are thorough and interesting, some of the analysis seems a little superficial e.g. the authors implies in the Africa chapter that with tariffs, banks and schools any part of the world could develop and Africa was held back by colonial policies that prevented it from enacting these measures; however a chapter later he shows that Latin America did enact those policies and it still didn't work; b ...more
Pete
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction (2011) by Robert C Allen is an excellent overview of the world's economy. Allen is a professor of economic history and clearly knows his subject in depth. The book is well written and provides an excellent overview of global economics. 

The chapters are The Great Divergence, The Rise of the West, The Industrial Revolution, The Ascent of the Rich, The Great Empires, The Americas, Africa, The Standard Model and Late Industrialisation and big Push I
...more
Wing
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a very concise and informative booklet. So-called prosperity stems from R&D, which is encouraged by a high wage to capital ratio, and a "standard development model" (i.e. integrated internal market, protective tariffs, universal education, and reliable domestic investment banking). An early start, relative to other competing nations, helps because, amongst other factors, minimum efficient scales enlarge with time. Geography and history matter because these dictate the initial configu ...more
Diego
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Robert C. Allen hace una breve y brillante introducción sobre algunos de los aspectos principales detrás de las diferencias en desarrollo económico en el mundo. Desde los orígenes de la gran divergencia, hasta el proceso de convergencia de los países asiáticos. Hace un repaso por los principales eventos económicos desde 1500 y como afectaron a las diferentes regiones del mundo.

Es una buena lectura introductoria y una buena forma de refrescar la memoria sobre algunos sucesos. Allen hace un esfue
...more
Luke
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beginning chapters were decent, middle chapters on the Americas and Africa were excellent, last chapters were lacking. The chapter on the Americas was especially illuminating. Allen seems to take a "one size fits all" approach, which I don't think is a good way of seeing the history of economic "development," but this book does function as an excellent introduction to the subject.
vikram chandran
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's well written, very concise, and pulls its central theory together well. It illustrates how much the invisible hand of economics drives decision making as well as the growth trajectory for different countries. With respect to India - the book illustrates the size of the missed opportunity for the world's largest country to grow and prosper. A thought-provoking read...
Ryan
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Delivers on the title's promise. Very dense with interesting info. I'm not ready to evaluate most of its arguments, but from what I can tell it's a fair and concise summary. Really whets your appetite for economic history
Gevorg Yeghikyan
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent clear introduction to the principles and logic behind the economic policies nations have been carrying out throughout centuries, and which underlie the one question every person has asked themselves: why and how are some countries rich and others poor? Much recommended!
Michael Bee
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great starter book on economic theory

I start a book listing / looking at the bibliography. The more foreign, cryptic/puzzling the better. This passed the test! I don't think you will come out the other side of this read quite the same as you were before reading!!
Gabriel
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to highlight every paragraph. So much information packed in so little.
وفاء أحمد
الكتاب يشبه كتب الجغرافيا المدرسية ,رص لإحصاءات دون تفسير جيد حتي
الكتاب يجيب عن سؤال :لماذا هناك دول غنية واخري فقيرة
لكن هل هناك اجابة محترمة ,
لا
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“The Western countries have experienced a development trajectory in which higher wages led to the invention of labour-saving technology, whose use drove up labour productivity and wages with it.” 0 likes
“These developments were not due to a conspiracy among the rich nor simply to colonialism (although it played a role). They were the result of one of the fundamental principles of economics – comparative advantage.” 0 likes
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