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Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium (Princeton Economic History of the Western World)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  170 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews

International trade has shaped the modern world, yet until now no single book has been available for both economists and general readers that traces the history of the international economy from its earliest beginnings to the present day. Power and Plenty fills this gap, providing the first full account of world trade and development over the course of the last millennium.

Kindle Edition, 624 pages
Published (first published November 12th 2007)
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A real gem of a book. Power and Plenty is organised as a history, rather than on a thematic basis, despite the name. If there is one recurring theme it is that military and economic power go together -- but the authors argue this in a nuanced and non-obvious way, and do not bang on this theme incessantly, rather, it is simply a resonant truth that emerges time and again as they go through world economic history in a chronological and geographic order. The book separates the last millenium into c ...more
Patrick Graves
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As good as Gold:
The book was actually better than I expected. It advertised itself as a standard, relatively monotone and boring nonfiction work, but I decided to continue anyway as my brother highly recommended it. Not only were there incredibly detailed facts and descriptions of the world economy and political situations, but they had statistics and sources in the footnotes to back up their statements and claims. No claim made was without reason, and each reason had a well researched source,
Encyclopedic and all-encompassing history of global trade over the past 1000 years. Covers each of the major players rationally, and over an astonishing period of time, with very clear and concise data points.

The authors make several arguments - first, that military/political power is necessary to have economic power, and second, that there were three eras which defined the last millenium - the era after the Mongolian conquest, the discovery of the new world, and the Industrial Revolution. Prov
David Robertus
Mar 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a survey of data using the year 1000 as a starting point and advancing through the history of trade relations between geographic regions. The scope and detail is appealing to a economist, certainly, and the analysis of wages and prices, trade volume, and comparative advantages, well supplemented by maps makes for a very engaging read.
Eric Bottorff
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is what top notch economic history looks like.
Dec 29, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"[It] seemed by the end of the twentieth century as though the world might finally be heading toward a more balanced economic system, with more and more countries starting to converge on the world's technological frontier, and the 'Great Specialization' becoming a thing of the past, a temporary by-product of the disequilibrium created by the Industrial Revolution two hundred years previously. Looking ahead, therefore, it seems natural to suppose that more and more countries will experience the b ...more
Rob Prince
Dec 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know. It sounds boring. Maybe it is boring. But I don't think it's boring...a history of world trade. I'm about half way through it and find it as good an explanation of some of the trends of world history of these past 1000 or so years. I suppose it would be a kind of `backgrond' book - the kind you only read to get perspective after you've reached the age of 65. But I'm loving it. Besides, you can, if you like, read just a chapter of it - whatever chapter interests you. I'm reading right now ...more
Jan 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing survey of the history of tumultuous world trade

Thinking of globalization as a new phenomenon or an inevitable one is all too easy. As scholars Ronald Findlay and Kevin O’Rourke explain in this thorough examination, globalization is neither new nor predictable. In fact, international trade has been a reality for more than 1,000 years and the story of global commerce is one of constant change. For centuries, nations have jockeyed for position, imposed rules and killed each other’s citiz
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
must read for anyone who is interested in how economic circumstances and mechanisms have shaped our history. centred around pax mongolia, industrial revolution and the black death as three major turning points in world history between 1000-2000. relatively concise given the scope of the book. not a "fluid" read in the sense that the authors back their claims up with data and theory, but considering that this is what they do, the argument still flows relatively well. still - the book is lengthy a ...more
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If there you are looking for THE reference book on the history of world trade and on the interactions between trade, economics and geopolitices, don't look further, this the one.
Benjamin Gaiser
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very detailed, very sophisticated book about the world economy in historical perspective. The authors mention various theories to each economic era. Sublime for academic use.
Dec 04, 2008 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
rec by Patrick at Bob's promotion ceremony?
Aug 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very detailed, and covered continents and centuries I had never seen covered in other works of economic history.
Dec 07, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
History of global trade during the 2nd millenium
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