The Birth of Plenty

The Birth of Plenty

How the Prosperity of the Modern World Was Created

Book - 2004
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"Compact and immensely readable . . . a tour de force. Prepare to be amazed." -- John C. Bogle, Founder and Former CEO, The Vanguard Group

"Vital--a cogent, timely journey through the economic history of the modern world." -- Publishers Weekly

In The Birth of Plenty , William Bernstein, the bestselling author of The Four Pillars of Investing, presents his provocative, highly acclaimed theory of why prosperity has been the engine of civilization for the last 200 years.

This is a fascinating, irresistibly written "big-picture" work that highlights and explains the impact of four elements that when occurring simultaneously, are the fundamental building blocks for human progress:

Property rights, which drive creativity Scientific rationalism, which permits the freedom to innovate without fear of retribution; Capital markets, which provide funding for people to pursue their visions; Transportation/communication, which allows for the effective transfer of ideas and products.

Meticulously researched, splendidly told, and featuring a new preface and introduction, The Birth of Plenty explains the interplay of the events, philosophies, and related phenomena that were nothing less than the crucible of the modern age. This is one of the rare books that will change how you look at the world.

Publisher: New York : McGraw-Hill, c2004
ISBN: 9780071747042
Characteristics: xii, 420 p. : ill. ; 24 cm


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Jul 05, 2016

A lengthy argument using both abstract premises and historical evidence to advance the claim - fairly successfully - that a key set of institutions are what matter for economic growth. (The corollary to this is that sexism (patriarchy) and/ or imperialism are not significant influencing factors.) The author writes in a way that makes the reader feel that he is being *talked at*, which gets bit annoying after fifty pages.

Sep 06, 2013

Great historical view of how development occurred and how it changed many lives for the better. He takes the long view, going back hundreds of years. Bernstein traces factors that lead to rising prosperity in some nations (go back far enough and all nation states were all equally poverty stricken), human and property rights, stable governments etc. He also gives a nod to governments that provided incentives for risk takers to introduce innovations to the market.


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