Why Europe Was First

Economic growth and social change in Europe and East Asia, 1500-2050
London: Anthem Press, 2007.

"The problem for economists is that they lack a good theory for dealing with this grab-bag of disparate and ultimately non-economic factors. To a large extent this is a consequence of the limits of all existing theories of social change."

Why Europe was first, The Mechanics of Modernity, Erik Ringmar
2017-04-21T03:04:33+00:00
"The problem for economists is that they lack a good theory for dealing with this grab-bag of disparate and ultimately non-economic factors. To a large extent this is a consequence of the limits of all existing theories of social change."

"In this way institutions come quite imperceptibly to take care of things behind our backs. Churches deal with god and parliaments deal with politics giving the rest of us the time to concentrate on more important matters."

Why Europe was first, The Mechanics of Modernity, Erik Ringmar
2017-04-21T03:27:40+00:00
"In this way institutions come quite imperceptibly to take care of things behind our backs. Churches deal with god and parliaments deal with politics giving the rest of us the time to concentrate on more important matters."
"Technological innovation is crucial but economists have no proper explanation of its sources. Ironically there is not all that much that economists can say in the end about the fundamental causes of economic growth. While economic theorizing offers important insights, it does not provide the kind of answer we need."
Why Europe was first, The Mechanics of Modernity, Erik Ringmar
2017-04-21T04:09:50+00:00
"Technological innovation is crucial but economists have no proper explanation of its sources. Ironically there is not all that much that economists can say in the end about the fundamental causes of economic growth. While economic theorizing offers important insights, it does not provide the kind of answer we need."
"Instead of a showcase of the future the developing world was turned into a historical museum where yesteryear's European modernity was put on pathetic display. The result was as embarrassing to the model as it was to the epigone."
Why Europe was first, The Mechanics of Modernity, Erik Ringmar
2017-04-25T04:17:22+00:00
"Instead of a showcase of the future the developing world was turned into a historical museum where yesteryear's European modernity was put on pathetic display. The result was as embarrassing to the model as it was to the epigone."

"If technological change ultimately is what drives economic change then the economists have to present a viable explanation of it. This however they have so far been unable to do. Technological change is intimately related to a long range of cultural, social and political factors but none of these economists are particularly well equipped to study."

Why Europe was first, The Mechanics of Modernity, Erik Ringmar
2017-04-21T03:05:28+00:00
"If technological change ultimately is what drives economic change then the economists have to present a viable explanation of it. This however they have so far been unable to do. Technological change is intimately related to a long range of cultural, social and political factors but none of these economists are particularly well equipped to study."
  • For most of its history Europe was a thoroughly average part of the world: poor, uncouth, technologically and culturally backward. By contrast, China was always far richer, more sophisticated and advanced. Yet it was Europe that first became modern, and by the nineteenth century China was struggling to catch up. This book explains why. Why did Europe succeed and why was China left behind? The answer, as we will see, does not only solve a long-standing historical puzzle, it also provides an explanation of the contemporary success of East Asia, and it shows what is wrong with current theories of development and modernization.

    The book is published twice, under different titles. For the paperback, published by Athem Press, I came up with the idea of calling it "Why Europe Was First." The idea was that it would sound less boring and academic (to go with the man on the dragon roller-coaster). Yet it's the same book as "Mechanics of Modernity," published by Routledge. Take your pick.
  • It is brilliant: beautifully argued and written, and (mostly) correct.
    Deirdre McCloskey, University of Illinois, author of Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce.
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