How the West Grew Rich
The Economic Transformation of the Industrial World
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How the West Grew Rich by Nathan Rosenberg
Book DescriptionHow did the West--Europe, Canada, and the United States--escape from immemorial poverty into sustained economic growth and material well-being when other societies remained trapped in an endless cycle of birth, hunger, hardship, and death? In this elegant synthesis of economic history, two scholars argue that it is the political pluralism and the flexibility of the West's institutions--not corporate organization and mass production technology--that explain its unparalleled wealth.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780465031092
(229mm x 152mm x 27mm)
Imprint: Basic Books
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 11-May-1987
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Nathan Rosenberg
Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Hardback (May 2010)
Economists examine the genesis of technological change and the ways we commercialize and diffuse it. This title includes articles that consider the best ways to establish optimal incentives in technological progress. It examines science and innovation at the intersections of the marketplace, policy, and social welfare.
Schumpeter and the Endogeneity of Technology, Paperback (April 2006)
Schumpeter's work developed the notion of the endogeneity of technology, and offered illuminating historical analyses of how and why some social systems have managed to generate innovation. This work explores Schumpeter's central ideas, and examines the ways in which the concept of endogeneity can illuminate American economic history.
Chemicals and Long-term Economic Growth, Paperback (September 2000)
The chemical processing industry is the largest manufacturing industry in the United States and Europe. This book focuses on lessons learned from the development of this industry and how to apply them to promote long-term economic growth.
Paths of Innovation, Paperback (October 1999)» View all books by Nathan Rosenberg
This highly accessible treatment examines the sources, structure, and economic effects of technological innovation in the twentieth-century US economy.
US Kirkus Review » A persuasively argued brief for the proposition that the West's economic development and comparatively high living standards are attributable mainly to the autonomy ceded the industrial/commercial sector by ecclesiastic as well as political authorities. Rosenberg (a Stanford professor) and Birdzell (an attorney) take the High Middle Ages as their point of departure. In Western Europe, they note, feudalism began yielding to a new order around 1600, about the time the continent's population regained the levels of 1347 - a plague year. Of particular importance in this process (made possible by the chartering of towns where trade could flourish unhindered) was the relaxation of controls on wages and prices, traditionally set by law or custom under a religious standard of justice. By the mid-18th century, an active merchant class was creating a plural society encompassing not only market networks but also the institutions (depository banking, insurance, a legal system) required to exploit the opportunities afforded by the industrial revolution. Among factors responsible for the subsequent expansion, the authors cite the business community's receptivity to technological advances, a shift from an agrarian to an urban culture, widespread acceptance of supply/demand forces, and a flexible approach to organization and operations. Rosenberg and Birdzell explore the important role that applied science has played in the New World's prosperity, noting that Western enterprise, which is largely free to set its own risk/reward agenda, produces consistenly better results than, for example, the centrally planned and managed economies of Socialist Bloc nations. They also trace the rise of "conspicuously large" publicly held corporations. These leviathans, they comment, arrived on the scene too late to account for Western affluence. In fact, they argue, smaller firms dominate industrialized economies by virtue of their collectively larger employment rolls and capacity for innovation. The authors close on an optimistic note, declaring there's little reason to believe the West has exhausted its potential for economic growth. They caution, however, that government policies designed "to create a society better in ways other than being richer" could reduce the capacity of future generations to reach still greater heights of material well-being. On balance, then, a provocative evaluation that does not shrink from the implications of its challenging conclusions. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Nathan Rosenberg
Nathan Rosenberg, a leading expert on the history of technology, is an economist at Stanford University. L.E. Birdzell, Jr. is an attorney and legal scholar, based in Newport, Rhode Island.
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