The Birth of Plenty

The Birth of Plenty

How the Prosperity of the Modern World Was Created

Book - 2004
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Baker & Taylor
Filled with provocative insights and revolutionary ideas, this "big-picture" guide to the current state of the global economy identifies the forces necessary for sustained growth--scientific rationalism, property rights, capital markets, and solid communications and transportation infrastructure. 35,000 first printing.

& Taylor

Presents the current state of the global economy, and identifies the forces necessary for sustained growth-scientific rationalism, property rights, capital markets, and solid communications and transportation infrastructure.

McGraw Hill


Praise for The Birth of Plenty:

"Bill Bernstein has given us a compact and immensely readable economic, political, military, and institutional history of our civilization that is a tour de force. Put everything else down. Take a deep breath. Open The Birth of Plenty. And prepare to be amazed.

--John C. Bogle, Founder and Former CEO, The Vanguard Group

"The Birth of Plenty is a brilliantly written, whirlwind account of how the modern world was formed. It is a hugely enjoyable read, full of vigor and liveliness, and a book every American should possess--at least those who treasure our abundant life and care about our future."

--William Schultheis, Author, The Coffeehouse Investor

"Put simply, this is my favorite economic history book. It gathers what is interesting about economic history to draw important lessons."
--Ed Tower, Professor of Economics, Duke University

"William Bernstein scrutinizes the research literature, distills it with originality and insight, then shares the results with classic Bernstein clarity and wit. Ideologues on both political wings should prepare to have their assumptions challenged."

--Bernard Sherman, Host, Talk of Iowa - Focus on Finance radio show

A daring look at the development of human prosperity--how it was created, and where it's headed

In the breakthrough spirit of Against the Gods, William Bernstein's The Birth of Plenty has the topical uniqueness and storytelling panache to literally create its own category and reader. Based upon the premise that mankind experienced virtually zero economic growth from the dawn of time until 1820, this provocative, bigpicture book identifies the four conditions necessary for sustained economic progress--property rights, scientific rationalism, capital markets, and communications and transportation technology-- and then analyzes their gradual appearance and impact throughout every corner of the globe. Filled with bestselling author William Bernstein's trademark meticulous research and page-turning writing style, The Birth of Plenty explores:

  • Where the world economy could be headed next
  • Implications of the book's thesis for today's society
  • How the absence of one or more of the conditions continues to threaten beleaguered regions

Rare is the book that proposes an entirely new premise, validates that premise with inarguable research and analysis, and then explains beyond question both the relevance and the implications of its premise to the reader and the world at large. The Birth of Plenty is just such a book. From its unique, topical subject matter to its tremendous review potential, this insightful book will be one of the most talked-about volumes of the publishing season.

Publisher: New York : McGraw-Hill, c2004
ISBN: 9780071421928
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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