[ExI] Impressive book: Farewell to Alms

hkhenson hkhenson at rogers.com
Sat Feb 2 05:02:47 UTC 2008

A Brief Economic History of the World
By Dr. Gregory Clark
University of California, Davis

This is one of those books that changed my world view, in the same 
class as Richard Dawkins' Selfish Gene, Eric Drexler's Engines of 
Creation, William Calvin's The Cerebral Code, Robert Wright's Moral 
Animal, Robert Axelrod's Evolution of Cooperation and a hand full of 
other books mostly on evolutionary psychology.  It's not that it 
replaces any of these, just fills in a big knowledge gap and is 
highly complimentary to my work on the origin of war.

Economics, particularly historical economics, never made much sense 
to me.  Dr. Clark's work does and it might be called "evolutionary economics."

It makes a case for intense genetic selection leading up to the great 
leap of the industrial revolution that allowed England and a small 
number of other countries to escape the "Malthusian Trap." and it 
makes a case for why this didn't come about in other parts of the 
world and isn't likely to.

Like nanotechnology, AI and evolutionary psychology, I think the 
material in this book is essential to informed discussion on this and 
related mailing lists.

At the least list members should read this short version:


It's hard to have any idea of where we are going without an idea of 
where we came from.

Keith Henson

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