The Wealth and Poverty of Nations

by David Landes

The Wealth and Poverty of Nations is a book that explores one of the most contentious and passionately debated questions of our time: Why do some nations achieve economic success while others remain mired in poverty? The answer, However is not clear cut. Lanes definitively illustrates that it is a complex interplay of cultural mores and historical circumstance. The book is abundant with anecdotal evidence, piercing analysis, and a truly astonishing breadth of knowledge. Lanes talks about a wide range of topics such as how clocks advanced English trade with China and how high temperatures in central America may have led to lower productivity compared to colder European countries. The book is definitely controversial and brings up interesting and perhaps old-school arguments. But these questions are good stimulus for debates and for further thought. It enhances your view on the world as a whole despite it flaws. The author did write in a Eurocentric standpoint, but he criticises his on view and elaborates on the reasons for history taking this viewpoint. Overall, the book is a tentative exploration of the issue of economic progress and culture, and it’s fascinating. I believe that the book teaches valuable lessons to those who want to be leaders in the world of politics, economics or development. It highlights past mistakes and success and how they came to pass and thus can be applied in the future. It lightly touches on the geopolitical history of the world which is crucial to understand if we are to bring positive change in that aspect. It widened my outlook on life and thus when I approach certain situations I can fully appreciate more factors before making an informed decision.

Lemuel Mandara

Rating: 3 Worth Reading