Thursday, June 23, 2011

Non-fiction Book Civilization: the West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson

In Civilization: the West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson, the author argues that the West succeeded because it had certain killer application (as in killer apps, commonly referred to by programming geeks). These are:

  1. Firstly, competition that gave the West a major military and technical advantage
  2. Secondly, science, almost completely Euro-centred from Copernicus to Newton
  3. Thirdly, safety of property, which he argues was the basis of the American Revolution
  4. Medicine, the fourth, was beneficial to the West but also to its colonies
  5. The fifth, consumer society, which is vital because workers were also consumers who would themselves provide the demand for the output of the Industrial Revolution
  6. Ferguson's sixth and last "killer application" is Protestant work ethics.
So, what Indian and the rest of the world didn't have was competition, property, and Protestant work ethics. Why this blogger thinks thusly is because medicine and science benefited entire humanity. What about religion? Was it not one of the reasons the West thought they were superior than the rest?

Ferguson leaves many questions unanswered. Would like to take a look at the book though.

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