What We Are Reading Today: A Culture of Growth, by Joel Mokyr

Updated 14 May 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: A Culture of Growth, by Joel Mokyr

  • The book provides startling reasons for why the foundations of our modern economy were laid in the mere two centuries between Columbus and Newton. 

During the late 18th century, innovations in Europe triggered the Industrial Revolution and the sustained economic progress that spread across the globe. 

While much has been made of the details of the Industrial Revolution, what remains a mystery is why it took place at all. 

Why did this revolution begin in the West and not elsewhere, and why did it continue, leading to today’s unprecedented prosperity? 

In this groundbreaking book, celebrated economic historian Joel Mokyr argues that a culture of growth specific to early modern Europe and the European Enlightenment laid the foundations for the scientific advances and pioneering inventions that would instigate explosive technological and economic development. 

Bringing together economics, the history of science and technology, and models of cultural evolution, Mokyr demonstrates that culture — the beliefs, values, and preferences in society that are capable of changing behavior — was a deciding factor in societal transformations. 

Combining ideas from economics and cultural evolution, “A Culture of Growth” provides startling reasons for why the foundations of our modern economy were laid in the mere two centuries between Columbus and Newton. 

 


What We Are Watching Today: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised 

Updated 21 May 2018
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What We Are Watching Today: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised 

In Venezuela, where elections took place on Sunday, the legacy of the late firebrand socialist leader Hugo Chavez still dominates the country.

President Nicolas Maduro was the hand-picked successor to Chavez and campaigns on a platform of continuing the “Chavismo” policies.

Those policies have plunged the country into a deep economic crisis, despite it having some of the world’s largest oil reserves.

“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is a 2003 documentary, which was filmed by an Irish crew, in the buildup to and during an attempted coup against Chavez in 2002.

It focuses on the role of the private media and the coverage of violent protests.

While it has been accused of pro-Chavez bias, the filmmakers’ close proximity to the unfolding events gives an uncomfortable view of the political schisms that threaten to tear Venezuela apart.