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"Readers cannot but be provoked and stimulated by this splendidly iconoclastic and refreshing book."—Andrew Porter, New York Times Book Review
The Wealth and Poverty of Nations is David S. Landes's acclaimed, best-selling exploration of one of the most contentious and hotly debated questions of our time: Why do some nations achieve economic success while others remain mired in poverty? The answer, as Landes definitively illustrates, is a complex interplay of cultural mores and historical circumstance. Rich with anecdotal evidence, piercing analysis, and a truly astonishing range of erudition, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations is a "picture of enormous sweep and brilliant insight" (Kenneth Arrow) as well as one of the most audaciously ambitious works of history in decades.
For the paperback edition, Landes has written a new epilogue, in which he takes account of Asian financial crisises and the international tension between overconfidence and reality.
David S. Landes has earned a reputation as a brilliant writer and iconoclast among economic historians. In his latest acclaimed work, he takes a revealing look at the quality that distinguishes a third of today's Fortune 500 companies: family ownership. From the banking fortunes of Rothschild and Morgan to the automobile empires of Ford and Toyota, Landes explores thirteen different dynasties, revealing what lay behind their successes-and how extravagance, bad behavior, and poor enterprise brought some of them to their knees. A colorful history that is full of surprising conclusions, Dynasties is an engrossing mix of ambition, eccentricity, and wealth.
Whether hailed as heroes or cast as threats to social order, entrepreneurs--and their innovations--have had an enormous influence on the growth and prosperity of nations. The Invention of Enterprise gathers together, for the first time, leading economic historians to explore the entrepreneur's role in society from antiquity to the present. Addressing social and institutional influences from a historical context, each chapter examines entrepreneurship during a particular period and in an important geographic location.
The book chronicles the sweeping history of enterprise in Mesopotamia and Neo-Babylon; carries the reader through the Islamic Middle East; offers insights into the entrepreneurial history of China, Japan, and Colonial India; and describes the crucial role of the entrepreneur in innovative activity in Europe and the United States, from the medieval period to today. In considering the critical contributions of entrepreneurship, the authors discuss why entrepreneurial activities are not always productive and may even sabotage prosperity. They examine the institutions and restrictions that have enabled or impeded innovation, and the incentives for the adoption and dissemination of inventions. They also describe the wide variations in global entrepreneurial activity during different historical periods and the similarities in development, as well as entrepreneurship's role in economic growth. The book is filled with past examples and events that provide lessons for promoting and successfully pursuing contemporary entrepreneurship as a means of contributing to the welfare of society.
The Invention of Enterprise lays out a definitive picture for all who seek an understanding of innovation's central place in our world.