Self Help

The Journey of Humanity The Origins of Wealth and Inequality - Oded Galor

Author Photo

Matheus Puppe

· 50 min read



  • The book explores the mystery of human growth and development - how living standards have radically improved in recent centuries compared to stagnating for most of human history.

  • Up until a few hundred years ago, living standards were barely any different than during prehistoric times, with short life expectancies, poverty, disease, lack of education.

  • But since the early 19th century, life expectancy has more than doubled, incomes have increased over 20 times in developed areas and 14 times globally on average.

  • This unprecedented transformation in quality of life dwarfs any other changes since the emergence of modern humans.

  • The book seeks to explain this mystery by analyzing theories for historical stagnation like Malthusian theory, and investigating triggers for accelerated growth like technological progress, education, industrialization, and demographic transition.

  • It examines underlying factors like institutions, culture, geography, agriculture that have shaped wealth and inequality both between societies and within the human species over the long run of history.

So in summary, the book aims to understand the causes and mechanisms behind both the historical stagnation of living standards for most of human history, as well as the dramatic acceleration in growth and development seen more recently.

  • Technological advances in the past initially led to temporary boosts in living standards by increasing food production. However, this inevitably resulted in population growth and reduced mortality as more people survived.

  • As populations grew, they would eventually outstrip the available food supply, causing living standards to revert back to subsistence levels. Societies would be no better off in the long run due to this balancing effect of population growth negating gains from innovation.

  • This dynamic trapped humanity in a “poverty trap” of stagnating living conditions for most of history, according to Malthus’ theory. However, something changed in recent centuries that allowed some societies to break out of this cycle and achieve sustained growth in prosperity.

  • The passage aims to explore the underlying causes and mechanisms that governed both the long period of stagnation throughout human history, as well as what enabled the escape from this trap in more recent times, leading to unprecedented increases in living standards.

  • The emergence of Homo sapiens and early human settlements can be traced back hundreds of thousands of years to sites like the Mount Carmel Caves in Israel, where artifacts indicate gradually advancing tools and culture.

  • A key development was the rapid evolution of the large, complex human brain starting 200,000-800,000 years ago. While an advanced brain provided advantages, it also requires massive energy and makes birth difficult.

  • Scholars propose that ecological challenges, the need for social cooperation, and the brain’s ability to accumulate and transmit cultural knowledge may have collectively driven brain evolution through natural selection processes.

  • Developments like controlling fire and cooking likely further fueled brain growth by making food more efficiently digestible. Iterative advances in technology also shaped human evolution.

  • The essay explores how these factors set the stage for humanity’s ongoing development and sees potential for progress through education, tolerance and gender equality to benefit society as a whole in the future.

The passage discusses the origins and early migration of modern humans out of Africa. Small bands of hunter-gatherers emerged in Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago and developed complex skills. As populations grew, humans began migrating to other areas in search of resources around 60,000-90,000 years ago, spreading throughout Asia, Europe, Australia and the Americas.

Agriculture arose independently in different regions around 12,000 years ago during a warming climate. Permanent settlements like the Natufian culture developed, preceding the agricultural revolution. The Neolithic Revolution began in the Fertile Crescent, where domestication of plants and animals allowed sedentary lifestyles and population growth. Agriculture diffused across Eurasia more readily than in Africa and the Americas due to geographic barriers.

Agricultural societies generated larger food surpluses, supporting more people. Specialization of occupations emerged, along with social stratification and non-food producing classes. Some of the earliest large settlements like Jericho date to this period, around 9,000 BCE, marking the dawn of civilization.

  • Thomas Malthus was an 18th century cleric who argued that human population grows exponentially while food production grows arithmetically, leading to a “Malthusian catastrophe” where population grows beyond the capacity to feed itself.

  • He proposed that gains in living standards from technological progress like improved farming would temporarily raise population, but eventually population would outstrip resources as more mouths had to be fed from the same land. Living standards would return to their original level.

  • This “poverty trap” maintains humanity in a state of long-term stagnation, where gains are undone by population growth filling any surplus.

  • Malthus’ description of pre-industrial stagnation was accurate, but his prediction that progress could not overcome this dynamic turned out to be wrong, due to factors he did not foresee like the industrial revolution.

  • The key elements of his hypothesis were that increased resources enable more children to survive, driving population growth, while living space remains limited, forcing standards back down as more people have to share the same resources over time.

  • Technological advancements in the pre-industrial era were linked to larger populations, as population growth drove more invention and demand for inventions. However, this does not prove the Malthusian theory, as other factors like culture could have influenced both technology and population.

  • Evidence from the spread of agriculture (Neolithic Revolution) provides a better test. Regions that adopted agriculture earlier had a lasting technological advantage and tended to have larger populations by 1500 CE, supporting Malthus. However, per capita income was similar, indicating populations stabilized at subsistence level.

  • Hunter-gatherers initially had higher living standards than early farmers, yet agriculture became dominant as it supported far greater population densities. Population growth from hunting/gathering would have eventually reduced standards to subsistence anyway due to resource competition. Agriculture allowed densities to stabilize at a higher population level, though living standards declined compared to ancient hunter-gatherers.

  • The Malthusian mechanism can also explain population swings caused by plagues like the Black Death, which killed around 40% of Europeans in the mid-14th century by reducing resource pressures. This allowed remaining populations to partially recover initially.

  • The passage discusses the economic impacts of major population changes and introductions of new crops throughout history.

  • Events like the Black Death led to a temporary rise in wages in places like England as the population declined, but wages reverted to pre-plague levels as the population recovered.

  • The introduction of crops from the Americas, like potatoes in Ireland, initially improved living standards but then led to unsustainable population growth and eventual famine.

  • The adoption of maize in different Chinese provinces at different times provided a natural experiment showing that earlier adoption led to 10% higher population growth in the long run, but no increase in incomes.

  • Overall, the passage argues that despite technological advances, living standards and life expectancy remained near subsistence levels for most of human history due to the pressures of population growth outlined in Malthusian theory. Wages changed little anywhere from ancient times through the 18th century.

  • During the Malthusian era of stagnation for hundreds of thousands of years, various forces were operating beneath the surface that would eventually trigger humanity’s escape from poverty.

  • One of these “wheels of change” was population size, which grew dramatically from 2.4 million people 10,000 BCE to nearly 1 billion by 1800. Larger populations created more opportunity for innovation and knowledge accumulation.

  • Other wheels of change included the development of agriculture and denser settlements during the Neolithic Revolution, improvements in technology and innovations over centuries, and institutional/political changes.

  • While individual innovations raised incomes briefly, populations would then rise and push incomes back down to subsistence levels per Malthusian theory.

  • These accumulating changes beneath the surface eventually crossed some threshold, triggering a phase transition analogous to water transforming from liquid to gas. This disrupted the Malthusian equilibrium and unleashed sustained economic growth beginning in the late 18th/19th century.

  • Unified growth theory seeks to understand development over all of human history as a unified phenomenon, driven by forces accumulating gradually over millennia rather than viewing pre-modern and modern eras separately.

Here are the key points:

  • Larger human populations enabled by the Neolithic Revolution grew 400-fold over 12,000 years, accelerating the pace of innovation. Larger populations generated greater demand for new goods/tools and more exceptional individuals to invent them. They also benefited from more specialization and idea sharing.

  • Regions with earlier agriculture (Fertile Crescent) had larger prehistoric settlements and a technological head start. Areas with more suitable farm land also had more advanced technologies.

  • Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press invention benefited from living in large, prosperous cities like Mainz that had trade networks, accumulated knowledge, and exposure to other innovations. A village setting would have posed many more obstacles.

  • Larger populations prevented technological decline seen in smaller, isolated communities that lost vital knowledge due to events like epidemics decimating populations.

  • Population size worked in tandem with population composition, which was also shaped by Malthusian forces and natural selection over time. Cultural traits complementary to the technological environment generated higher incomes and more offspring, gradually increasing their prevalence. Traits valuing education and entrepreneurship were growth-enhancing.

The passage discusses the debate around which clan, the Quanty or Qualy, will dominate the overall population in the long run. The Quanty clan has more children on average (4) but only 2 survive to adulthood, while the Qualy clan has fewer children on average (2) but is able to invest more in each child’s education, health, and career prospects.

Initially the population is stable, but then society experiences technological development that increases demand for skilled trades like blacksmiths and carpenters. This gives the Qualy clan an evolutionary advantage, as their children are better able to get higher-paying jobs in these fields. Within a generation or two, Qualy families will enjoy higher incomes and resources, allowing them to have more surviving children themselves.

In contrast, uneducated Quanty offspring will not benefit from the technological changes and their incomes and number of surviving children will remain the same. Over time, this positive feedback loop of technology, skills, jobs and surviving offspring will cause the Qualy clan to dominate the overall population.

The passage argues this story reflects broader evolutionary patterns - larger mammals invest more in fewer offspring, while smaller organisms have more offspring with less investment. Evidence from Quebec and England supports that families investing more in children’s human capital tended to have more surviving descendants in the long run.

Here are brief summaries of the works mentioned:

  • Shakespeare’s Hamlet - A tragedy about Hamlet’s quest for revenge against his uncle for murdering his father and marrying his mother. It explores themes of revenge, incest, and the difficulty of discerning truth.

  • Cervantes’s Don Quixote - A comic novel about the adventures of an eccentric nobleman who mistakes reality for a fantasy world. It satirizes genres of chivalric romances.

  • Goethe’s Faust - A tragic play based on the German legend of Faust. It follows Faust’s pact with the devil and his endless pursuit of knowledge, power, and pleasure and comments on human morality.

  • Hugo’s Les Misérables - A dramatic novel that follows Jean Valjean as he struggles with his criminal past. It addresses themes of law and grace, redemption, and the French Revolution.

  • Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment - A psychological novel about the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Raskolnikov, who commits murder to test his own theories. It examines existential and spiritual themes.

  • In pre-industrial Europe, major technological advances included the printing press, pendulum clock, eyeglasses, telescope, microscope, and improvements in agriculture and seafaring. However, by 1500, European technology had surpassed other civilizations like China and the Ottoman Empire.

  • The printing press expanded literacy in Europe from an estimated 13 million books printed in 1475-1500 to over 1 billion copies printed annually by 1800. This fueled further technological and cultural changes.

  • During the Age of Enlightenment in the 1600-1700s, education became more important culturally and economically in Western Europe. However, education still did not provide skills relevant for most workers.

  • During the Industrial Revolution, the demand for skilled labor increased, requiring more literacy, numeracy, and mechanical skills. Countries reformed their education systems to focus on industrial needs, establishing universal primary education. This heightened human capital formation for workers.

  • Literacy rates among workers rose significantly in England, France, Prussia/Germany, and the United States due to compulsory education reforms in the 18th-19th centuries meeting industrial demands for skilled labor.

  • In the late 19th century, industries demanded blue-collar workers trained in subjects like geometry, algebra, chemistry, and mechanical drawing. Schools transformed to meet this need, with public secondary school enrollment increasing 70-fold from 1870-1950.

  • Technological advancement during industrialization was associated with increased human capital formation, but the causal link was not definitively established.

  • Evidence from France suggests geographic proximity to an early steam engine adoption site predicted higher levels of later steam engine use, literacy, and primary school enrollment, indicating technology drove human capital gains.

  • Similar patterns linking railroads, skills, and economic structure were seen in the US. This wide range of findings suggests industrialization stimulated literacy, education, and craft skills development.

  • Enhanced human capital then facilitated further technological progress, contributing to Britain’s early industrial leadership through its skilled workforce. Educated workers supported invention and implementation.

  • To avoid class struggle and revolution as predicted by Marx, industrial nations expanded voting rights, welfare states, and critically, invested in worker education and skills through public schools, recognizing human capital’s importance to profits and social stability.

  • At the beginning of industrialization, craft skills were important but became less so as the workforce needed more general and adaptable skills to keep up with rapid technological changes. A broad and flexible education was more useful than exclusive vocational skills.

  • Contrary to Marx’s prediction, technological changes made human capital more crucial for boosting productivity. This led to a revolution in mass education, with capitalists supporting public education as they realized its importance for workers and business.

  • However, individual industrialists were reluctant to fund education as other firms could poach skilled workers. Governments eventually took on providing public education due to pressure from industrialists.

  • In Britain, government inquiries found workers and managers lacked proper training. Reforms improved primary education and introduced technical/scientific subjects. Compulsory education was established.

  • Landed elites opposed education reforms as educated farm workers could leave farming. Areas with concentrated land ownership were more opposed to ensure workers stayed.

  • Ultimately, the interests of children, parents and industrialists in education prevailed over landed elites. By 1900, almost all adults in Western nations had basic education, representing a major social change.

  • This education revolution helped eliminate child labor through new legislation as photograph evidence aroused public outrage against the practice.

  • During the early stages of the Industrial Revolution, populations expanded rapidly in industrializing nations due to rising incomes.

  • However, in the late 19th century, population growth and birth rates sharply declined in developed countries, a trend later seen globally in the 20th century. Fertility rates dropped 30-50% in Western Europe from 1870-1920.

  • This “Demographic Transition” shattered the Malthusian mechanism, as higher incomes were no longer used to support larger families. Technological progress now allowed living standards to rise long-term.

  • The decline in fertility opened an escape from the “Malthusian trap” of stagnation. It marked the birth of sustained economic growth.

  • Reasons for the transition included delayed marriage, abstinence, and the withdrawal method due to scarcity. In times of prosperity, marriage ages dropped and birth rates rose accordingly. This demonstrated shifts in family planning in response to economic conditions.

  • Prior to the demographic transition, factors like dowry payments, bride price, abortion, and contraception had been practiced in many societies to control fertility but did not cause large declines.

  • The rise of the industrial revolution and new technologies changed things in a few key ways:

  1. It increased the return on investing in children’s education due to demands for literacy, math, and skills. This incentivized parents to have fewer, higher quality children.

  2. Higher incomes from new jobs meant parents could afford to invest more in each child’s education. However, the opportunity cost of parenting also rose.

  3. Improved health and declining child mortality rates increased the potential return on educational investments by lengthening expected lifespans.

  4. Child labor became less profitable compared to adult work. Migration to cities also raised living costs.

  • Separately, declining gender wage gaps meant women’s employment outside the home became more economically viable, further reducing incentives for large families. In the past, women earned much less than men but that gap narrowed over time.

So in summary, rising human capital returns coupled with women’s changing economic roles were key triggers driving down global fertility and ushering in the demographic transition.

  • The passage describes the experiences of three fictional families to illustrate how living standards, education levels, and birth rates changed over time with industrialization and the demographic transition.

  • The first family, the Kellys in 16th century Ireland, lived a subsistence life farming a small plot of land. They had high infant mortality. When they started growing potatoes, their living standards improved slightly and the mother had more children. Education was not an option as most were illiterate.

  • The second family, the Joneses in early 19th century England, moved from farming to working in a textile factory in the city. Their wages increased substantially. They had more children and were able to afford clothing and a larger home. The father paid to apprentice the older son as a technician, but most children still lacked education options.

  • Birth rates increased for both families initially as living standards rose, following the Malthusian model. But over generations and with industrialization, birth rates among descendants eventually declined as education and opportunities outside of farming increased.

  • The passage uses these family stories to illustrate how factors like increased wages, education, urbanization, and declining child mortality contributed to the demographic transition from high to low birth rates over time.

  • The passage describes the transition of humanity escaping the Malthusian trap of population matching resources through three families - the Kellys, Joneses, and Olssons - across the 18th-20th centuries.

  • Technological progress gradually improved living standards for the Joneses and later the Olssons, allowing some relief from the Malthusian limits. Education became important for social status and opportunities.

  • By the early 20th century in Stockholm, the Olsson family benefited from new technologies like electricity, steam engines, and automobiles. Their children’s education led to higher paying jobs.

  • This marked the beginning of the Demographic Transition - higher incomes, life expectancy, education, and gender equality caused populations in Western Europe and North America to escape poverty through lower birth rates.

  • The passage argues this was a phase transition for humanity, finally breaking out of the long-standing Malthusian trap through sustained technological progress and demographic changes. However, local factors also influenced the timing and speed of this transition in different places.

  • In the middle of the 19th century, industrialized nations began escaping Malthusian forces like famine and disease that had previously constrained population growth.

  • From the late 20th century onward, developing countries also experienced improvements in living conditions and public health. This predominantly benefitted the poorest sections of society who were most vulnerable to threats like cold, hunger and disease.

  • Life expectancy increased dramatically across the world from the 17th century onward due to advances in technology, hygiene, medicine and better access to food, shelter and information. While inequality remained, overall conditions and standards of living vastly improved for most of humanity over this period.

  • In the 1960s, Detroit’s fortunes began to decline as the auto industry faced intensifying competition and some manufacturers moved operations overseas to cut costs. This led to population loss from the city.

  • In 1967, a deadly riot broke out in Detroit as the economy continued to slump amid corruption, crime, and unemployment. The city’s decline was depicted in films like Robocop.

  • By 2013, Detroit had sunk so deeply into debt that it declared bankruptcy, the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history up to that point. Its population fell to less than a third of what it was in the 1950s.

  • Other US industrial cities like Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo also experienced significant decline in the latter half of the 20th century, earning the region the name “Rust Belt.” Manufacturing employment declined sharply across developed nations as well.

  • While industrialization initially boosted living standards through technological advancement and human capital formation, reliance on low-skilled industries eventually stifled growth in these areas as skills and job opportunities shifted elsewhere. This political and economic decline impacted national politics.

So in summary, Detroit and other industrial cities and regions fell into decline as manufacturing sectors shifted overseas and skills/jobs transitioned to other growing industries, hollowing out communities formerly reliant on low-skilled manufacturing jobs.

  • Global fertility rates have declined sharply over recent decades, from 6.6 to 4.8 globally between 1970-2016. Rates fell even more in some regions/countries.

  • China’s rate dropped from 5.7 to 1.6 largely due to its one-child policy, and India’s fell from 5.9 to 2.3.

  • Fertility rates in most developed countries like Germany, Italy and Japan have fallen below replacement levels, meaning their populations are expected to shrink without migration.

  • These declining birth rates, combined with rapid economic growth, have led to a dramatic improvement in living standards worldwide. The proportion of people living below the poverty line (defined as $1.90/day) dropped sharply globally from nearly 40% in the 1970s/80s to about 10% today.

  • Life expectancy has risen globally from 47 years in 1953 to 71 years in 2015, while infant mortality rates have also declined sharply.

  • However, population growth and rising incomes/consumption have significantly increased environmental degradation, especially through carbon emissions driving global warming. This poses a major threat going forward if not addressed.

  • The passage discusses the development of humanity over millions of years from early humans in East Africa to modern globalized civilization.

  • Key factors included growing brain capabilities, technology development, population growth, agriculture, and the emergence of cities and civilizations.

  • For most of history, technological progress enabled population growth in a reinforcing cycle, but living standards did not meaningfully improve due to the “poverty trap” of population outpacing resources.

  • The Industrial Revolution marked a tipping point where rapid technological change demanded a skilled workforce. This drove demographic transition - lower child mortality and fertility led to smaller families and investment in education.

  • Demographic transition severed the link between growth and birth rates, allowing prosperity to rise permanently rather than temporarily. Living standards dramatically improved across measures like income, life expectancy, and reduced child labor over the past 200 years.

  • However, industrialization also triggered climate change, raising questions about sustainability. But continued innovation and fertility decline may have the potential to remedy this through development of new technologies.

  • There is a vast disparity in living standards between rich developed nations and poor developing countries, as seen in gaps in life expectancy, education, nutrition, and income per capita. This leads millions to risk their lives migrating to developed countries.

  • Differences in incomes partly reflect variations in labor productivity, which is higher in countries with more advanced technologies and skilled workers. But why do some countries have more/better technologies and skills?

  • Previous theories focused on the role of accumulating physical capital (machines, tools) in driving growth. But this can only boost growth temporarily without improvements in technologies and skills.

  • Solow’s growth model predicts that over time, income gaps between countries should narrow as poorer countries accumulate more capital initially. However, technological progress is needed to sustain long-term growth.

  • So the root causes of inequality likely lie deeper - in factors influencing the development and adoption of new technologies as well as educational and skill levels among populations. The chapter will explore this further.

  • Per capita incomes have diverged rather than converged across countries since 1850, with developed nations’ incomes growing faster than developing nations.

  • In the 19th century, international trade expanded significantly due to industrialization in Northwest Europe and colonialism. Developed nations exported manufactured goods while developing nations exported raw materials and agricultural goods.

  • This asymmetric trade pattern contributed to divergent development. In developed nations, trade gains went to education/skills which increased incomes. In developing nations, trade incentivized low-skilled agriculture, limiting education investment and delaying demographic transition.

  • Colonization also helped developed nations industrialize faster by providing cheap raw materials and captive markets. This widened the technological and education gaps between industrialized and non-industrialized economies over time.

  • Examples of divergent development due to asymmetric trade impacts include the UK/India relationship in the 19th century, where India transitioned from textile exporter to raw material supplier as the UK increased demand for skilled labor and education.

  • So globalization and colonialism contributed to the enduring wealth divergence between nations over the past two centuries through their uneven effects on skills, education and demographics.

  • A satellite image of the Korean Peninsula at night clearly shows the disparity between North and South Korea, with South glowing brightly and North largely in darkness.

  • This is not due to geographic or cultural differences, as Koreans historically shared a common culture. Rather, it stems from divergent political and economic institutions after WWII partition.

  • North Korea’s poverty results from restrictive political institutions limiting freedoms and inefficient central planning. South Korea developed more inclusive institutions enabling trade, entrepreneurship and prosperity.

  • Historically, societies needed formal institutions like property rights and contract enforcement to facilitate large-scale trade as they grew complex. Those developing pro-trade institutions earlier benefited from economic growth.

  • Extractive institutions concentrating power in elites tend to stunt growth by hindering investment, education and enterprise. Inclusive institutions decentralizing power and protecting rights have reinforced human capital and technology, aiding transitions to sustained growth.

  • However, extractive regimes have occasionally orchestrated major reforms in response to external threats, showing such institutions are not always detrimental at every development stage.

  • While South Korea transitioned to democracy in 1987, it enjoyed impressive economic growth for decades under dictatorship by adopting private property, agrarian reforms, and decentralizing power. North Korea centralized power and nationalized property/land, lagging economically.

  • Non-democratic regimes in Chile, Singapore, Taiwan also spurred growth through promoting investment, technology, and markets. However, inclusive political/economic institutions have generally been better for long-term growth.

  • Britain’s unique institutions from the Glorious Revolution of 1689 protected property rights, encouraged enterprise, and promoted equality/growth. This contributed to the conditions for its Industrial Revolution.

  • Reforms weakened monopolies, raised taxes on landowners, invested trade gains into development. Financial reforms expanded credit and government credibility. Earlier reforms after the Black Death also decentralized power. comparatively weaker British guilds enabled more innovation.

Here are the key points summarized from the passage:

  • Institutions have a profound impact on long-term economic development and prosperity. Examples like the early Industrial Revolution in Britain and differences between North and South Korea demonstrate this.

  • However, it’s difficult to disentangle whether strong institutions cause growth or economic growth leads to better institutions. Other factors could also explain the correlation.

  • Historical events like Spanish conquests in South America and French occupations in Prussia provide “natural experiments” to study the impact of abrupt institutional changes. Regions subjected to extractive institutions like the mita system in Peru or more inclusive institutions in occupied Prussia experienced long-term effects on development.

  • The legacy of colonialism also influenced long-term development in former colonies. Countries that adopted the common law system of British colonies tended to prosper more than those under civil law systems of other European powers.

  • Climate and crops grown also impacted colonial institutions. Plantation economies in regions suited for crops like sugar promoted unequal land ownership and inhibited growth after colonization.

So in summary, the passage examines the relationship between institutions and long-term economic development through various historical examples and debates the direction of causality. It suggests institutions can have profound and persistent effects revealed through events inducing abrupt institutional changes.

  • Colonial institutions varied significantly depending on geographical factors like population density and disease environments in different colonies.

  • Colonies with dense populations and high mortality diseases tended to form extractive institutions that exploited local populations, while colonies with sparser populations and lower disease rates formed more inclusive institutions to attract European settlers.

  • This helped shape the different economic trajectories of former colonies, though the disease environments and human capital of settlers also likely played confounding roles.

  • Pre-existing institutions also influenced development in some cases, like ethnic groups in Africa being more shaped by pre-colonial institutions than colonial national borders.

  • Critical junctures like wars, disease outbreaks, or authoritarian leaders can occasionally cause divergent institutional reforms that impact long-term development. But institutions typically evolve gradually in response to long-term pressures over centuries, not random events.

  • European institutions may have developed more conducive to growth due to factors like responses to dense populations and commercialization, rather than arbitrary or random causes alone. This helped spur technological progress and the Industrial Revolution first in Europe.

  • Cultural traits like values, norms and beliefs can significantly impact a society’s development process. Aspects of culture that promote things like strong family ties, trust, investment in human capital are conducive to economic growth.

  • Judaism provides an example where a cultural trait of universal literacy emerged spontaneously but endured and had long-lasting impacts. In the 1st century BCE, Jewish sages promoted literacy which was challenging at the time.

  • After events like the Great Revolt against Rome in 66 CE, branches of Judaism that didn’t emphasize literacy died out. The dominant Pharisees encouraged mass education. Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi in the 3rd century also emphasized literacy.

  • This helped strengthen Judaism after defeats and induced poorer families to adopt literacy and not abandon Judaism. So the cultural trait of literacy persisted in Judaism and likely contributed to their long-term success and economic prosperity.

  • In summary, cultural traits can significantly impact development, like aspects promoting education. Judaism shows how a cultural trait emerged but endured through cultural sanctions and leadership, shaping the society long-term.

  • Over centuries, the expulsion of Jews from their homeland and bans on land ownership in diaspora areas made investing in human capital (education) especially attractive for Jews. As cities grew in the Muslim world and Europe, demand increased for educated workers, further enhancing the value of literacy.

  • Cultural norms can appear randomly but survive based on adaptive advantages. Jewish and Protestant literacy norms may not have taken hold without initial promotion, but economic benefits reinforced their persistence.

  • Societies develop different norms to adapt to local environments. While diversity exists, cultures often view their own norms as universal, which sometimes justified exploitation of others.

  • Norms encouraging cooperation, future-orientation, and trust arose where helpful and persisted. Technological change then spurred a “culture of growth” emphasizing progress over tradition via the Enlightenment.

  • However, cultural inertia makes rapid change difficult as traits evolved more slowly than environments. While biological traits can maladapt, cultural transmission horizontality allows faster re-evaluation than genetics.

  • Economic development in Italy has differed between the northern and southern regions, despite Italy being a unified country since 1871. The south has lower income per capita than the north.

  • In 1958, Edward Banfield attributed the south’s lower prosperity to stronger family ties reducing cooperation and trust outside the family. Recent evidence supports this, showing differences in family bonds, social trust, and mobility across Italian regions.

  • Robert Putnam later argued these differences emerged from history - the north had more democratic institutions after casting off the Holy Roman Empire, while the feudal south was dominated by kings and the Mafia.

  • Putnam said “social capital” - traits like trust and civic engagement - was critical for democracy. The north had higher social capital from its earlier independence, shown today in voter rates and donations.

  • Social capital also affects economic factors like financial participation. Italians retain influences from their ancestral home regions.

  • Cultural traits can persist for centuries due to institutions from the distant past still impacting present societies. Effects of history are seen elsewhere, like in areas once ruled by the Habsburg or Ottoman Empires.

  • The slave trade in Africa also left lasting impacts, as interpersonal trust differs between affected and spared areas over 100 years later. Migrant cultural traits also persist to some extent across generations.

The passage discusses how cultural norms, institutions, and technology have interacted and evolved over time in a virtuous cycle. Geographic factors played a key role in shaping this evolution in different societies.

In particular, landscape fragmentation in Europe fostered competition between states that accelerated cultural, institutional and technological progress. In contrast, more centralized empires like China and the Ottoman Empire could more easily impede innovations. Lack of domesticated livestock in central Africa due to tsetse flies and mosquitos spreading diseases like malaria also held back development in that region.

While geographic factors influenced trajectories, cultural transformations also made societies’ institutions more conducive to technological change. This created a self-reinforcing cycle where cultural norms spurred progress, which then encouraged further adaptive cultural evolution. However, why certain growth-enhancing cultures emerged in some places but not others remains a puzzle. Geography was important but did not wholly determine outcomes - human diversity and chance events also played roles.

Geographical conditions influence the types of institutions that form in different colonies and persist today. Tropical climates and fertile soils in places like Central America, the Caribbean, and parts of South America made large plantations and slave labor highly efficient for crop cultivation. This led to highly extractive and exploitative institutions during colonial times, like slavery and coerced labor. When these colonies gained independence, local elites maintained these growth-hindering extractive institutions to benefit from economic and political disparities. Fertile, pre-Columbian civilized areas where colonial powers set up extractive administrative systems in order to exploit large indigenous populations were also indirectly influenced by geography, as population densities were higher in agriculturally productive regions. This contributed to slower development paths over time. Geography also affected the viability of asymmetric trade during the colonial era, fueling highly extractive institutions like slavery and hindering development in raw material-rich regions of Africa and the Americas targeted for this trade. The long-term effects of these geography-influenced institutions persist in economic underdevelopment today. Deeper than these indirect impacts, geography directly shapes cultural traditions through evolutionary processes.

  • Long-term orientation and propensity to save/adopt technologies differs between countries and influenced economic growth. Higher crop yields in a region’s early history likely led to a more long-term oriented culture through reinforcing the value of delaying consumption for future gains. Regions with higher yielding crops like Europe and Asia developed more long-term outlooks.

  • Gender roles also impacted economic development. Boserup hypothesized agricultural practices influenced gender divisions of labor. Use of the plow, requiring upper body strength, led to men dominating plowing and women limiting to housework. Regions using hoes/rakes saw more shared farm work between genders. Plow use areas developed less egalitarian gender roles persisting today.

  • Loss aversion, the tendency to weigh losses more than gains, influences entrepreneurship and economic growth. The origins of this could also be traced to influences of a region’s geography on survival strategies in the past.

Here are the key points about how geographic and climatic environments shaped human societies and cultural traits:

  • For most of history, human productivity barely supported subsistence levels due to risks from adverse climatic conditions like droughts and famines. Risk of catastrophic loss from climate fluctuations posed an existential threat.

  • Evolutionary adaptation favored more loss-averse cultures that prioritized avoiding losses over potential gains, to guard against extinction from climate risks. Loss aversion emerged as a cultural trait through this adaptation process.

  • Areas with more volatile climates that varied regionally, like the imaginary continent “Volatilia,” could withstand severe weather in some areas and allowed risk-taking cultures to survive occasional catastrophes. This led to less loss-averse cultures predominant in more volatile regions over time.

  • More uniform climates that affected entire populations equally, like the imaginary continent “Uniformia,” risked wiping out risk-taking cultures entirely if severe weather struck. This contributed to more loss-averse cultures in regions with more uniform climates.

  • Linguistic traits also co-evolved with cultures and environmental conditions. For example, Arctic groups have richer vocabularies for types of snow; languages distinguish or conflate colors depending on ambient light conditions.

  • Cultural attitudes around gender roles, social hierarchies, and time orientation emerged linked to geographic influences like suitability for plow agriculture, ecological diversity fostering trade, and crop regimes rewarding future investment. Related linguistic structures may have reinforced and perpetuated those cultural tendencies.

So in summary, geographic and climatic factors profoundly shaped human cultures and behaviors, including risk attitudes and linguistic conventions, as adaptations emerged through population-level selection pressures over long periods of history.

  • The periphrastic future tense, which uses auxiliary words like “will” or “going to” to indicate future intentions, emerged earlier in places conducive to farming and long-term planning.

  • Linguists argue this tense reflects a greater inclination towards long-term thinking and determination about future actions.

  • Societies that use the periphrastic future tense tend to have higher long-term orientation - their people save more, have higher education levels, smoke less, have lower obesity, and higher incomes.

  • Areas suitable for farming, like the Fertile Crescent, saw an earlier emergence of agriculture starting over 11,000 years ago. This gave early civilizations a technological head start.

  • The Fertile Crescent had many domesticable plants and animals, unlike other areas, making the transition to farming easier there.

  • Eurasia’s east-west orientation also facilitated the spread of farming technologies across similar climates, unlike Africa/Americas.

  • This compounding agricultural advantage contributed to Eurasian civilizations’ substantial head start in technological development.

  • The emergence of agriculture and sedentary living led to the rise of non-food producing classes who created new knowledge and technology. This advance eventually led to the establishment of early cities, architectural wonders, bronze/steel working, and writing systems.

  • Agricultural societies were also exposed to new diseases from domesticated animals which caused epidemics initially but contributed to stronger immunities over the long run.

  • When Europeans encountered the Americas, their germs ahead the conquest and killed many indigenous people who lacked immunity. The same pattern played out in other regions as agricultural civilizations displaced hunter-gatherers.

  • Early farming societies in places like Mesopotamia and Egypt transitioned to chiefdoms and hierarchical structures as populations grew. This required tax collection and centralized decision making to fund infrastructure and public goods.

  • The type of crops native to a region influenced how political structures developed. For example, Egypt grew wheat and barley which supported larger populations and more complex societies compared to places like New Guinea.

So in summary, the emergence of agriculture enabled population growth but also transmission of diseases. It drove the spread of cultures as farming groups displaced others. Larger populations then transitioned to chiefdoms and states through centralized coordination supported by taxation.

  • During the agricultural stage of development, taxes were largely paid in crops. Grains were easier to measure, transport, store and tax than crops like tubers and roots. Regions suitable for growing grains were more likely to develop complex hierarchical societies and states.

  • Structured polities could fund armies, provide public services, impose law and order, invest in human capital and enforce contracts, all of which fostered technological progress and economic growth. The type of crops a region could grow influenced the development of states, knowledge creation and technology.

  • However, the early agricultural regions like the Fertile Crescent are not necessarily the most prosperous today. While an earlier start in agriculture provided benefits initially, those advantages decreased over time as economic importance shifted from agriculture to industry and trade. Specialization in farming hindered urbanization and technological progress compared to areas that industrialized later.

  • Abrupt cultural and institutional changes played a role but are unlikely to be the ultimate factors underlying global inequality over thousands of years. Geography influenced development by shaping crops, conflicts between societies, population densities and the emergence of early civilizations. But human diversity must also be considered to fully understand the patterns of development.

  • When African Americans migrated north in large numbers during the 1900s to escape racism and discrimination in the South, it led to increased interaction and integration with white Americans in urban areas.

  • However, this integration was plagued by ongoing racism and inequality. Despite this, the coming together of African American and white musical traditions gave rise to rock and roll music in the mid-20th century.

  • Rock and roll emerged from the collaboration and cultural borrowing between these two groups. African and European instruments, rhythms, and musical styles combined to create something new.

  • While cultural fusion like this can spur creativity and progress, societal diversity has also often led to conflict, as seen in racial riots that broke out in Detroit and other cities during this time period.

  • Ethnic and racial conflict has been a recurring theme throughout US history as the population has grown more diverse through immigration and population changes. Diversity can have both positive and negative impacts on social cohesion and economic development.

  • An intermediate level of diversity may be best for fostering economic prosperity, as both too much and too little diversity can hinder productivity in different ways. Managing diversity to promote tolerance and avoid conflict is important.

  • As modern humans migrated further from Africa over tens of thousands of years, their populations became progressively less genetically and culturally diverse. Those who remained closest to East Africa maintained the highest levels of diversity.

  • This phenomenon can be seen by measuring various physical, linguistic and cultural traits across indigenous populations around the world. Traits related to body shape, language phonemes, etc. show declining diversity with greater migratory distance from East Africa.

  • To properly study the impact of diversity on economic prosperity, an index was constructed based on ancestral migratory distances from Africa. This captures predicted overall diversity by accounting for subgroup size, within-subgroup diversity, and between-subgroup diversity within each nation.

  • Using this index reveals a “hump-shaped” relationship between population diversity and various measures of economic development, both historically and currently. Intermediate diversity levels have generally been most conducive to prosperity.

  • This relationship is unique to migratory distance from Africa and diversity - other distances are not correlated. It suggests diversity has both benefits and costs for societal cooperation and outcomes over the long run.

  • Greater social diversity can foster economic development by increasing the pool of skills, ideas, and problem-solving approaches, which fuels specialization, innovation, and adaptation to change. However, diversity can also introduce inefficiencies in providing public goods and reduce social cohesion.

  • Studies have found that moderate levels of diversity have historically correlated with higher economic development, as measured by population density, urbanization rate, income, and luminosity. The optimal level of diversity for development has increased over time as technologies advance.

  • China’s relative homogeneity may have delayed its transition to modern economic growth compared to more diverse European societies. Diversity is now most advantageous at levels found in countries like the US.

  • About a quarter of income variation between nations can be attributed to societal diversity, compared to factors like geography, disease environment, culture, and political institutions.

  • While diversity influences development, it is not deterministic. Policies shaping inclusion, tolerance, education, and mobility can leverage diversity’s benefits and mitigate its costs. Outcomes also depend on unique historical and institutional factors in each country.

  • Modern inequalities have deep roots in initial conditions like geography and diversity that influenced institutions, culture, and technological progress over centuries as societies developed along different trajectories. These initial advantages and disadvantages persist due to inertia in human mobility and cultural change.

  • During World War 2, indigenous people on the Pacific island of Tanna witnessed the military might and cargo of Japan and the US through their bases and planes. This left a lasting impression.

  • When the troops left, the islanders tried to imitate aspects of the bases like mock airfields and parades, hoping to recreate the wealth and cargo. This reflects how developing nations superficially imitate Western institutions without considering underlying conditions.

  • Washington Consensus reforms of privatization, trade liberalization, etc. had limited success in generating growth as they ignored cultural and institutional differences between developed and developing nations.

  • Deep-rooted geographic, institutional and cultural factors over millennia have caused divergence in development trajectories and wealth between nations. Colonialism also exacerbated inequalities.

  • Going back 12,000 years, geographic advantages led to earlier agricultural revolutions in some places, giving a long-term technological head start. However, this advantage dissipated with industrialization.

  • Today on Tanna, there is a real airport and tourism provides revenue, though incomes remain modest. Despite history, the fate of nations is not set in stone as modern technologies reduce the impact of geography on development.

The passage summarizes that the forces that have governed humanity’s journey continue to shape the future, and that measures promoting education, innovation, gender equality, pluralism and respect for differences hold the key to universal prosperity. Despite conflicts and catastrophes throughout history, technological progress and declining population growth have continuously improved living standards over the long run. While global inequality remains, understanding the historical origins of wealth and inequality can empower better policies to alleviate poverty and spread prosperity worldwide. Recognizing our common historical roots can help humanity design a shared future of continued progress.

Here are the key points summarized from the provided text:

  • The theoretical foundations of the book were presented in lecture series at various universities from 2000-2015, including Kiel, St Gallen, Warwick, Naples, Jerusalem, Ben-Gurion University, Luxembourg, Porto, Science Po, Copenhagen, and the IMF Training Program.

  • The author benefited from collaborating with Ori Katz on an earlier Hebrew version of the book published in 2020. The current English version has been entirely transformed based on comments from various researchers.

  • The author is grateful for their literary agent Jennifer Joel for comments and editing that improved the book’s quality and appeal. Publishers Will Hammond and John Parsley further transformed the book’s scope and wider appeal. Hammond’s editing and debates impacted the quality and technical presentation.

  • References are provided for numerous academic conferences and meetings where related research has been presented, including the Korean Economic Association (Seoul, 2008), DEGIT conferences in Rome, Vienna and Mexico City from 2000-2005, and Annual T2M Conferences in Paris from 2000.

So in summary, it outlines the intellectual lineage and review process that helped develop and improve the theoretical foundations and empirical evidence presented in the book.

Here is a summary of the key articles:

  • Becker 1976: Examined the relationship between fertility, living standards, and parenthood choices. Found education negatively affects desired family size.

  • Becker 2017: Conducted district-level analysis of Brexit vote, finding nationalism/ xenophobia motives more important than economic insecurity.

  • Becker 2016: Found long-run persistence of trust and corruption levels from historical institutions, even after institutional reforms.

  • Becker 2010: Analyzed trade-off between fertility and female education prior to demographic transition. Education reduced fertility.

  • Becker 2009: Argued Protestant beliefs encouraged literacy, education and work ethic, fueling economic growth in Western Europe.

  • Bellwood et al. 2006: Provided historical and comparative perspectives on the Austronesians peoples.

  • Benhabib & Spiegel 2005: Discussed how human capital and technology diffusion interact to drive economic growth.

  • Bennett et al. 2021: Presented evidence of human occupation in North America during the last ice age.

  • Other articles discussed topics like the effects of institutions, language, climate, agriculture, trade, culture, and more on economic development, demography, human variation and migrations over history.

Here is a summary of the article:

This list references over 100 articles from various economists and anthropologists that discuss topics related to economic growth, development, and anthropology from 2011-2022. Many of the articles reference theories and empirical work by economist Oded Galor, including his unified growth theory which provides a framework for analyzing the interplay between physiological, technological, and institutional factors that have shaped human history and economic development. Other major themes covered in the articles include the demographic transition, the rise of agriculture and industrialization, the impact of institutions and culture on growth, the role of trade and globalization, human capital formation, and the effects of geography, climate and natural resources on development outcomes. Many articles apply quantitative economic tools and historical data to better understand long-run trends in living standards, inequality, technological change, population growth and other factors important for development. Overall, the list covers a wide range of perspectives and theoretical frameworks within the fields of economics and anthropology focused on issues surrounding long-term economic growth and development.

Here are summaries of the papers:

  • Galor, Oded, Ömer Özak and Assaf Sarid, ‘Linguistic Traits and Human Capital Formation’, AEA Papers and Proceedings, Vol. 110 (2020), 309–13. Finds a positive relationship between language complexity and human capital formation.

  • Galor, Oded, and Harl E. Ryder, ‘Existence, uniqueness, and stability of equilibrium in an overlapping-generations model with productive capital’, Journal of Economic Theory 49, no. 2 (1989): 360–75. Analyzes equilibrium in an overlapping generations model with productive capital.

  • Galor, Oded, and Viacheslav Savitskiy, ‘Climatic Roots of Loss Aversion’, Working Papers 2018-1, Brown University analyzes how climate shaped loss aversion preferences.

  • Several other papers by Galor and co-authors analyze topics like technological progress, mobility, economic growth, distribution of human capital, population growth, gender gaps, income distribution, and more.

  • Gates, Bill, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster discusses solutions to climate change.

  • Several papers analyze topics like culture persistence, evolution of farming, institutions and growth, legal origins, history of education, gender gaps, technology and women’s employment, and more.

  • Most papers discuss topics related to economics, growth, development, institutions, culture, population, technology, education, and history. Many analyze long term trends and use economic modeling and empirical analysis.

Here is a summary of the provided sources:

  • Ori (2018) examines how railroads contributed to economic development and the demographic transition in the US.

  • Kendi (2016) provides a definitive history of racist ideas in America from the beginning.

  • Kettlewell (1955) discusses selection experiments on industrial melanism in Lepidoptera.

  • Keynes (1971) contains a tract by Keynes on monetary reform originally published in 1923.

  • Klasing and Milionis (2020) analyze the relationship between the international epidemiological transition and the education gender gap.

  • Klemp (2012) examines prices, wages and fertility in pre-Industrial England.

  • Klemp and Weisdorf (2019) study the relationship between fecundity, fertility and human capital formation.

  • Kline and Boyd (2010) find a connection between population size and technological complexity in Oceania.

  • Kremer (1993) discusses population growth and technological change between 1 million BC to 1990.

  • Krupnik and Müller-Wille (2010) examine Franz Boas’ Inuktitut terminology for ice and snow.

  • Kuhn (1957) analyzes the Copernican Revolution and its impact on Western thought.

  • Kuznets (1967) studies long-term trends in the structure and level of foreign trade.

  • La Porta et al (1997) examine the legal determinants of external finance.

  • Lagerlöf (2003, 2006) studies the impact of gender equality and the Galor-Weil model of economic growth.

Here is a summary of the key sources:

  • Nunn (2008) examines the long-term economic impacts of Africa’s slave trades, finding negative effects on populations, agriculture and institutions.

  • Nunn and Puga (2012) argue that Africa’s rugged terrain was a “blessing in disguise” as it hindered the spread of diseases and conflicts.

  • Nunn and Wantchekon (2011) find that areas more affected by the slave trades have lower levels of trust today.

  • Nunziata and Rocco (2016, 2018) analyze how Protestant minorities in Europe had higher rates of entrepreneurship due to their religious ethics.

  • OECD (2017) provides data on life expectancy around the world.

  • Olsson and Hibbs (2005) study how geography and climate impacted long-run economic development.

  • Piketty (2018) examines the growth and distribution of wealth in modern capitalist economies.

  • Popper (1945) defends open, democratic societies and is critical of totalitarian regimes.

  • Roser et al (2019) provide data on world population growth and life expectancy trends over time.

  • Sachs (2012) argues that geography, not policies, were the primary drivers of economic growth and development.

This covers some of the key sources cited that discuss topics like the impacts of Africa’s slave trades, the role of geography in development, and analyses of wealth, population trends and political systems over time. Let me know if you need a summary of any other specific sources.

Here are summaries of the selected sources:

  • E. Stuart, ‘The Significance of Food Storage among Hunter-Gatherers: Residence Patterns, Population Densities, and Social Inequalities’, Current Anthropology 23, no. 5 (1982): 523–37.

Stuart examines the role of food storage in hunter-gatherer societies and its impact on residence patterns, population densities, and social inequalities. Food storage allowed for more sedentary lifestyles and larger group sizes.

  • Tversky, Amos, and Daniel Kahneman, ‘Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model’, The Quarterly Journal of Economics 106, no. 4 (1991): 1039–61.

Tversky and Kahneman propose a reference-dependent model of choice where people evaluate outcomes relative to a reference point and perceive losses more strongly than gains of the same amount, known as loss aversion. This helps explain risk aversion in choices involving sure gains and losses.

  • United Nations reports on world population prospects (2017) and human development (2018). The reports present global data and analyses on topics of population trends and human development.

  • US Census Bureau/Congress report on historical statistics of the US from colonial times to 1970. The report compiles extensive demographic and economic statistics on American history.

  • Vallin and Meslé report on French mortality tables from the 19th-20th centuries with projections for the 21st century. The report analyzes French mortality trends over time.

  • Vaquero and Gallego report on two early observations of aurora at low latitudes based on historical records. They discuss sightings of northern lights further south than typically seen.

  • Remaining summaries focus on various topics related to human evolution, population growth, economic development, mortality trends, and other historical and demographic factors. The sources include academic articles, reports and other documents presenting research and data on these topics.

Here is a summary of the notes from E 28:

  • Chapter 3 discusses how population growth was stimulated by improvements in health and nutrition during the Neolithic Revolution and Industrial Revolution. It cites several papers analyzing the demographic and economic effects of these transitions.

  • Chapter 4 focuses on the technological and institutional changes during the Industrial Revolution that drove economic growth, including innovations, literacy expansion, education reforms, and reductions in child labor. It provides data sources and references dozens of papers on these topics.

  • Chapter 5 analyzes the demographic transition to lower fertility rates. It explores the factors like increases in women’s education and opportunity costs that changed family size preferences after industrialization. Data on historical fertility declines are cited.

  • Chapter 6 presents data showing improvements in global health, life expectancy, and living standards in recent centuries. It discusses the contributions of public health, medicine, and economic development to these gains.

  • Chapter 7 briefly discusses persisting global inequality and poverty challenges despite overall gains from globalization. It references theories of economic growth and papers analyzing development bottlenecks across countries.

So in summary, the notes provide detailed references and context supporting the book’s examination of humanity’s economic and demographic history from prehistoric to modern times. A wide range of scholarly literature is synthesized across multiple topics.

Here are summaries of the references:

omas (1986) - Examined the agricultural productivity growth in Europe from 1000-1800 AD.

O’Rourke and Williamson (1999) - Argued that globalization began in the 19th century through declining trade costs which had significant economic effects.

Pomeranz (2000) - Challenged Eurocentric views of the industrial revolution by arguing that Europe and East Asia experienced similar economic developments up to 1800.

Andrews (2021) - Discusses how European colonial exploitation impacted development in colonized regions over centuries.

Mokyr (1989) - Analyzed the role of useful knowledge and technological change in powering the industrial revolution.

Kuznets (1967) - Found an empirical relationship between economic development and social transformation known as the “Kuznets curve.”

Galor and Mountford (2008) - Developed an integrated growth model to explain the transition from Malthusian to modern growth during the industrial revolution.

Bignon and García-Peñalosa (2016) - Built on Galor and Mountford (2008) by analyzing how savings reinforced the escape from the Malthusian trap.

Bairoch (1982) - Provided evidence that levels of urbanization were historically higher in many pre-industrial societies than previously thought.

Chaudhuri (1983) - Analyzed the integration of South Asia into global trade networks during the pre-colonial and early colonial eras.

Bairoch (1974, 1982) - Studied historical trends in international trade and found that global trade increased significantly prior to industrialization.

Matthews et al. (1982) - Analyzed growing economic specialization and intra-industry trade between Western Europe and the United States in the 19th century.

Basu (1974) - Studied trends in living standards in British India during the colonial period, finding large declines from the early 19th century.

Morris (2010) - Argued that the Industrial Revolution was made possible by rising standards of living over many centuries prior.

Here is a summary of the key points from CE 18:

  • References Galor and Mountford (2006, 2008) who developed a unified growth theory model incorporating Malthusian and post-Malthusian regimes.

  • Cites Acemoglu and Robinson (2012), Mokyr (2016), and Hoffman (2017) regarding institutions and technological change as drivers of economic growth.

  • Notes chapter 12 discusses the “Out of Africa” dispersal of modern humans.

  • Cites Palmer (1992) regarding Paleolithic subsistence patterns.

  • Cites Ridley (2012) on human genetic diversity and cognitive traits.

  • References Ottaviano and Peri (2006) and Lee (2015) on the economic effects of immigration.

  • Cites Delis et al. (2017) on the persistence of ethnic diversity.

  • References Cook and Fletcher (2018) on the evolution of trust and sociality.

  • Cites Alesina et al. (2003) and Ramos-Toro (2017) on the economic effects of ethnic diversity.

  • References Easterly and Levine (1997) on the role of geography in development outcomes.

  • Cites several sources (Harpending and Rogers (2000); Ramachandran et al. (2005); etc.) on human genetic diversity and population history.

  • Provides a summary of the key ideas presented in CE 18 regarding models of economic growth, the origins and dispersal of modern humans, and the role of institutions, technology, and diversity in economic development.

Here is a summary of the key points in the provided text:

  • China saw significant coal mining in the late 19th century, around 181-186. Collectivism was also practiced in China around 1900.

  • China experienced dictatorship under Mao Zedong’s rule starting in 1946. China is a very diverse country both culturally and linguistically, as discussed from 226-229.

  • Education and literacy rates have grown significantly in China since the early 1900s. Fertility rates dropped sharply starting in the late 1970s with the one-child policy.

  • Some important technological developments in China include gunpowder in the 5th century, printing in the 10th century, and continued advancement in the 18th-19th centuries as China industrialized. Writing developed extensively in China by the 24th century BC.

  • Other topics mentioned include China’s various regions and industries, economic growth over the past few decades, introduction of New World crops in the 16th century, and the role of agriculture in China’s Neolithic period starting around 6000 BC.

  • France experienced the Black Death in 1348 which killed around a third of the population. Colonialism expanded French territories significantly from the 16th century.

  • Education in France developed significantly from the 12th century onward, with schools, universities and literacy rates growing over time. Industrialization occurred in France in the 19th century.

  • Geography influenced head starts and competition within Europe. Coastal areas like Genoa had advantages over landlocked regions.

  • Institutions are deeply shaped by both geography and colonial history. Inclusive political and economic systems tend to develop in areas with strong competition, while extractive institutions arose in less competitive environments or through colonialism.

  • Cultural traits like individualism, future orientation and loss aversion vary significantly across populations and correlate with geography, institutions and other factors. Language similarities and differences also relate to geography.

  • Throughout history, innovations in technology, agriculture, industry and more have driven major changes in living standards, population growth and economic development globally. Education, human capital investment, inclusive institutions and other policies influence the ability of populations to adapt and advance.

Here are the key points from the passages:

Judaism and Protestant Reformation: Both religions impacted cultural traits like literacy rates, numeracy, attitudes towards work and leisure. The Protestant Reformation in particular promoted cultural traits that supported industrialization.

Ottoman Empire: It fragmented political authority in some of its former territories, like the Balkans, making institutional change after its collapse more challenging compared to other European states.

Living standards: Living standards improved drastically from the Malthusian era starting in the late 18th century due to technological progress in agriculture, industry, public health, transportation and communication. However, standards of living were diverse across populations and regions due to different starting points and rates of change.

Literature: The emergence of complex modern societies supported growth in artistic and literary works starting in the late medieval period.

Livestock: Agricultural specialization including livestock played a key role in improving productivity starting in the late medieval period in parts of Europe and China.

Population: The transition from high mortality/fertility to low mortality/fertility, known as the demographic transition, was a major factor supporting long run economic growth starting in the late 19th century. However, population composition and dynamics varied significantly across populations and regions.

London: It grew significantly in the late medieval/early modern period, highlighting the clustering of economic activity even before industrialization.

Neolithic Revolution: The development of agriculture, starting around 12,000 years ago, supported unprecedented population growth but also cultural/technological changes. Societies with earlier adoption had a “head start” advantage over others.

  • Discusses various historical civilizations, empires, and events such as ancient Rome, the Roman Empire, the Black Death, industrial revolution.

  • Covers topics in world history like colonialism in South America, Africa, Asia; Neolithic revolution; spread of agriculture, technologies, religions.

  • Mentions influential individuals like Adam Smith, James Watt, Alfred Russel Wallace.

  • Compares development outcomes across regions - income, living standards, health, education in places like UK, US, South Korea, sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Explains influences on economic growth like institutions, property rights, competition, trade, geography, resources, technologies, cultural factors, policies.

  • Discusses population trends, disease, urbanization, industrialization, conflict, migrations that shaped global development.

  • Touches on diverse themes - Neolithic transitions, role of institutions, technology diffusion, head starts, path dependence, concepts from economics and other social sciences.

In summary, it covers a wide range of world history, economic and development topics from various disciplinary lenses to understand global growth and inequality over time.

Here is a summary of the provided text:

The passage provides information about the author Oded Galor. It states that he is Herbert H. Goldberger Professor of Economics at Brown University. It notes that he is the founding thinker behind Unified Growth Theory, which seeks to uncover the fundamental causes of development, prosperity, and inequality over the entire span of human history. It mentions that he has shared the insights of his lifetime’s work in this field at some of the most prestigious lectures around the globe. Finally, it states that he has now distilled those discoveries into “The Journey of Humanity”, which is being published in twenty-eight languages worldwide.

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