SUMMARY - Edible Economics - Ha-Joon Chang

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Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Anchovies are a small fish that have had an outsized culinary influence around the world. They are eaten in many forms and used to make fermented fish sauces that provide umami flavor.

  • Anchovies were the foundation for 19th century economic prosperity in Peru because they nourished seabird populations, whose guano was a highly valued fertilizer export.

  • The guano came from islands off the Peruvian coast that had huge numbers of seabirds due to the anchovies and other small fish they consumed. These fish flourished thanks to the Humboldt Current's upwelling of nutrients.

  • Anchovies thus fueled Peru's guano fertilizer boom through their place in the food chain. They enabled massive seabird populations, whose guano deposits were then mined and sold abroad as fertilizer.

  • The story illustrates the interconnectedness of ecology and economics - anchovies and seabirds transformed Peru's economy, even though anchovies themselves were not directly exported. Small details like anchovies can have big historical impacts.

    Here is a summary of the key points about dt ocean current:

  • The thermohaline circulation (THC) is a global ocean current driven by differences in temperature and salinity. It is sometimes called the ocean conveyor belt.

  • Cold, dense water sinks near the poles and flows along the ocean bottom towards the equator. Warm, less dense water flows along the surface from the equator to replace the sinking polar water. This creates a global circulatory system.

  • The THC helps distribute heat from the equator to the poles, regulating the Earth's climate. Disruptions to the THC could have severe climate impacts.

  • The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) is the Atlantic portion of the THC. Warm water flows northwards near the surface, releases heat, becomes denser and sinks, then flows southwards in the deep Atlantic.

  • The AMOC helps warm Northern Europe. Scientists think global warming may be slowing down the AMOC by making surface water less dense, which could cool Europe.

  • Salinity is a key driver of the THC/AMOC, as saltier water is denser. More rainfall and melting ice dilute ocean salinity, potentially weakening circulation.

  • The THC illustrates the interconnected nature of the global climate system. Small changes can ripple through and cause large disruptions. Understanding the THC helps predict climate change impacts.

    Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Ade', meaning traditional customs and norms in Amharic, still strongly shapes Ethiopian society and governance.

  • Powerful groups like the military and ruling party elites benefit from maintaining ade', as it justifies their dominance and suppresses dissent.

  • Reforms to modernize institutions and expand political freedoms threaten established power structures. So ade' is invoked to resist change and protect vested interests.

  • Democratic reforms in Ethiopia have occurred in fits and starts, meeting resistance from groups citing ade'. But public pressure has slowly opened up the political system.

  • While ade' is a real cultural force, it is also strategically invoked by elites to maintain their privilege. True democratization requires both respecting valid cultural norms and ensuring good governance and rights.

  • Ethiopia faces an ongoing struggle to balance ade', modernization, and democracy. But the trend is towards greater openness, despite resistance from powerful factions.

    Here is a summary of the key points about chocolate:

  • The author has loved chocolate since childhood, starting with smuggled M&M's in South Korea in the 1960s.

  • The author enjoys all types of chocolate - luxury chocolates, mass-market chocolate bars, cookies with chocolate chips, etc. Favorites include peanut varieties, chocolate with orange flavoring, and chocolate baked goods.

  • Chocolate originates from the cacao tree in Mesoamerica, where cacao beans were prized by the Aztecs and even used as currency.

  • Chocolate was brought to Europe from Mexico by the Spanish in the 16th century, initially as a drink. The first chocolate bar was created by Fry's of Bristol in 1847 using dark chocolate. Milk chocolate bars came later once the mildew problem was solved by Swiss inventors.

  • The passage expresses the author's lifelong love and addiction to chocolate in its diverse forms and varieties. It has been a beloved treat since childhood.

    Here is a summary of the key points:

  • The British Empire was the largest empire in history in terms of population. At its peak in the early 20th century, it had around 500 million people under its rule.

  • This was over 10 times the population of Britain itself, which was only around 46 million in 1938.

  • The vast size of the British Empire was built through conquest and colonization across Africa, Asia, North America, and Oceania over several centuries.

  • Managing an empire of this magnitude required impressive organizational capabilities by the British, such as defeating sailor scurvy and coordinating a global textile supply chain.

  • However, the imperial system also involved extensive brutality and exploitation, including the Atlantic slave trade.

  • The independence of Britain's colonies in the 20th century dismantled its vast empire and drastically reduced its total population. This decline was fueled by growing anti-colonial movements and Britain's weakened position after WW2.

  • In summary, the unprecedented 500 million person population of the British Empire reflected Britain's global dominance for centuries until the independence of its colonies dissolved this enormous global system.

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