Cash moves everything around me…
I listen to tons of pod casts, i’m the only one i know who does, and some times I have the strangest ideas and thoughts.
And I can firmly point the finger of blame to the random podcasts i listen to going to sleep or waking up, today was one of those days and I was cycling on a country road. I was thinking about the “Six killer apps of prosperity”
Through a podcast a few years ago, i was introduced to an economic historian called Niall Ferguson, i checked out one of his videos recently in relation to Six killer apps the western world had over Africa and Asia.
Niall like to connect the dots…
Introducing, “The Great Divergence“, apparently there is about 95,000 billion dollars of wealth in the world today. We know that most of that wealth was made after the year 1800. And we know that most of it is currently owned by people we might call Westerners: Europeans, North Americans, Australasians, nineteen percent of the world’s population today, Westerners own two-thirds of its wealth.
Apparently the west didn’t get rich because of empires, lots of empires existed before, and they weren’t able to generated the wealth has since 1800
So what happened?
Introducing… Ibrahim Muteferrika
Ibrahim Muteferrika, an Ottoman official, the man who introduced printing, very belatedly, to the Ottoman Empire — who said in a book published in 1731
“Why do Christian nations which were so weak in the past compared with Muslim nations begin to dominate so many lands in modern times and even defeat the once victorious Ottoman armies?“
Unlike Rasselas, Muteferrika had an answer to that question, which was correct.
He said it was “because they have laws and rules invented by reason.” It’s not geography.
The big six
He takes some great examples, like Germany, divide it up, one side will end up making a Trabant, the other will make a Mercedes
From the East
We took all the Germans, we divided them roughly in two, and we gave the ones in the East communism, and you see the result. Within an incredibly short period of time, people living in the German Democratic Republic produced Trabants, the Trabbi, one of the world’s worst ever cars, while people in the West produced the Mercedes Benz.
If you still don’t believe me, we conducted the experiment also in the Korean Peninsula. And we decided we’d take Koreans in roughly the same geographical place with, notice, the same basic traditional culture, and we divided them in two, and we gave the Northerners communism.
From the West
And the result is an even bigger divergence in a very short space of time than happened in Germany. Not a big divergence in terms of uniform design for border guards admittedly, but in almost every other respect, it’s a huge divergence.
Which leads me to think that neither geography nor national character, popular explanations for this kind of thing, are really significant.
How the west prospered