Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Why The West Rules by Ian Morris

The full name of the book is Why The West Rules - For Now, The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future. If you want a great book that clearly explains social development of the West and the East. This is the book to get. As a study of the past, it is absolutely great. However, when Ian Morris tries to look into the future, his writing falls completely apart as he does such a poor job of it.

What Morris calls the West is the Middle East and Europe. What he calls the East is China. The West started to develop around 12,000 BCE, but then it was interrupted by the Younger Drayas. This is because the world got very cold. The theory is that the North American current got shut down because of an influx of fresh water came from the Great Lakes Area of Canada into what is now the St. Lawrence River. The theory states that this water had been held back by ice that suddenly broke. After 10,000 BCE, the West started to develop again.

Why did development start in the West? The main reason is that cereals come from wild grasses. And, there are 56 possible wild grasses, of which 32 grew in the wild in S.W. Asia and the Mediterranean basin. (Cereals are things like wheat, corn, barley, rice, sorghum etc.) Looking at the rest of the world, East Asia had 6, Central America 5, Africa, south of the Sahara 4, North America 2 and Western Europe 2 of these grasses.

The next item is the number of animals that could be domesticated. There are 14 animals that man has domesticated. Of these animals, 7 came from the Middle East and some of these are the most common ones of sheep, goat, cow and pig. East Asia had 5, South America had 1 and North America, Australia, and Africa had none.

So, the West got started in developing around 10,000 BCE and China around 8,000 BCE. The West had the lead until the Roman Empire fell around 550 CE. Then China lead in social development until around 1750 when it was over taken by North Western Europe. (Although I know, some people think that China started to decline before 1750 and because of this North Western Europe was ahead before this time.)

There other interesting thing is social development in the West. Except for the Roman Empire time, the most socially developed area was the Middle East until around 1400. It is around 1400 that the Europe started to develop ahead of the Middle East. By 1900, social development was advancing not only in North West Europe, but also on the North East coast of North America. By the year 2000, America had pulled ahead of the rest of the world.

If you want to know what is meant by social development, this book will explain it in detail. He gives his web site where he explains social development even further. See Ian Morris. See the biography of Ian Morris. See an interview video with Ian Morris. For a book review, see McClelland site.

On my website is how to find this book on Amazon if you care to purchase it. See Morris. Also, this book review and other books I have reviewed are on my website at Book Reviews.

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