Monday, September 04, 2006

History of the World

I finally finished "The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some Are So Poor" -- all 500 and some pages. That was a tough read. One night during the reading I wrote down all the words I didn't recognize with the intention of later going and looking them up. I haven't yet done that. The book was an interesting read... I can't really think of anyone I know who would read them with the exception of maybe Kevin, but it was really long.

In the end, I know a lot more about history and how those that have economic power in the world came to attain it. But I really don't know a lot more about why those who never made the leap didn't make it. To be sure, geography, natural resources, etc., could possibly have a small part to play, and now corrupt governments have a huge role to play, but before the colonial times, it's hard to figure out why so many countries weren't advancing into the next age the way the European countries were.

Oh well. If I learned anything, it's that nothing is set in stone. And that those countries who are horribly impoverished now might not always stay that way. Strong stable government, education and the desire to move to the next level are all that's really needed. There will be plenty of foreign governments and corporations ready to come alongside them and help them since it will mean new customers and new low-cost employees. And that may even happen whether they want it or not as the lowest-cost is always sought, companies may yet go into Africa and the Middle East as opportunities to invest and find cheap labor. And all boats will be floated higher. (I like the idea of all boats floating higher. Does that make me a socialist?)

I also learned that our consumerism is the propelling force behind our growth and advancement. That was an interesting notion. Kind of like being in a bucket in a well and pulling yourself up by the rope.

All in all, a rather interesting book. I wouldn't use the word fascinating (though at times, perhaps mindnumbingly dull) but it was an interesting bit of self-discovery to find out this stuff had an interest to me. Sure didn't in any way, shape or form while I was in school.

Why did I read this book in the first place? A book I really admire, "Good to Great" credits this book for the concept, so I was curious to see what it said. It was a very tiny part of the book. Oh well. Whatever doesn't kill you makes you smarter, eh?
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