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A History of the Global Economy

The Inevitable Accident Colin White, former Professor of Economics, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia
Providing an exceptional overview and analysis of the global economy, from the origins of Homo sapiens to the present day, Colin White explores our past to help understand our economic future. He veers away from traditional Eurocentric approaches, providing a truly global scope for readers. The main themes include the creative innovativeness of humans and how this generates economic progression, the common economic pathway trodden by all societies, and the complementary relationship between government and the market.
Extent: 512 pp
Hardback Price: $195.00 Web: $175.50
Publication Date: 2018
ISBN: 978 1 78897 197 3
Availability: In Stock
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  • Development Studies
  • Agricultural Economics
  • Development Economics
  • Development Studies
  • Economics and Finance
  • Development Economics
  • History of Economic Thought
Providing an exceptional overview and analysis of the global economy, from the origins of Homo sapiens to the present day, Colin White explores our past to help understand our economic future. He veers away from traditional Eurocentric approaches, providing a truly global scope for readers.

A History of the Global Economy takes a holistic, interdisciplinary approach, beyond the narrow application of economic theory, to include the impact of climate change, genetics and culture. The main themes include the creative innovativeness of humans and how this generates economic progression, the common economic pathway trodden by all societies and the complementary relationship between government and the market. The book moves through the four key economic stages of human history – foraging, agriculture, industry and services – to finally examine where the direction of our future may lie.

This comprehensive and ambitious book is a must-read for economists, particularly economic historians, as well as anthropology and political history scholars. It not only explores the history and origins of the global economy but also provides a valuable analysis of the current state of economic affairs, making it an ideal book for those wishing to understand more about our ever-evolving global society.
‘Colin White has produced a work of staggering scholarship. It is in every sense “big history”. The narrative encompasses the entire span of human experience – as well as that of its hominid predecessors. It offers provocative and original insights into virtually all the forces that have shaped thousands of years of economic history - genetic, social, cultural, political and environmental. It is an intellectual tour de force which few others could have achieved.’
– Robert Ash, SOAS, University of London, UK
Contents: Preface Part I: Introduction 1. Finding a common economic pathway 2. Transitions and revolutions Part II: Beginnings: place and people 3. Changing contexts 4. The past within us 5. The dynamic forager Part III: The agricultural phase, from 15000 BC to AD 1800 6. Asking the wrong questions 7. The Agricultural Revolution: 15000 BC - 1 BC 8. Innovativeness in agrarian civilisations: 15000 BC – AD 1800 Part IV: Empires and the rise of agrarian civilisations 9. The emergence of complex political organisation 10. First civilisations 11. The rise of an eastern agrarian civilisation: China 12. Imperialism moves westward 13. Imperial structures and their finite lifetimes 14. A natural experiment - the Americas Part V: Commerce as an enabler of modern economic development 15. The building of a global world: trade systems before 1500 16. The circle completed: 1500-1800 17. The integration of the global economy: 1700-1900 18. Creative innovativeness in full bloom Part VI: The emergence of the modern economy 19. The inception of modern economic development 20. Stage one – the Industrial Revolution in Britain 21. More industrial revolutions 22. The Asian miracle? Part VII: Where are we at? 23. Stage two of modern economic development: the Service Revolution 24. Looking backwards in order to peer forwards Bibliography Index