The great degeneration

Niall Ferguson

Why I looked at this book

Many people have the feeling that things are getting worse. The figures, however, tend to show the opposite, that our standard of life is improving on almost any measure we can think of, and supposedly there's mo reason to think that things won't continue getting better and better. But is that being too complacent? I thought I'd read this book to see the arguments that our society is going downhill.

First impressions

The introduction presents the argument that Western democracies seem to have stalled in the last quarter century. The benefits expected from the end of the cold war haven't been very visible. I'm not entirely convinced that this is the start of a decline, although when Ferguson points to Adam Smith's comparison of progressive economies (Britain) with stationary economies (China) of 200 years ago, the West does seem to have a good fit with the description of a stationary economy. I'll have to see how the arguments of the book pan out to see whether they persuade me that the West is really going into eclipse.
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Main Review
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