Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson

Fascinating, insightful book. Ferguson argues that not only is Western Civilization the greatest civilization in the history of the world, but that it has no need to apologize for itself, a view that may seem obvious to some but that has come under attack in recent years. He argues that the West developed five “killer apps” that gave it an advantage over other civilizations: competition, science, the rule of law, modern medicine, consumerism, and the work ethic. But toward the end he acknowledges that other cultures are beginning to download these apps and apply them successfully, while the West appears to be on a trajectory of decline. However, he does not believe that the decline and eventual fall of Western Civilization is inevitable, although he does not suggest how the process may be reversed. He seems to have faith in the West’s power of innovation to deal with almost any problem. Excellent book, as a work of historical, political, cultural, and economic analysis.

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