Summary of Power and Plenty

Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium (Princeton Economic History of the Western World)

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Power and Plenty book summary
Global trade is the product of centuries of rising and falling economies, shaped by war, turmoil, colonialism and slavery.


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Thinking of globalization as a new phenomenon or an inevitable one is all too easy. As scholars Ronald Findlay and Kevin O’Rourke explain in this thorough examination, globalization is neither new nor predictable. In fact, international trade has been a reality for more than 1,000 years and the story of global commerce is one of constant change. For centuries, nations have jockeyed for position, imposed rules and killed each other’s citizens in the name of trade. This enlightening work rewards the reader with a depth of understanding and context. However, it would benefit from a more conversational, less academic tone. getAbstract recommends it to readers who want to see world economic affairs in a broader context and perspective.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How global trade evolved during the past 1,000 years
  • How Europe ascended to global supremacy


From Modest Beginnings to Soaring Heights
As China and India boom, and as the world economy becomes ever more intertwined, globalization looks like a recent phenomenon. This is a shortsighted view of world history. Global trade has existed for centuries, always shaped by political, economic...
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About the Authors

Ronald Findlay is a professor of economics at Columbia University and the author of Factor Proportions, Trade, and Growth. Kevin H. O’Rourke is a professor of economics at Trinity College, Dublin, and a co-author of Globalization and History.

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