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Over the past few centuries, Western cultures have been very good at creating general prosperity for themselves. Historian Niall Ferguson asks: Why the West, and less so the rest? He suggests half a dozen big ideas from Western culture -- call them the 6 killer apps -- that promote wealth, stability and innovation. And in this new century, he says, these apps are all shareable. Interesting talk!

His latest book and TV series, Civilization: The West and the Rest, aims to help 21st-century audiences understand the past and the present. In it, he asks how, since the 1500s, Western nations have surpassed their Eastern counterparts and came to dominate the world (his answer: thanks to six “killer apps”: science, medicine, protestant work ethic, competition, property rights, consumer society). And he wonders whether that domination is now threatened by the rise of Asia. His theories have drawn criticism and prompted discussions, which he says was his intent. “It’s designed to be slightly annoying, so that you talk about it,” he told The Observer. Note, also that happiness was left out of the equation. For a future sustainable world, happiness and consumerism will most likely find themselves becoming distant cousins.

Niall Ferguson teaches history and business administration at Harvard and is a senior research fellow at several other universities, including Oxford. Also see The Ascent of Money: inspirationgreen.org/the-ascent-of-money-movie

 

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Additional Posts
End of the Nile
 
Egypt is headed for a major crisis. Population growth has drastically increased demand for water.
Mining minerals from seawater
 
bacteria biologically "mine" minerals from water
Will our kids be a different species?
 
Throughout human evolution, multiple versions of humans co-existed. Could we be mid-upgrade now?
China's Cancer Villages
 
Dateline investigates the increase in cancer cases in rural China
Isaac's Proposal
 
The best marriage proposal ever!
Meerkat Moments
 
Some of the magic moments of filming
David MacKay
 
the basic mathematics that show worrying limitations on our sustainable energy options
A Story for Tomorrow
 
through Chile and Patagonia
Baby Koala
 
baby koala is referred to as a joey and is hairless, blind, and earless.
The Importance of Seed
 
Claire Hope Cummings talks about seeds
The Paved Paradise - Bali
 
stretched to breaking point, with a waste problem that's out of control.
Island of waste in the Maldives
 
a part of the Maldives that tourists do not see - a huge island waste dump.
Paul Gilding: The Earth is full
 
Have we used up all our resources? Have we filled up all the livable space on Earth?
The Sea We've Hardly Seen
 
marine microbes provide half the oxygen we breathe
Why I must speak out about climate change
 
James Hansen tells the story of his involvement in the science of and debate over global climate change.
What's left to explore?
 
hidden secrets of the planet's dominant life form: the virus
Hunting of Polar Bears
 
Hunting of Polar Bears for Profit NRDC video
Water has Memory
 
Many researchers are convinced that water is capable of "memory"
Weird Jelly
 
A deepstaria enigmatica jellyfish.
Map of Europe
 
The changing borders of Europe 1000 AD to Present.