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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
French GMO Study
 
French researchers secretly studied, for two years, 200 rats fed with transgenic maize.
Reframe Climate Change Debate
 
Why and how do we engage? Simran Sethi at TEDx.
Animal that Survives in Space
 
Tardigrades or "Water bears" are the only creatures that can survive the extreme conditions in the vacuum of outer space.
Shining Light in the Philippines
 
Illac Diaz pokes a plastic bottle filled with water through a specially cut hole in the roof
Street Market Economy
 
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Chinese Days Angola
 
China bankrolling Angola with billions
Risks of Drilling in Alaska
 
America’s Inability to Respond to an Oil Spill in the Arctic
As Siberian Permafrost Melts
 
As Siberian permafrost melts, methane seeps out
Pacific Rim Tour
 
a Pacific Rim Tour to enlighten all on the quantities and hazards of plastic pollution.
Whales Give Dolphins a Lift
 
social activity such as this is extremely rare between species.
Hyper-Wattle House
 
300 dollar house winner
Climate Change Evidence
 
how scientists have arrived at the current state of knowledge about recent climate change and its causes
Nurdle Wash Up
 
150 tons of mermaid tears.
Building the Perfect Bug
 
Mutated superbugs that could kill millions are being engineered by scientists worldwide.
Eat your Landscapes
 
What should a community do with its unused land? Plant food, of course.
We Must Act Today
 
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Roman Gaus
 
Roman is CEO of UrbanFarmers AG, a pioneering Spin-off from the University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) in Wädenswil that aims to bring sustainable urban agricultural practices into cities of the 21st century.
Greening the South Bronx
 
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UN Earth Summit Talk June 2012
Belugas need your Help
 
Pierce Brosnan calls for citizen action to stop the Apache Alaska Corporation from deploying seismic airguns in the critical habitat of the last 284 beluga whales of Alaska's Cook Inlet.