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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
Methane Vent
 
Special camera sees greenhouse gases
Wild Dolphin "Asks"
 
Wild Dolphin "Asks" Divers to Free It from Hook and line embedded in its pectoral fin.
Chasing Ice
 
Chasing Ice movie reveals largest iceberg break-up ever filmed.
Black Rhino
 
Rare Animals Lead Secret Lives After Dark Caught on Tape
Cormorant's Deep Dive
 
150 Foot cormorant Dive
Melissa Leo
 
Melissa Leo Speaks Out About Banning Fracking in New York
The Big Dig in Mongolia
 
massive, break-neck speed resources rush
Why Prop 37 Failed
 
Why Prop 37 Failed
Whales and Canoe
 
Father and daughter whale watching from a canoe in Australia.
Lost Children of Coal
 
this small group of youngsters now have the chance of a normal life.
Divers Free Whale Shark
 
250 miles south of Baja, Mexico, Divers spotted a whale shark with a large rope wrapped around it's girth
Rise of The Superbugs
 
Rampant use of antibiotics coupled with an explosion in global travel
Sanitary Napkin Revolution
 
Arunachalam Muruganantham: How I started a sanitary napkin revolution!
Chesapeake Bay Pollution
 
How factory farms & poultry industry pollute the water
Poisoned Waters of Puget Sound
 
decades of pollution have endangered the orca whales
Dr Jeff Masters
 
predicts 9 weather disasters that could strike the United States in the next 30 years
Climate of Doubt
 
Frontline looks at Climate Skeptics.
Secret of the Bat Genome
 
Let's rethink our attitude toward bats...
Climate Dialogue Runs Aground
 
politicians say it is time to take steps to deal with increasingly extreme weather conditions
A Conversation with Myself
 
technology seems to be helpful in the short term - but not proven as to the long term