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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
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
Ocean Recovery Alliance
 
Douglas Woodring
Dangers of Wi-Fi
 
Wireless Hazards
 
Neglected Ducks Get Their First Swim
 
two dozen recently rescued ducks get their first taste of life in a pond.
Let's prepare for our new climate
 
it's time to prepare our homes and cities for the new climate,
Demand a fair trade cell phone
 
Tantalum mining funds the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Currency of Trust
 
There's been an explosion of collaborative consumption -- web-powered sharing of cars, apartments, skills.
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