Capital in the Twenty-First Century Book Cover Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Thomas Piketty
Business & Economics
Belknap Press

The main driver of inequality--returns on capital that exceed the rate of economic growth--is again threatening to generate extreme discontent and undermine democratic values. Thomas Piketty's findings in this ambitious, original, rigorous work will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality.

As I write, I am reading the book and have got up to Part 2.

I bought this book because it links in well with Why the West Rule – For Now and it is something that has interested me for quite a while. If we can understand what drives economic and political thinking then we might be able to avoid a Collapse style catastrophe. I say we – because I think I need to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Small as that part may be.

The discussions on (in)equity and its drivers is particularly relevant given how things are going in Australia and the kinds of decisions being made. Deprive the poor and shift that wealth to a tiny proportion of the already wealthy.

I will update this post as I complete the book.

Why the West Rules – For Now

Why the West Rules - for Now Book Cover Why the West Rules - for Now
Ian Morris
Profile Books(GB)

In the middle of the eighteenth century, British entrepreneurs unleashed the astounding energies of steam and coal and the world changed forever. Factories, railways and gunboats then propelled the West's rise to power, and computers and nuclear weapons in the twentieth century secured its global supremacy. Today, however, many worry that the emergence of China and India spell the end of the West as a superpower.How long will the power of the West last? In order to find out we need to know: why has the West been so dominant for the past two hundred years?With flair and authority, historian and achaeologist Ian Morris draws uniquely on 15,000 years of history to offer fresh insights on what the future will bring. Deeply researched and brilliantly argued, Why The West Rules - For Now is a gripping and truly original history of the world.

This is one of the most meaningful and powerful books I have ever read. It covers a broad sweep of my interests in history, anthropology, politics and economics.

The arguments put forward are powerful and convincingly argued. The factual and analytical support is outstanding. The level of analysis suggests the possibility of a realistic modelling of social behaviour in the near future. Therefore it is an inspiring book because it offers hope.

I read this book over the Summer and it definitely made me think hard about the likely future. It reconfirms in my mind that the things we most need to focus on are the classic “liberal” issues of:

  • Universal education to at least senior secondary level
  • Solve the current and escalating energy crises
  • Establish more equitable income distribution as a world goal