The Making of the Modern Economy
Financial Times columnist Tim Harford has written a very enjoyable book about the inventions the brought about today’s globalized economy. At the outset he pays tribute to science historian James Burke who brought us “Connections” the late 1970s BBC series on the history of science.
As the title notes Harford discusses the origins and the implications of 50 inventions. I note ten of them below to give you a sample:
· Barbed Wire – Established the practically of legal boundaries in the American West.
· The Pill – Enabled female sexual autonomy that opened the way for women to enter the professions in the 1970s.
· The Dynamo – The broad transmission of electrical energy.
· The Shipping Container – Without which global commerce would be a shadow of its current self.
· The Elevator – Perhaps the foremost mass transit invention that enables dense cities.
· Double- Entry Bookkeeping – The way measure and control
the efficacy of enterprise.
· The Limited Liability Company – Enables risk taking on a grand scale.
· The Compiler – Enables computers to be programmed in English (well sort of).
· Property Registry – Converts land into tradeable capital.
There are, of course 40 more and Harford tells the story of all of them in a very breezy style. The chapters are short and that makes the book easy to put down and pick up with ease.
To sum up I highly recommend Harford’s book for lay readers, history buffs and economists alike interested in getting a better understanding how our world came to be.
The complete Amazon URL appears at: Awaiting URL from Amazon.