How The West Grew Rich ( Nathan Rosenberg & Le Birdzell )

4 April 2015
Critical analysis of work on medieval origins of capitalism & contradictory evidence.

Nathan Rosenberg and L. E. Birdzell, in their book How the West Grew Rich: The Economic Transformation of the Industrial World, attempt to explain the Western world’s rise to today’s current wealth standards. They try to use economic history to show the relationship between past historical innovations and the rise of capitalism. Their premise is that the growth of Western wealth rests on innovations in trade, technology, and organization in combination with an accumulation of more and more capital, labor, and applied natural resources beginning during the Middle Ages (20).

The authors present their understanding of the historical development of economic concepts and institutions in a logical manner. With the evidence that they present, their conclusions are logical and appropriate. The difficulty lies in the..

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