Great Degeneration How Institutions Decay and Economies Die

ISBN-10: 1594205450
ISBN-13: 9781594205453
Edition: 2013
Authors: Niall Ferguson
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Description: From renowned historian Niall Ferguson, a searching and provocative examination of the widespread institutional rot that threatens our collective futureWhat causes rich countries to lose their way? Symptoms of decline are all around us today:  More...

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Book details

List price: $26.95
Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 6/13/2013
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 192
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.924
Language: English

From renowned historian Niall Ferguson, a searching and provocative examination of the widespread institutional rot that threatens our collective futureWhat causes rich countries to lose their way? Symptoms of decline are all around us today: slowing growth, crushing debts, increasing inequality, aging populations, antisocial behavior. But what exactly has gone wrong? The answer, Niall Ferguson argues inThe Great Degeneration, is that our institutions—the intricate frameworks within which a society can flourish or fail—are degenerating.Representative government, the free market, the rule of law, and civil society—these are the four pillars of West European and North American societies. It was these institutions, rather than any geographical or climatic advantages, that set the West on the path to global dominance beginning around 1500. In our time, however, these institutions have deteriorated in disturbing ways. Our democracies have broken the contract between the generations by heaping IOUs on our children and grandchildren. Our markets are hindered by overcomplex regulations that debilitate the political and economic processes they were created to support; the rule of law has become the rule of lawyers. And civil society has degenerated into uncivil society, where we lazily expect all of our problems to be solved by the state.It is institutional degeneration, in other words, that lies behind economic stagnation and the geopolitical decline that comes with it. With characteristic verve and historical insight, Ferguson analyzes not only the causes of this stagnation but also its profound consequences.The Great Degenerationis an incisive indictment of an era of negligence and complacency. While the Arab world struggles to adopt democracy and China struggles to move from economic liberalization to the rule of law, our society is squandering the institutional inheritance of centuries. To arrest the breakdown of our civilization, Ferguson warns, will take heroic leadership and radical reform.

Niall Ferguson was born April 18, 1964, in Glasgow. He is a Scottish historian. He specializes in financial and economic history as well as the history of empire. He is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and the William Ziegler Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. His books include Paper and Iron: Hamburg Business and German Politics in the Era of Inflation 1897-1927 (1993), Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals (1997), The Pity of War: Explaining World War One (1998), The World's Banker: The History of the House of Rothschild (1998), The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World, 1700-2000 (2001), Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power (2003), Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire (2004), The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West (2006) and The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World (2008), Civilization: The West and the Rest (2011) and The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die.

List of Figures
Introduction
The Human Hive
The Darwinian Economy
The Landscape of Law
Civil and Uncivil Societies
Conclusion
Notes
Acknowledgements

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