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Civilization - Book Report/Review Example

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Ferguson, Niall. Civilization: The West and the Rest. London: Allen Lane, 2011. Print. Name of of Professor Name of Course 30 November 2013 Book Review - Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson Western world is deemed as a symbol of progress, achievement and dominance in the contemporary world of today…
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Download file to see previous pages... Historian Niall Ferguson claims to have an absolute answer to this issue in his book named ‘Civilization: The West and the Rest’. In his book he has credited the advancement of the Western world to six social developments, which he refers to as “killer apps”. Ferguson explains in his book how westerners adopted new ways of conducting themselves and established a new set of institutions which were based upon the fundamental principles of law, modern sciences and ethics. This contributed to a flourishing consumer society. The rest of the world lagged behind and lacked these killer apps, which became the prime reason for enabling the Western world to outdo the rest of the world. The subject matter of this book is of utmost importance in intellectual history because over the past five hundred year, the emergence of Western civilization to global predominance is the most essential historical phenomenon. The surfacing of the Western world led to the termination of earlier super powers such as Ottoman and Chinese civilizations, which once possessed the most well-trained armies and weaponry, developed infra-structure, most productive lands and communication channels, high standards of living and superior understanding of natural phenomenon. The rise of West altered political and economic landscape of the world and a shift in power and dominance took place. Not only this, but the rise also influenced people all over the world. A significant chunk of the population is swayed by Western culture to such an extent that they wear western clothes, eat western style food, adopt western system of government, and consume western made products. Six hundred years ago, accomplishments like these seemed impossible for Western civilization, yet it happened. In his book, Ferguson’s thesis suggests that the success of Western world cannot be categorized merely as a natural occurrence. Rather, it should be attributed to the right combination of the economic, political, social and technological aspects which contributed towards the establishment of efficient institutions. The development and adoption of this right mix enabled the West to withstand difficult times and gave it a competitive advantage. Ferguson has presented six themes with which the West was equipped and which became the primary reason for the growth of this region. The six killer apps are as follow; Competition: This facilitated the environment needed for the functioning of a capitalist market and decentralized the power within and among different nations. Science: West advanced academically and eminent discoveries were made which triggered Industrial Revolution. Also, the scientific progress contributed towards military advantage. Property Rights: This provided a legal framework for rule of law and due to this West was able to achieve stable footing. Extensive land possession and its links to the democratic process led to shared economic and political power. Modern Medicine: This doubled the life-expectancy. New procedures, vaccinations and medicines were produced due to which people were able to live longer and healthier. Consumerism: The economy became consumption – oriented where demand for industrial and consumer goods increased at an exponential rate. Consumerism shaped the society and a change in perception and preference of the general masses was observed. Work Ethics: This provided a moral framework for ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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