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Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve

by Margaret Atwood Jonathan D. Spence Stephen Macedo Christine M. Korsgaard Ian Morris Richard Seaford

Most people in the world today think democracy and gender equality are good, and that violence and wealth inequality are bad. But most people who lived during the 10,000 years before the nineteenth century thought just the opposite. Drawing on archaeology, anthropology, biology, and history, Ian Morris, author of the best-selling Why the West Rules--for Now, explains why. The result is a compelling new argument about the evolution of human values, one that has far-reaching implications for how we understand the past--and for what might happen next.Fundamental long-term changes in values, Morris argues, are driven by the most basic force of all: energy. Humans have found three main ways to get the energy they need--from foraging, farming, and fossil fuels. Each energy source sets strict limits on what kinds of societies can succeed, and each kind of society rewards specific values. In tiny forager bands, people who value equality but are ready to settle problems violently do better than those who aren't; in large farming societies, people who value hierarchy and are less willing to use violence do best; and in huge fossil-fuel societies, the pendulum has swung back toward equality but even further away from violence.But if our fossil-fuel world favors democratic, open societies, the ongoing revolution in energy capture means that our most cherished values are very likely to turn out--at some point fairly soon--not to be useful any more.Originating as the Tanner Lectures delivered at Princeton University, the book includes challenging responses by novelist Margaret Atwood, philosopher Christine Korsgaard, classicist Richard Seaford, and historian of China Jonathan Spence.

The Future of Work for Disabled People: Employment and the New Technology

by Ian Morris Wassily Leontief Walter Y. Oi William F. Gallagher Curt Tausky Timm Kainen Lawrence A. Scadden William J. Dennis Dennis Chamot Jesse M. Smith Erich Bloch Joseph F. Coates

This important book, by an impressive and talented team of authors, will help us plan to ensure that workers with disabilities find their rightful place in the workplace of the future.

The Measure of Civilization: How Social Development Decides the Fate of Nations

by Ian Morris

In the last thirty years, there have been fierce debates over how civilizations develop and why the West became so powerful. The Measure of Civilization presents a brand-new way of investigating these questions and provides new tools for assessing the long-term growth of societies. Using a groundbreaking numerical index of social development that compares societies in different times and places, award-winning author Ian Morris sets forth a sweeping examination of Eastern and Western development across 15,000 years since the end of the last ice age. He offers surprising conclusions about when and why the West came to dominate the world and fresh perspectives for thinking about the twenty-first century. Adapting the United Nations' approach for measuring human development, Morris's index breaks social development into four traits--energy capture per capita, organization, information technology, and war-making capacity--and he uses archaeological, historical, and current government data to quantify patterns. Morris reveals that for 90 percent of the time since the last ice age, the world's most advanced region has been at the western end of Eurasia, but contrary to what many historians once believed, there were roughly 1,200 years--from about 550 to 1750 CE--when an East Asian region was more advanced. Only in the late eighteenth century CE, when northwest Europeans tapped into the energy trapped in fossil fuels, did the West leap ahead. Resolving some of the biggest debates in global history, The Measure of Civilization puts forth innovative tools for determining past, present, and future economic and social trends.

Why the West Rules -- For Now

by Ian Morris

Why does the West rule? In this magnum opus, eminent Stanford polymath Ian Morris answers this provocative question, drawing on 50,000 years of history, archeology, and the methods of social science, to make sense of when, how, and why the paths of development differed in the East and West -- and what this portends for the 21st century. There are two broad schools of thought on why the West rules. Proponents of "Long-Term Lock-In" theories such as Jared Diamond suggest that from time immemorial, some critical factor -- geography, climate, or culture perhaps -- made East and West unalterably different, and determined that the industrial revolution would happen in the West and push it further ahead of the East. But the East led the West between 500 and 1600, so this development can't have been inevitable; and so proponents of "Short-Term Accident" theories argue that Western rule was a temporary aberration that is now coming to an end, with Japan, China, and India resuming their rightful places on the world stage. However, as the West led for 9,000 of the previous 10,000 years, it wasn't just a temporary aberration. So, if we want to know why the West rules, we need a whole new theory. Ian Morris, boldly entering the turf of Jared Diamond and Niall Ferguson, provides the broader approach that is necessary, combining the textual historian's focus on context, the anthropological archaeologist's awareness of the deep past, and the social scientist's comparative methods to make sense of the past, present, and future -- in a way no one has ever done before.

Showing 1 through 5 of 5 results


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