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Debt has very interesting anecdotes but it is neither a very good historical overview, nor a good discussion of debt in our time. I would recommend reading it at a later date to correct the view of history assumed in standard economics.

For economical history I would rather recommend reading Ferdinand Braudels' Civilizations and Capitalism which gives a broad overview of global economic history with a focus on industrialisation and Europe. If it is too heavy the summary, The Dynamics of Capitalism, condenses the argument but leaves out much of bildung.

The Great Divergence by Kenneth Pommeranz and The Industrious revolution are other interesting takes on industrialisation and economic development, but are not good as starting points since they are so driven by their respective thesis.

Tony Judts' Postwar - a history of Europe since 1945 is a magisterial overview of modern European history. It is an excellent foundation from which to approach more thesis driven works about Europe today.

by chumchu on Thu Nov 21st, 2013 at 12:47:44 PM EST
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Civilizations and Capitalism which gives a broad overview of global economic history with a focus on industrialisation and Europe.

Without having read it, I must say I'm a touch skeptical of any work on that time period chiefly viewed from a European perspective. During that period, Europe was the tail, not the dog, of the global trade system.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 21st, 2013 at 03:48:46 PM EST
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It shows that you have not read it =). It is written from a global perspective as far as the sources and earlier research allowed in the seventies. The focus on Europe is notable in his discussion of industrialisation for a reason. Capitalism was also relatively strong in Europe in the early modern period in comparison with China or the Islamic world, characterised by free markets.

China was the dominating economy in the ca. 1450-1650 and very powerful after that. Silver flowed to China in enormous quantities in exchange for luxury goods. After that the Europeans dominated global trade and controlled important parts of the regional asian trade as well. The european economy was also devloping technologically at quick pace and becoming even less labour intensive than Chinas. Chinas economic development went into a significant population expansion, and the colonisation of highland and periphery.

by chumchu on Sat Nov 23rd, 2013 at 12:02:45 AM EST
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