Europe's Rise to Power

Scholars have been debating Europe's rise to power for centuries. In the earliest history, it was due to God's will. Then, many promoted the race theory. Now, the argument comes down to a combination of environment and culture says Harvard historian David Landes. He argues that argues in his books Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor and The Unbound Prometheus: Technological Change and Industrial Development in Western Europe From 1750 to the Present that Europe has been more progressive than all other civilizations for thousands of years atfirst because of a number of different factors, including geography (climate), sociology, anthropology and culture and economics.
Landes cites several reasons for his argument (xxi): better climate, soils, topography, natural vegetation, health, nutrition, reproductive habits, values, politics, institutions (family, church, market, state, city,) inventiveness, innovativeness, and venturesome spirit. In addition to having the foundation of climate, “If we learn anything from the history of economic development, it is that culture makes all the difference,” he says.
In general, Landes explains that the more wealthy society will be one that1)Knew how to operate, manage and build the instruments of production and to create, adapt and master new techniques; 2) Could impart this knowledge and know-how to the young; 3) Elected individuals for jobs by competence as well as promoted them on
the basis of performance; 4) Afforded the opportunity to individual or collective enterprise; 5) Encouraged initiative, competition and emulation;and lastly
5) Permitted citizens to enjoy and employ the extra fruits of their labor and enterprise (217-219).
Landesfirst notes that successful countries tend to be located in temperate regions and poorer countries, in the tropics. In other words, tropical climates are negative factors for human progress. Europe b…


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