Why did the West pull away from the rest a few centuries ago, creating in the process sustained economic progress and prosperity for an increasing majority of its people?
WHY IT MUST INDUSTRIALIZE. A HISTORY OF HOW THE WHITE MAN MADE IT
How come America is the king of the global agriculture industry, producing enough to feed its 300 million plus people and a huge surplus for export, when only 1.3% of its population is engaged in the farming profession while Africa that has about 65% of its people working as farmers, had to import about 85% of its food from outside the continent between 2016 and 2018, leading to a food import bill of $35 billion that is projected to reach $110 billion in 2025?
Why Africa is not rich like America and Europe answers that the reason for this productivity gap is the aggressive development of science and technology by America and the industrialized West which delivers to them huge productivity gains and the lack of it by Africa, which leaves the continent mired in chronic, economic underperformance. The book also argues that the technological development during the Industrial Revolution was the reason the great pulling away of the West from the rest of the world in the 18th century.
In order to understand this phenomenon more fully, Why Africa is not rich like America and Europe takes a deep historical and multi-disciplinary approach. Exploring an 800-year period from like the 10th century to the 18th and utilizing insights from fields as diverse as history, economics, political philosophy, sociology, physics, mathematics, engineering, religion and a smattering of popular culture, the book documents the critical events that shaped European society, making it ultimately possible for the Industrial Revolution to occur and radically alter the trajectory of economic history.
From large scale urbanization, to the spread of literacy, to the emergence of property rights and the rule of law, to the rise of the guilds, the invention of the printing press, the European Marriage Pattern, mercantilist policies of European nation states, the births of modern capitalism and modern science, and finally, the enlightenment. All these played their respective roles in preparing European society for the massive transformation that was the Industrial Revolution.
Along the way, Why Africa is not rich like America and Europe points out useful lessons for the African continent. Lessons that will need to be learnt if it is to break out of the vicious cycles of poverty and underdevelopment.
The book is written in a highly accessible and informal manner and will help anybody totally unfamiliar with the terrain to get a solid grasp of the subject. Key concepts are broken down to the very basics and the unnecessary use of complex words is avoided.
The author was motivated to write this book after experiencing serious disillusionment with the state of things on the African continent. He wanted to truly understand why things were the way they were. That question led to a lot of questions and ultimately, in a brief moment of inspiration, to Why Africa is not rich like America and Europe.
It is hoped it will help others struggling with the same questions, and also satisfy the curiosity of those who want to understand the history of some the world’s wealthiest regions.