Friday, January 4, 2013

You don't know Jack about the world, it's history, or its economy

I thought that I did, but I didn't.*  The reason is that history is written from recorded anecdotes, not from data.  This is why the further back you go in history, the less reliable the sources are considered.  Seuetonius makes for a fun read, but is it reliable?  There's no way to tell.

But for the recent past (say, the last 50 years) we have actual data.  What do the data tell us of "Western" vs. "Developing" worlds?  Well, they tell us there are no "Western" or "Developing" worlds.

* That's a great book, and you'll be a whole lot smarter after reading it.  But as with all history, it's anecdote. 

UPDATE 6 January 2013 10:14: Here's a Youtube of Rosling's presentation for those having trouble watching the TED embed.


OMMAG said...

There are really only two books (or collections) you need to read to understand the history of the world.

One is HG Wells Outline of History...
The other is Will & Ariel Durants works The Story of Civilization.

Regardless of political PoVs or any other consideration these works provide a solid foundation for those willing to actually learn and to look at all of history with an objective mind.

Differ said...

I'd add the late Jacques Barzun's "From Dawn to Decadence; 500 Years of Western Civilization"...outstanding.
Happy New Year, Mr B.

drjim said...

I recently read "The Black Swan", and he makes the same observation about history.

TheAxe said...

"Error #2032"

when I click play.

Graybeard said...

I couldn't watch past half way. The guy has so much data and such bad conclusions from it that it boggles my mind.

I could go on about this for a rant, but let's start here: Mexico's problem is guns flowing south from the US? Not the narco-syndicates taking over the country? China got prosperous because of birth control? In China, that's infanticide. Killing baby girls - or abandoning them to adoption by western families if they're lucky. The public health systems that the west developed are barely mentioned. The middle wealth countries bailed out Lehman? Where would they get the money to do that? We transferred $4 to 6 Trillion (IIRC) to the central banks of the rest of the world to keep them afloat. Lehman was bailed out by the Federal Reserve creating money out of thin air - which means your savings go down in worth to pay for it.

Interesting data. Zero insights. This is scholarship today?

drjim said...

No, its not scholarship, it's indoctrination!

Tai said...

Can those of us with java turned off get a link to watch the video or something?

Borepatch said...

I added a youtube embed. Not sure if that will be better.