A Farewell to Alms: a Brief Economic History of the World, by Gregory Clark,
Gregory Clark is chairman of the economics department at the University of California, Davis.
Clark describes economic development from the "original foragers of the African savannah" to the nineteenth century passing through gains in production of food, better tools and more land to cultivate. These gains, he holds, were always offset by rises in population, what he calls the Malthusian Trap.
Clark writes that between 1760 and 1900 an unprecedented event occurred, "made possible by advances in knowledge." This event was a "rapid industrial growth fueled by increasing production efficiency," called the Industrial Revolution. He describes the Industrial Revolution as coming first to England, between 1760 and 1800. It can be argued, writes Clark, that the break from the Malthusian Trap occurred around the year 1600, 1800 or 1860.
More than just describing that this happened, Clark attempts to explain why it happened first in England, and for his last chapter he asks "Why Isn't the Whole World Developed?"
In trying to explain why the Industrial Revolution did not appear first in China or Japan, Clark writes that these countries had a larger population growth in the centuries before 1800 and that there was less of a reproductive advantage to the wealthy than there was among the wealthy in England. "Thus we may speculate," he writes, "that England's advantage lay in the rapid cultural, and potentially also genetic, diffusion of the values of the economically successful throughout society in the years 1200-1800." The scholar that he is, Gregory Clark knows when he is speculating and when he is not.