Book Bits | 11 July 2015

A Giant Reborn: Why the US Will Dominate the 21st Century
By Johan Van Overtveldt
Summary via publisher (Agate)
In the current chaotic political climate it seems risky to say any country will be able to maintain its current status. But Van Overtveldt provides a measured, insightful, and thoroughly engaging examination of the evidence. In his richly detailed style and straightforward explanations, he masterfully lays out a case for why America, against many pundits’ best predictions, is set up to continue its 20th-century success into this millennium. A Giant Reborn shows readers that the reports of America’s death, to paraphrase the father of American literature, have been greatly exaggerated.

Why Is the Global Economy Like This?
By Cornelis Bal
Summary via press release
Bal’s debut publication sheds light on what the author observes as a “seemingly global reluctance to adapt the present law of economics and tune it with the technological developments.” He explains this as well as other economic issues in terms that could be understood by general readers. “Technological developments seem to have outpaced the political and economic development in global society,” Bal says. “Since I travel around the world for a high tech company, I observe the effect of this outpacing in both developed as well as in developing countries.”

Why Did Europe Conquer the World?
By Philip T. Hoffman
Summary via publisher (Princeton University Press)
In vivid detail, Hoffman sheds light on the two millennia of economic, political, and historical changes that set European states on a distinctive path of development and military rivalry. Compared to their counterparts in China, Japan, South Asia, and the Middle East, European leaders—whether chiefs, lords, kings, emperors, or prime ministers—had radically different incentives, which drove them to make war. These incentives, which Hoffman explores using an economic model of political costs and financial resources, resulted in astonishingly rapid growth in Europe’s military sector from the Middle Ages on, and produced an insurmountable lead in gunpowder technology. The consequences determined which states established colonial empires or ran the slave trade, and even which economies were the first to industrialize.