The Age of Equality: the twentieth century in economic perspective [NOOK Book]

Overview

In 1900 the global average life expectancy at birth was thirty-one years. By 2000 it was sixty-six. Yet, alongside unprecedented improvements in longevity and material well-being, the twentieth century also saw the rise of fascism and communism and a second world war followed by a cold war. This book tells the story of the battles between economic systems that defined the last century and created today's world.

The nineteenth century was a period of rapid economic growth ...

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The Age of Equality: the twentieth century in economic perspective

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Overview

In 1900 the global average life expectancy at birth was thirty-one years. By 2000 it was sixty-six. Yet, alongside unprecedented improvements in longevity and material well-being, the twentieth century also saw the rise of fascism and communism and a second world war followed by a cold war. This book tells the story of the battles between economic systems that defined the last century and created today's world.

The nineteenth century was a period of rapid economic growth characterized by relatively open markets and more personal liberty, but it also brought great inequality within and between nations. The following century offered sharp challenges to free-wheeling capitalism from both communism and fascism, whose competing visions of planned economic development attracted millions of people buffeted by the economic storms of the 1930s. The Age of Equality describes the ways in which market-oriented economies eventually overcame the threat of these visions and provided a blueprint for reform in nonmarket economies. This was achieved not through unbridled capitalism but by combining the efficiency and growth potential of markets with government policies to promote greater equality of opportunity and outcome. Following on the heels of economic reform, rapid catch-up growth in countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, and Poland helped to reduce global inequality.

At a time when inequality is on the rise in nations as disparate as the United States and Egypt, Pomfret’s interpretation of how governments of market economies faced the challenges of the twentieth century is both instructive and cautionary.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This in-depth history examines economic growth over two centuries from a global perspective, outlining relationships between economic perspectives, governmental policymaking, monetary systems, marketplaces, wars, and cyclic events, such as inflations and recessions. The 19th century is referred to as the "age of liberty," because both countries and individuals had great freedom to pursue profit. Pomfret (economics, Univ. of Adelaide, Australia; Regionalism in East Asia) argues that it was also marked by great inequalities between rich and poor on the national and personal levels. The 20th century, the author explains, was characterized by the rise and collapse of central government planning and a trend toward a more balanced distribution of income between rich and poor countries and people. Especially interesting is Pomfret's discussion of the history of the gold standard and its relationship to economic growth and equality, which is relevant in light of the current economic climate. The book is complemented by a glossary and an extensive notes and references section. VERDICT Because of its academic approach, this work is suitable for scholarly research and for readers with a background and interest in economic history. Recommended.—Caroline Geck, M.L.S., Newark, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674063303
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 11/29/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 296
  • File size: 902 KB

Meet the Author

Richard Pomfret is Professor of Economics at the University of Adelaide.
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