I have very few books in my office, which is quite small, but in pride of place
on my reference shelf stands Angus Maddison’s masterful reference work "The
World Economy". No one has spent more time or effort trying to put
together reliable economic statistics for different parts of the world over
the past thousand years (!), and the results are invaluable.
Now comes news
that Maddison’s "Contours
of the World Economy 1-2030 AD: Essays in Macro-Economic History" is
being released in November. This book is just as ambitious as his last, drier,
tome, and looks to be aiming at Jared Diamond territory:
This book seeks to identify the forces which explain how and why some parts
of the world have grown rich and others have lagged behind. Encompassing 2000
years of history, part 1 begins with the Roman Empire and explores the key
factors that have influenced economic development in Africa, Asia, the Americas
and Europe. Part 2 covers the development of macroeconomic tools of analysis
from the 17th century to the present. Part 3 looks to the future and considers
what the shape of the world economy might be in 2030. Combining both the close
quantitative analysis for which Professor Maddison is famous with a more qualitative
approach that takes into account the complexity of the forces at work, this
book provides students and all interested readers with a totally fascinating
overview of world economic history.
I can’t wait.