Monday, October 10, 2011

The West's 'killer apps' and the ending of poverty

Around 1800 the wealth of Europe,  then the whole of the West, suddenly began to grow faster than that of the rest of the world. Apparently economic historians call this 'the great divergence'. Historian Niall Ferguson, in his TED talk suggests 6 'Killer apps' of prosperity:

  1. Competition
  2. The Scientific Revolution
  3. Property Rights
  4. Modern Medicine
  5. The Consumer Society
  6. The Work ethic

He calls them 'apps' because they look simple, are complex, but are universally applicable -- a universally applicable solution to poverty. As they are taken up around the world, the great divergence ends; mothers and babies live, nobody starves, life gets easier. Nice.