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ISBN: 0472110977Издательство: University of Michigan Press
One of Julian Simon's last works-in-progress--cut short just before completion by his death in early 1998-- The Great Breakthrough and Its Cause explores the question of why human progress accelerated in Western Europe starting around 1750. Why did life expectancy, the household consumption level, speeds of travel and communication, the literacy rate, and other aspects of the standard of living leap above those in the previous centuries and millennia? What forces caused this extraordinary development to occur when it did--or even to occur at all--rather than centuries or millennia earlier or later? Simon answers this question by arguing persuasively that the total quantity of humanity--and the nexus of human numbers with technology--has been the main driving force behind what he calls "Sudden Modern Progress." Further, he continues, if population numbers had risen more rapidly than they did, the "Great Breakthrough" would have occurred earlier. He also asserts...