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Civilization

Niall Ferguson

If, in 1420, you cd have taken a trip down the Yangzi River in China and the Thames in England, you wd have been struck by the contrast.

The Yangzi was part of a vast waterway complex that linked Beijing Nanjing and Hangzhou, and enabled 12000 grain barges a year to sail up and down the Grand Canal. In 1420 Nanjing was biggest city in world with nearly 1m people. In contrast the Thames and London, though a busy port, was crude and primitive. The place was a stinking death trap, with no sewage disposal system (the Chinese collected everything for fertilizer)Until 1800, average life expectancy was 37.

Europe's path to the Scientific Revn and the Enlightenment based on fundamental Christian tenet that Church and State shd be separate. Matthew's injunction "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that God's." is radically different to the Koran, which insists on the indivisibility of God's law as revealed to the Prophet.

More books on Religion

Why did North America prosper and South America dwindle? The difference is the foundation of the rule of law - the sanctity of individual freedom and security of private property rights, ensured by representative, constitutional govt

More books on Politics

Winston Churchill's definition of 'civiliization':

It means a society based on the opinion of civilians. It means that violence, the rule of warriors and despotic chiefs ... give way to parliaments where laws are made, and independent courts of justice in which over long periods those laws are maintained."










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