A History of Wealth and Poverty

Why a Few Nations are Rich and Many Poor

by John P. Powelson
Emeritus Professor of Economics
University of Colorado

Title of the First Edition: Centuries of Economic Endeavor:
Parallel Paths in Japan and Europe and their Contrast with the Third World

Table of Contents:

Dedication, Foreword, Preface, Acknowledgments

  1. Durable Economic Development
  2. Japan: The Power-Diffusion Process
  3. Japan: Institutions and Economic Growth
  4. Northwestern Europe: Power, Pluralism, and Leverage
  5. Compromise in the History of Northwestern Europe
  6. Law as an Institution of Economic Growth: Europe compared to Japan
  7. Africa: Trade, Entrepreneurship, Pluralism, and Leverage
  8. Africa: Warfare, Slavery, Colonialism, and Law
  9. Africa Today
  10. India
  11. China: The Puzzles of History
  12. China: Institutions and Reform
  13. Russia: Trade, Entrepreneurship, and Institutions
  14. Russia: Five Centuries of Authoritarian Reform
  15. Spain and Portugal: Institutions, Pluralism, and Leverage
  16. Spain and Portugal: Economic Development by Reflection
  17. Mexico and Central America
  18. South America
  19. The Middle East in History
  20. The Middle East Today
  21. Novgorod, Italy, and the Four Dragons
  22. The German "Miracle"
  23. The Twenty-First Century



Index to the Print Edition

List of Appendixes

1.1: Institution Theory in Modern Economics
1.2: Game Theory
2.1: The Weakening Power of the Shogun during the Tokugawa Era (1603-1868)
4.1: Vertical Alliances and the Use of Leverage by Groups in Europe other than Peasants
4.2: Power Enhancement through Bargaining by Weaker Groups in Europe without Use of Leverage
5.1: Vertical Alliances, Negotiation, Cooperation, and Compromise in Economics and Trade in Europe
5.2: Vertical Alliances, Negotiation, Cooperation, and Compromise on Jurisdiction and Power in Europe
5.3: Negotiation, Cooperation, and Compromise on Religious Questions in Europe
7.1: Africa as a Trading Continent
7.2: African State Domination over Trade, Land, and other Resources
8.1: Precolonial Slavery in Africa
8.2: The Transition from Slavery to Cash Labor in Africa
9.1: Centralization of Power in Post-Colonial Africa and its Capricious Use
9.2: Recent African Wars and their Consequences
10.1: Endemic Low-Level Violence in India
11.1: China's Despotism and Centralization of Power
11.2: The Abundance of Land, Migratory Nature of Labor, and Small Amount of Communication among Social Classes in China
12.1: China's Legal System
12.2: Some Decisions Made by the Government of the People's Republic without Much Consultation with Those Affected
12.3: Inefficiencies in the Chinese Economy
12.4: Government-Mandated Decisions for a Freer Economy in China
12.5: Reversals of Liberalizing Policies in China
13.1: The Ulozhenie (1649) as an Instrument of Absolutism in Russia
13.2: Interest-Groups Arising after the Collapse of the Soviet Union
14.1: The Abundance of Land Relative to Labor in Russia
14.2: The Authoritarian Nature of the Russian State
14.3: The Quest for and Concentration of Power in Russia
15.1: Power of Iberian Monarchs and the State
15.2: The Quantity of Land Relative to Labor in Iberia
15.3: The Weakness of Vertical Alliances, Pluralism and Leverage in Iberia
15.4: Guilds and Corporations in Iberia
15.5: Peasant Organizations and Peasant Rebellions in Iberia
17.1: Centralization and Power Concentration in Modern Mexico
17.2: Lack of Accountability in Modern Mexico
17.3: Land, Lack of Accountability, and Break-the-System in Nicaragua
18.1: State Power and Lack of Accountability in Peru
18.2: State Power and Lack of Accountability in Brazil
18.3: Confrontation and Break-the-System in Argentina
18.4: State Power and Lack of Accountability in Argentina
19.1: Concentration of Power in the Middle East
19.2: State Control over Guilds and Corporations in the Middle East
22.1: Vertical Alliances, Pluralism, and Leverage in Germany During the High Period of the Estates, sixteenth to eighteenth centuries
22.2: The Accountability of Princes and Dukes Demanded by the German Estates
23.1: Power and Economic Distortions in the Third World Today
23.2: Structural Adjustment
23.3: Skilled versus Unskilled Labor in the United States
23.4: Political and Economic Reforms in South Africa during the 1980s/1990s
23.5: Groups and Emerging Pluralism in the Third World

Copyright © 1994 by the University of Michigan. All rights reserved. First published in the USA by the University of Michigan Press, 1994.

Published on the World Wide Web by The Quaker Economist with permission from the University of Michigan Press, 2005.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.