Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy

Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy

Paperback (02 Aug 2018)

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Publisher's Synopsis

Based on the series produced for the BBC World Service

Who thought up paper money? How did the contraceptive pill change the face of the legal profession? Why was the horse collar as important for human progress as the steam engine? How did the humble spreadsheet turn the world of finance upside-down?

The world economy defies comprehension. A continuously-changing system of immense complexity, it offers over ten billion distinct products and services, doubles in size every fifteen years, and links almost every one of the planet's seven billion people. It delivers astonishing luxury to hundreds of millions. It also leaves hundreds of millions behind, puts tremendous strains on the ecosystem, and has an alarming habit of stalling. Nobody is in charge of it. Indeed, no individual understands more than a fraction of what's going on.
How can we make sense of this bewildering system on which our lives depend?

From the tally-stick to Bitcoin, the canal lock to the jumbo jet, each invention in Tim Harford's fascinating new book has its own curious, surprising and memorable story, a vignette against a grand backdrop. Step by step, readers will start to understand where we are, how we got here, and where we might be going next.

Hidden connections will be laid bare: how the barcode undermined family corner shops; why the gramophone widened inequality; how barbed wire shaped America. We'll meet the characters who developed some of these inventions, profited from them, or were ruined by them. We'll trace the economic principles that help to explain their transformative effects. And we'll ask what lessons we can learn to make wise use of future inventions, in a world where the pace of innovation will only accelerate.

About the Publisher

Abacus

Abacus

Abacus is home to some of the world?s most renowned authors, including Donna Tartt, Gore Vidal, Jane Gardam, Primo Levi and Beryl Bainbridge. In 2013, we celebrated our 40th anniversary with the reissue of 18 of our classic books ? a wonderfully diverse collection ranging from Douglas Coupland?s Generation X and Iain Banks? The Wasp Factory, to Tom Holland?s Rubicon and Alexander McCall Smith?s The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Originally a non-fiction list with something of an ecological flavour, Abacus has evolved over the years to become one of the most renowned homes for quality fiction and non-fiction, and one with a particularly strong tradition in bestselling memoirs, notably Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom and historian William Woodruff's double No. 1 bestsellers The Road to Nab End and Beyond Nab End. Our non-fiction publishing grew further with the publication of books by some of the most influential writers in their fields, such as Tim Harford, Gillian Tett and Tom Holland, and our fiction publishing continues to go from strength to strength, driven by a new generation of novelists like Kevin Maher and A. D. Miller, who sit alongside global bestsellers like Anita Shreve and Candace Bushnell.

Book information

ISBN: 9780349142630
Publisher: Little, Brown
Imprint: Abacus
Pub date:
DEWEY: 338.064
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Number of pages: 343
Weight: 278g
Height: 159mm
Width: 149mm
Spine width: 23mm