, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 142–153 | Cite as

Seltene Erfolge, viele Fehlschläge und aufhaltsame Fortschritte. Reflexionen zu David Landes’ opus magnum Wohlstand und Armut der Nationen

  • Dieter Senghaas

Rare cases of success, many failures, and reluctant progress. Reflexions on David Landes’ The Wealth and Poverty of Nations


David Landes is, without any doubt, one of the outstanding contemporary economic historians. In his opus magnum he intends to write about nothing less than “world history”. The major questions he tackles is why some nations are so rich and some so poor. Across continents and countries a huge amount of empirical evidence is mobilized. There emerges one key explanatory perspective: To be rich or to remain poor very much depends on your own efforts, particularly on the promotion of human capital, itself dependent on cultural milieus and social structures. But there is one striking deficiency in this argument: The world as such: its stratification, its interdependencies and dependency structures as well as their impact on the probability of late development do not show up in the argument.


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Copyright information

© VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften/Wiesbaden 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dieter Senghaas

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