Conuests and Cultures An International History MOBI ò

Conuests and Cultures An International History MOBI ò

Conuests and Cultures An International History ❮PDF / Epub❯ ☉ Conuests and Cultures An International History ✩ Author Thomas Sowell – This book is the culmination of 15 years of research and travels that have taken the author completely around the world twice as well as on other travels in the Mediterranean the Baltic and around the Cultures An Kindle ´ This book is the culmination of years of research and travels that have taken the author completely around the world twice as well as on other travels in the Mediterranean the Baltic and around Conuests and MOBI :å the Pacific rim Its purpose has been to try to understand the role of cultural differences within nations and between nations today and over centuries of history in shaping the economic and social fates of peoples and Cultures An PDF/EPUB ¶ and of whole civilizations Focusing on four major cultural areasthat of the British the Africans including the African diaspora the Slavs of Eastern Europe and the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere Conuests and Cultures reveals patterns that encompass not only these peoples but others and help explain the role of cultural evolution in economic social and political development.

10 thoughts on “Conuests and Cultures An International History

  1. Charles J Charles J says:

    Last month in December 2016 maybe as a Christmas gift to himself Thomas Sowell announced that he was retiring Technically he announced that he was retiring from writing a syndicated column but at age 86 it seems likely that he does not intend to write any new books either This is unfortunate but his work is done There can be little doubt that Sowell’s many works taken together by themselves would be adeuate to educate someone raised by wolves on everything a person needs to know about economics political economy and much of history“Conuests And Cultures” first published nearly twenty years ago is the third in Thomas Sowell’s trilogy on the role of culture in world history the others being “Race and Culture” and “Migrations and Cultures” I have not read the other two; according to Sowell; they were originally one book which grew beyond its original scope and had to be split Sowell here focuses on conuests usually by force as conuest has affected world cultures In the earlier books he focused not on force but on the effects of race and migration although Sowell notes of course that history doesn’t divide neatly into each bucket so lines have to be drawn to guide analysis and discussionI was somewhat frustrated by this book It’s extremely well written as one would expect from a Sowell work it’s interesting and it conveys unbiased information in organized service of coherent themes On the other hand it covers such extensive ground through time and space that it feels sometimes like it’s constituted of strung together bits of brief history about different areas of the world Moreover if you read enough of Sowell’s culturehistory books many of the same themes tend to crop up as in other of his works and that’s true of this book Frankly most of the key elements of this book are contained in Sowell’s 2015 book “Wealth Poverty and Politics An International Perspective” but with pithiness and power in that book I think of Sowell’s culturehistory books as opposed to ones relating to economics or to the analysis of political theory and practice “Wealth Poverty and Politics” is best—it is the pinnacle of his work a synthesis of everything The first edition from 2015 is better than the second edition from 2016 The casual reader is probably best off just reading that book That’s not to say this book is bad—it’s not But of Sowell’s culturehistory books it added the least to my store of knowledge given what I had already readSowell begins by laying out his framework Really he set himself a daunting task because he basically proposes to provide both a history of the world in these three books and a set of general explanations for why things are the way they are That’s easy for a Marxist or anybody else whose ideology offers easy answers to all ultimate uestions But Sowell is the very opposite—throughout his career he has hewed to the “constrained vision” in which reality is what matters perfection is impossible and all choices involved tradeoffs It’s simple enough at least for Sowell with his command of the material to defend his key explanation that culture matters because it’s the major determinant of human capital—that is of behaviors of individuals and societies that create value which behaviors collectively therefore largely determine the success of a society But there are so many threads to culture and to human capital that as I say the task is dauntingNonetheless Sowell manages it admirably As he weaves his analysis and explanation throughout time and space one theme is that he opposes both biological determinism and the idea that all people are the same in all ways that matter such that what happens to them is due to external forces “It is not racial or ethnic distinctions as such which have proven to be momentous but cultural distinctions whether associated with race with geographical origins or with other factors The tendency to explain intergroup differences in a given society by the way that particular society treats those groups ignores the fact that differences between groups themselves have been the rule not the exception in countries around the world and down through history” A second theme is that cultures necessarily change over time due to diffusion from conuest or otherwise—celebrating an idealized culture for itself is silly since it is not the same culture as it was and you are probably celebrating an imaginary thing usually in service of some retrograde political or ideological ambition A third theme is that unlike migration which tends to transfer those aspects of culture that adapt and work best conuest can be either a net benefit or a net harm to the conuered and always has some negative impact basically by definition by means of increasing or decreasing the human capital of the conuered And throughout the book is the thread that while culture matters to a society’s success other things matter too especially environmental factors disease geography etc—but that none of those are deterministic either“Conuests and Cultures” examines four different cultures elements of each of which experienced various forms of conuest and conuered others the British; the Africans; the Slavs; and Western Hemisphere Indians The usual modern narrative of conuest mentions the first only in the context of Rome; doesn’t mention the third except rarely and in specialist circles; and focuses on Africans and Indians with a simplistic narrative of heroic virtuous happy peaceful indigenous people brutally subjugated and exploited by the West Sowell instead shows how conuest affected each culture and elements within each culture and offers a much nuanced picture—including ascribing failed modern day cultures generally not to their earlier conuest but to their own cultural failings In some ways this analysis is like Francis Fukuyama’s later analysis which suggests that the post colonial path of countries depends largely on their pre colonial structures not on their colonial experienceAs to the British Sowell covers successive conuests—the Romans various Germanic tribes the Normans He covers the Great Divergence—how Britain raced ahead of the world without ascribing it to any one cause But he notes that it’s indisputable that by the 19th Century Britain had developed enormous human capital much of it derived from successfully integrating after each conuest elements of the conuering culture without excessive destruction of the pre existing society England also integrated through absorption the best elements of immigrant cultures and benefited from England’s geographic position and features such a water transport a freuent Sowell theme Most of this focuses on England proper though—not Wales Scotland and Ireland to which he then turnsAs to Wales Sowell uses it to introduce another theme in the book—the differential impact of conuest depending on the degree and areas of control by the conuerors “Where the conueror has been organizationally or technologically advanced those portions of the conuered country which were subjugated earliest and most thoroughly have tended to become—and remain—the most advanced regions even in countries which later regained their independence” To this day much of Wales remains backward and the removed from English domination the backward Sowell attributes this to Welsh culture which lacks human capital in that it is not entrepreneurial but rather has created an educated class that “has a vested interest in promoting intergroup resentment and strife using the symbols of identity and of historic oppression to gain current political ends even at the expense of creating a climate unfavorable to either indigenous or foreign entrepreneurship” Throughout the book Sowell adduces many places around the world generally with a history of colonialism that have this same crippling defectSowell contrasts Wales with Scotland—also partially conuered and also very backwards in its unconuered areas but which instead developed an open entrepreneurial can do culture at its peak in the Scottish Enlightenment where a tiny unpopulous country provided a startling number of advances and key thinkers in the building of the modern worldFinally Sowell flips the focus from conuests of Britain to Britain’s conuests of others While he does not sugarcoat the evils of British imperialism he clearly believes as any sensible person does that while Britain did not benefit economically overall from imperialism sorry Karl the beneficial impact in the long term on Britain’s colonies themselves was immense For example new technology brought by Britain immensely benefited food production everywhere the British ruled—and just as importantly the peace brought allowed the colonized peoples to grow food “in fertile but militarily indefensible areas where it would have been foolhardy to plant before More generally confidence that an investment of labor and resources could claim its reward—whether at harvest time or when dividends were issued years later—has been crucial to the economic efforts which create national prosperity The security and stability provided by British colonial governments also made possible large scale immigrations of foreign peoples ”And it wasn’t just food “Freedom wherever it exists in the world today owes much to developments in Britain” That is in essence the rule of law was given to British colonies which are largely successful today to the extent they absorbed British culture and thereby increased their human capital Not to mention it was Britain and Britain alone that abolished slavery in much of the world imposing its will wherever its rule held sway another action that dramatically increased the ability of colonized cultures to increase their human capital Implicit in this analysis though is that the pre existing cultures were inferior to British culture and improved by colonialism That’s hard to dispute or to dispute other than by shrieking “racist colonialist imperialist pig” but eually hard for people today raised on a thin gruel of bogus “multiculturalism” and belief in the inherent virtue of primitive cultures to accept Not that Sowell cares; as always he’s just looking for the truth as it can be objectively demonstrated to all listenersSowell next turns to Africa or precisely sub Saharan Africa he ignores the Maghreb which seems to me to be a mistake given that it would provide a counterpoint to Roman Britain Here Sowell puts great emphasis on geography as a barrier to the growth of human capital in contrast to Britain Large areas of desert; few deep water ports; terrain features; and most of all rivers generally unsuited for commercial use resulted in fragmented societies with little human capital which meant an inability to resist both “territorial conuests and massive enslavement” Of course most of the enslavement was either of Africans by each other or of Africans selling each other to Westerners to Muslims than Europeans though many millions to both Conuests both internally by Westerners and by Arabs brought benefits as well as horrors Sowell focuses on differential human capital within Nigeria brought about largely by differential impacts of British colonialism in which different local cultures either were directly affected or not and either took advantage of what the British had to offer or did not But when the British left despite civil war and corruption Nigeria managed to hold on to much of the good things the British offered thereby increasing the net human capital of the country Sowell then evaluates Tanzania Ghana and the Ivory Coast through a similar lensNext discussing the Slavs Sowell further expands his analysis of human capital to note that using cultural transfers from Western Europe the Slavs were able to advance their cultures far from their primitive beginnings—but always remained behind the rest of Europe in their human capital as shown by their relative economic backwardness Sowell evaluates the various cultures among the Slavs their characteristics and their reactions to conuest and their conuests of others And Sowell finishes with the American Indians in North and South America similarly evaluating a variety of very different cultures within that broad groupingSowell ends by summarizing not only this book but his entire trilogy He discusses “Differences In Wealth Production” ascribing them unsurprisingly primarily to the human capital of each society He notes that the reason that Western Europe recovered so rapidly after World War Two was not the Marshall Plan though it helped accelerate the rebuilding but that the human capital of those societies was extremely high and not destroyed He trashes the theory that exploitation of colonized society by imperialist powers is the cause of the rampant failure among those post colonial states noting “if ‘exploitation’ theories were as widely applicable as supposed then the dissolution of empires should lead to rising standards of living among the formerly conuered and presumably exploited peoples Yet history repeatedly shows the opposite happening” Similarly when the Roman Imperium left Europe societies decayed as the human capital left along with the Empire “Once again the mundane reality is that productivity creates wealth so that trade with and investment in productive countries is a far important source of wealth than ‘exploitation’ of the Third World”Sowell also discusses “negative human capital”—that sometimes or often eg in Wales the elites decide to use resentment for political advancement which necessarily retards a society’s development and enhancement of human capital since rather than focusing on what needs to be done and improved the society tends to turn inward reliving past alleged glories and focusing on supposed ways others have kept them down or not so supposed in some cases but in any event the past is not something that can be changed Similarly when a rising society diverts the education of its elite by creating “soft subject intellectuals” such as lawyers poets or devotees of Marxist theory rather than experts in subjects such as medicine or engineering necessary to build cultural capital bad things happen—especially for example as in Malaysia when a minority the Chinese there study hard topics and advance while the majority indigenous people wallow in self pity and identity studiesSowell concludes by sharply criticizing most current use of racism as an explanation for cultural differences and in particular criticizing the deliberate failure to adeuately define what racism is and even worse re defining it in an incoherent and ahistorical way as to claim that racism is based on supposed power relationships “That this new and self serving escape hatch remained largely unchallenged has been one index of the level of moral intimidation surrounding racial issues In the ordinary sense of the word minorities of all colors have shown themselves capable of as vicious racism as anybody whether in or out of power” “’Racism’ as a blanket explanation of intergroup differences is not simply an over rated explanation It is itself a positive hindrance to a focus on the acuisition of human capital or cultural capital needed to rise economically and socially” Sadly such a message of personal and collective responsibility is even less popular today than when this book was writtenSowell’s book is timeless; nothing in it is any less true or relevant than twenty years ago In fact Sowell’s book shows the folly of today’s American and European immigration policy that admits large numbers of immigrants without reuiring them to submit to our culture and without inuiring whether their culture is inferior and should be or elements of it should be actively discouraged The wave of migrants into European countries today is a type of conuest of Europe and as Sowell shows such conuests can easily make the conuered permanently worse off as with the American Indians Sometimes the result of conuest is just a destruction of human capital notably when a superior culture is conuered and then dominated by invaders Of course here it’s only a conuest of those countries that have invited and accepted them as opposed to brave countries like Hungary that have wisely stood up against the invading tide The likely result unless Europe as a whole finds the will to resist will be a destruction of human capital on a massive scale and a resultant fall in the uality of life of those societies But as Sowell shows that won’t be the first time such a thing has happened although it'll be the first time it's happened on such a scale by a culture choosing suicide rather than being conuered Reading his book however should focus the attention of the open minded on the need to evaluate the human capital of each culture and not to assume that all cultures are of eual value whether evaluating history or the present day

  2. Vaishali Vaishali says:

    WOW Ok stop whatever you are doing grab this book and read the chapter on the Aztecs My good God Enough said This is one of the few history books possibly the only one that I will revisit numerous times because of its copious amount of info and absolute clarity Sowell is a true scholar who has woven an unbiased tapestry of human acculturation via conuest There is so so much in this book although I wish he would have also thrown some light on ancient human civilizations in general and China in particular Still this book is well worth your time Bravo

  3. Paul Clayton Paul Clayton says:

    I finished this book a couple weeks ago I'll have to say about it in the future A must read for all victims of the American Teachers Union

  4. Aditya आदित्य Aditya आदित्य says:

    I had come across Thomas Sowell on youtube a few years ago when I was in college I have watched all his interviews and I recommend the same to you The playlist is linked above Meanwhile let us try to ponder about these uestions Why does wealth vary between humans?What exactly makes a human being prosperous than another? More generally speakingHow does a group of humans race or nation outperform the rest?These are complex uestions arising out of centuries of experiences throughout the globe A unified answer to such a problem is as difficult to decipher as the theory of everything supposed to resolve the inconsistencies between theory of relativity uantum mechanics There have been attempts in the past and hypotheses are pushed to this day explaining how the human society is the way it isEugenics was based on one such theory that explained all features of the human populations as genetically inherited That died a well deserved death after the defeat of Nazi Germany More recently oppression or privilege depending on your vantage point has been believed to be the cause behind the fortunes and misfortunes of the various races that co exist in America and the whole wide world This effectively externalizes the control that people have on their lives making them puppets of someone else Also there are various ways in which this goes against biological facts by assuming human beings as a blank slateThomas Sowell in the series of three books of which this one is the last puts up a veritable theory of culture according to which the natural and social environments shape up the behaviors of people and ultimately cause the vast ineualities in all the metrics among all the different groupings Using the cases of various races as migrants refugees invaders and colonized; the books explain his thesis in a logical and unemotional fashion One feature that stands out is that instead of focusing on the cruel and atrocious outcomes of the events Sowell elaborates on the process and offers an 'economic' perspective I read these three books this year and it has been a thoroughly informative journey through centuries across continents and among diverse peoples It clearly shows that several decades of painstaking research has gone into this work I admire the author and commend his great feat

  5. John Martindale John Martindale says:

    I listened to this audiobook a few years ago while riding up to Washington DC it would definitely be worth listening to again The primary thing I still remember is how Sowell didn't only write about the bad and the ugly but also about good conseuences of Empires He says we should not do a Costbenefit analysis and claim England for example was justified in her Empire building because the goods that ultimately resulted in the nations conuered the rule of law stability greater productivity civilization etc out weighed the terrible negatives No matter how many good things result in the long run from England conuering much of the world doesn't mean they had a moral right to do so or even if one claimed they did they they did everything right But yeah in a Liberal climate it is political incorrect to even acknowledge that many places England conuered are now better off Scotland for example was completely illiterate waring tribes relentlessly butchering each other a Scottish life at the time was poor nasty brutish and short But once Scotland was conuered it wasn't long until Scotland had some of the most prestigious universities in the world and was producing the greatest intellectuals If it was not for the evil England expanding itself there wouldn't have been an Adam Smith or a David Hume But yeah it was interesting

  6. Moses Moses says:

    Great history well researched and informative I was surprised to learn that Sowell is no conservative advocating for some sort of universal culture as a remedy for backwardness where a true conservative would advocate cultural preservation of some sort

  7. An Idler An Idler says:

    The final volume of Sowell's massive trilogy on culture migration conuest and race There is much to cover even the closing summary is a two hour read Sowell's writing is dry compared to a Tom Wolfe essay as you may expect from an empirical study such as this but it is also forceful organized and mercifully clear Some parts are truly fascinating as in Sowell's dramatic narrative of Pizarro's conuest of Atahualpa's Incan empireThe basic idea is one of cultural capital that the skills values and characteristics of cultures determine those cultures' productivity and place in the world Capital can be acuired usually through diffusion and exchange between cultures or lost Because this capital is easier to lose than acuire it is a scarce resource that has never been eually distributed between all cultures at all timesIn this volume Sowell looks at the impact of conuest on human capital beginning with the Roman domination of Britain and ending with the European conuest of the Western Hemisphere The implications of these studies dispel many common assumptions about imperialism and colonialism and challenge the value laden narratives of modern Progressive histories

  8. Kent Lundgren Kent Lundgren says:

    If you want to reexamine some of your assumptions about civilizations and cultures replacing one another if you think about such things at all this is a good book for you Sowell as he is so very able to do explicates the factors that suit particular cultures for survival at particular times especially as they come into contact with other cultures He calls the cumulative mass of those factors cultural capital a good definition and one that avoids any hint of a society's intrinsic worth Kent Lundgren

  9. Phil Phil says:

    This is the history book I have been looking for all my life It provides studies of important cultures throughout history and interpretations with supporting rationale It provides a conceptual framework to help me understand where humanity has come from with supporting details for the conclusions made Thanks Mr Sowell for your enormous effort to bring the facts together in an understandable way

  10. Adam Morva Adam Morva says:

    This is how history should be taught in schoolsForget the nationalistic zeal the provincialism the acenstor worship the boring bullshit or being anal about dates that is part and parcel of virtually every education system in the world when it comes to history When Thomas Sowell teaches history he does it in an interesting way demands and supports his pages with evidence but most importantly shows you what it means to be human

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