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An Economic History of the World since 1400 Lecture

An Economic History of the World since 1400

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Publisher's Summary

Most of us have a limited understanding of the powerful role economics has played in shaping human civilization. This makes economic history - the study of how civilizations structured their environments to provide food, shelter, and material goods - a vital lens through which to think about how we arrived at our present, globalized moment.

Designed to fill a long-empty gap in how we think about modern history, these 48 lectures are a comprehensive journey through more than 600 years of economic history, from the medieval world to the 21st century. Aimed at the layperson with only a cursory understanding of the field, An Economic History of the World since 1400 reveals how economics has influenced (and been influenced by) historical events and trends, including the Black Death, the Age of Exploration, the Industrial Revolution, the European colonization of Africa, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the birth of personal computing. Professor Harreld has crafted a riveting, centuries-long story of power, glory, and ideology that reveals how, in step with history, economic ideas emerged, evolved, and thrived or died.

Along the way, you'll strengthen your understanding of a range of economic concepts, philosophies, trends, treaties, and organizations, including the mercantile system, Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, Marxist economics, African independence movements, and the formation of economic organizations including the European Union. You'll also consider provocative questions about the intersection of history and economics. What did the economies of Roosevelt's America and Hitler's Germany have in common? What does history tell us about how nations should dictate economic policy? Can we say that free trade is truly free?

Marvel at just how much we still have to learn about the economic forces that have dictated our past - and that will dictate our future.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2016 The Great Courses (P)2016 The Teaching Company, LLC

What Members Say

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Performance
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  •  
    Mr. S. Peacock 15/04/2017
    Mr. S. Peacock 15/04/2017 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Superb narrative and intriguing perspectives"
    What made the experience of listening to An Economic History of the World since 1400 the most enjoyable?

    The title could be misleading, because it is neither purely economics-based, nor is it correspondingly dry. Instead, it focusses on a range of technological developments that enhanced the economic advantages of different nation-states etc. at key points in history.

    As a result, you're learning about exactly why the fortunes of nations were influenced by discoveries and innovations over hundreds of years.

    There's a lot of wisdom in here, and even as an engineer, I found myself learning a lot about previous tech developments and appreciating how important they really were.

    My favourite moment was the description of Germany's economy before the Nazi party started to gain power, truly fascinating - providing you don't already have the insight of course.

    Whether you're in business, education, politics or needing to become well-rounded from any discipline such as economics, this is a must listen and is in my top three audiobooks. I doubt you'd get the broadness of perspective from studying economics alone, nor the same rigour from reading non-academic literature.

    Additionally, the narrative is pitched correctly, it rarely gets tiring and maintains your attention. My acid test is can I maintain my attention whilst driving and this passes.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simon Davidson 27/03/2017
    Simon Davidson 27/03/2017 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Quite interesting but narrator lets his personal views get in the way"

    This was so far so good in til we arrived at the 20th century, but then the author let his personal views take over. Apparently the television was not invented by John Logie Baird, but by someone I've never heard of.

    I did find the explanation of the birth of the EU very interesting. I agree with the author that the failure of the UK to join in 1957 was the gravest error made by the UK since WW2 and the chapter on American exceptionism is also interesting as this is a viewpoint we don't see in Europe.

    However I was expecting a less biased approach.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dp litchfield 25/02/2017
    dp litchfield 25/02/2017 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "I enjoyed this"

    obviously this can only scratch the surface of the vast subject it is trying to cover. but it was a great introduction and I will definitely look out for another great course

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 30/11/2016 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
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    54
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    "buy, listen, learn."

    very well researched, excellent presentation. and it does indeed has a scope of 600 years. I really recommend this book to people who want to understand history, other people and themselves, even, better.

    13 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DaveW 26/11/2016
    DaveW 26/11/2016 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "So "Europe is parochial" & every else is wondrous?"
    What would have made An Economic History of the World since 1400 better?

    A neutral view of the world. This lecturer is a cultural Marxist and delighted at every instance in cultural self loathing. He should reflect on George Orwell's comments on the English intelligentsia and stealing for a poor box. Had he been present at the 1933 Oxford Union King of Country debate, he'd have voted in favour, to the delight of the enemies of freedom.


    What could The Great Courses have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Just make it a history, not an indoctrination. If he doesn't like anglosphere exceptionalism he should just state it plainly, get over it, and avoid mixing the message all through the text.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Just focus on what happened and the ideas of the time.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from An Economic History of the World since 1400?

    A camera close up on the author studying Cultural Marxism and his expressions of introspection.


    Any additional comments?

    Is this what passes for academia in 2016?

    54 of 96 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer 15/06/2017 Member Since 2017
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    2
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    Story
    "exciting. but maybe too broad topic."

    as a result the book hardly ever goes into any of the details and offers really only an overview of the the last 500 years from an economical perspective.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 10/06/2017 Member Since 2017
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    "Fantastic, easy to follow well written narrative"

    The narrative is very well written, intertwining successfully the happenings on a global scale. It's great that the narrative doesn't focus exclusively on European history, but touches on the influence India, China, Persia etc had. I was able to follow it legibly at 1.25x the speed.
    Overall, really recommend it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cliente de Amazon 10/05/2017 Member Since 2017
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    2
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    "Just Like Economy.. a bit tedious"
    What did you like best about An Economic History of the World since 1400? What did you like least?

    It is a book which in fact, goes above and beyond on the modern society times to explain the economy history, it does touch base and relates with very iconic moments in human history, and the music to breakdown between chapters is somehow nice.
    The book is a bit messy in terms of actually putting breaks or defining phases of history and changes, it goes to broad that entangles some concepts and it's complicated to follow at times or to recap.


    Would you be willing to try another book from The Great Courses? Why or why not?

    Maybe, probably it was just the subject


    What about Professor Donald J. Harreld’s performance did you like?

    He was good


    Was An Economic History of the World since 1400 worth the listening time?

    75% yes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew MelbourneAustralia 01/04/2017
    Andrew MelbourneAustralia 01/04/2017 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very good summary recent economic history
    Andrew "

    Excellent description and explanation of the last few centuries of economic development. Digestible and clear.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    justin 20/03/2017
    justin 20/03/2017 Member Since 2017
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    REVIEWS
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    "A great journey through time"

    a wonderfully told story of the economic history of the world.
    so many insights into the past which explain so much about the world today. and
    with a length of 24 hours it's great value
    and I would definitely enjoyed hearing again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Tristan
    10/11/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slightly incoherent"

    I wish prof. Harreld would drop the written lecture and just talk about the subject he loves.

    As it is, by apparently reading verbatim, he somehow has the worst of both worlds. On the one hand, his delivery sounds stilted and he garbles the meaning of sentences in an effort to sound natural. He refers to "extraordinary taxes," like they were HUGE, but in the next sentence it becomes clear he had meant the word in the legalistic sense of "extra-ordinary," as in ad-hoc. The listener is repeatedly thrown off-course and has to catch back up.

    On the other hand, writing the lecture out hasn't contributed structure or coherence. He jumps back and fourth between times and subjects, introduces big thoughts only to abandon them, fails to wrap up themes or tie events back to his central ideas.

    In short, I couldn't finish it. I got to the opening of global shipping lanes and jumped ship.

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • Rick
    27/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good content, tough to listen"

    If you're going to invest this kind of time into a subject you are obviously interested in it or at the very least, you are curious about it. In that regard, the audio book is interesting and educational. The narrator is tough to listen to. so many mistakes and miscues. How can The Great Courses not edit their audio books? Very disappointing as it took away from the content.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • P. Smith
    wyoming
    12/01/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Courses...NOT!"
    What would have made An Economic History of the World since 1400 better?

    Actually discussing some economics. This author seems not to have any desire to discuss anything but preaching the dogma of Keynesian theory


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    No idea, but non fiction


    What three words best describe Professor Donald J. Harreld’s performance?

    Biased, boring, simplistic


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Anger, disappointment


    Any additional comments?

    So much lacking. So much misinformation. Example: he righty states that the British starved the Indian subcontinent for their cash crops, but when they did the same to the Irish, he blames the Irish, not mentioning that there was plenty of food to feed the Irish but it was shipped back to England to make whiskey and rye. nor that the British. we're determined to depopulate Ireland. he seems never to have heard of many of The economists of the 19th and twentieth century, Schopenhauer, Von Mises, Von Hayek, Rothbard, etc. These economists don't fit his world view that governments should control all things economic. he lauds the Soviet Union for its " progressive" economics, failing to mention the millions deliberately starved to death by these policies.
    I have been listening to great courses for at least 30 years, since the days of cassette tapes. Never before have I been completely disappointed. this is NOT a great course. This's is not even a mediocre course. this is economic brainwashing 101

    19 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • George H.
    San Francisco
    19/09/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wish I'd Taken This Class As an Undergrad!"
    Any additional comments?

    Excellent introductory survey. The half-hour lecture format limits in-depth discussions, but the author packs a lot into each session. Some coverage of non-Euro cultures such as China and Japan as well as the expected chapters on the textile industry, Industrial Revolution, Finance Capitalism, etc.
    This is an inspiring undergrad-level course I wish had been offered when i was in school.

    17 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • CollegeKidReviews
    28/11/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Studying computer science"

    As a computer science student I want to know more about the decisions that brought our economic system to its current state. This book is a great early step.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Los Angeles, CA United States
    29/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "great book"

    learned more about economics from this book than i did in my 4 years studying econ in college

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Cliente de Kindle
    27/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Magnificent"

    This is an extraordinary history of the World. It is much more than an Economic History. It has Political, Social and Racial insights.

    One of the best books. I'm listening to it again!!!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Mutant Daddy
    USA
    05/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Repetitive in the Extreme"

    A basic history, which is fine. The professor repeats himself so many times that after awhile the listener can predict the exact phrase coming based on the what has been heard before.

    In short, far too much filler in the Parmesan...

    13 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • Elle
    Southern California
    02/06/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It took me a LONG TIME to finish"

    It's a very general overview of history to illustrate some major economic terms and concepts as well as discuss how important economies of history were developed and maintained. It definitely overlaps with other history books I've read like The Silk Roads and that's a good thing. It just covers a broad time frame from colonialism to the computer age chapter by chapter. Interesting, but you may want to give up halfway through.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Greg
    14/12/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "enlightening!"
    What made the experience of listening to An Economic History of the World since 1400 the most enjoyable?

    I thought it was a fair depiction of the evolution of the economic history of man.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I like how the author smoothly connects every period to the next


    What does Professor Donald J. Harreld bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    i wouldn't know because i didn't trying reading it


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    the economic journey of man


    Any additional comments?

    his voice is boring because the text is very academic and boring and lacks emotion but it is still educational and enlightening nevertheless

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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