I just finished reading A Farewell to Alms because Tyler Cowen told me to. It was dense. It was interesting at times, but not as intersting as I’d hoped. Nor did it delivered the promised explanation for the divergence in wealth across countries since the industrial revolution.

The jist of the book (stop reading here if you’re going to read the book): before the industrial revolution, technological gains lead to larger populations, not richer ones. The industrial revolution happened, but it was more gradual and diffuse than is normally assumed. After the industrial revolution, people in some parts of the world got a lot richer, and some didn’t get any richer, and some might be poorer. The reason some are poorer is probably due to lower output per worker, but there’s no good explanation why. If I misintepreted the book, I apologize to Mr. Clark. If I didn’t I just savedd you 370 or so pages of reading. Your welcome.

I do like Mr. Cowen’s idea of blog book discussion, but I hope he picks something more interesting next time.