The Journey of Humanity: The Origins of Wealth and Inequality

Dutton. Mar. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9780593185995. $28. HIST
In 1798, British economist Thomas Malthus proposed a strikingly pessimistic theory about social progress: humanity, he argued, would never be able to rise above mere subsistence for long because for every advancement in production, the resulting population growth would soon outpace available resources, resulting in population decline and a return to square one. But, as economist Galor (Brown Univ.) notes in his sweeping new history of wealth, production, and inequality, Malthus was right about the past and dead wrong about the future. Broadly, Galor sets out to answer why, after thousands of years, humanity was in fact finally able to escape the “poverty trap.” More importantly, he seeks to understand why some nations and people have been able to thrive and produce monumental gains in material wealth while many others are little better off than they were 200 or 2,000 years ago. While engaging, the author’s compression of his decades of anthropological, sociological, and economic research into a slim volume may leave some readers wanting more context.
VERDICT Readers of Big Science and Big History will like this wide-angle look at one of humanity’s most persistent and dangerous problems.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing