...the causes of wealth an poverty of nations - the grand object of all enquiries in Political Economy. (Malthus to Ricardo in 1817)

This book from a historian can teach many modern-day economist a lot of lessons. Landes starts in the middle ages to tell the tale of technological progress - and of why some countries were left behind. From the invention of spectacles (doubles the working life of a skilled craftsman) to the decline of Great Britain he spans centuries, takes us on the exploration of the New World and explains why the Industrial Revolution took place where it did. Ever thought of what difference the immigration of whole families (North America) or only young catholic males (South America) in the 19th century makes for today's situation in the two parts of America (page 311)?