Browsing All Posts published on »September, 2012«

Why Europe is not China

September 29, 2012 by


Some months ago I posted a blog on the role of geography in history, in which I discussed the Continental Axes argument of Jared Diamond. I found it a highly productive idea – literally so, because it prompted us to collect data to test empirically a particular extension of the argument. But, as I said […]

Inequality of Wealth. Inequality of Health.

September 22, 2012 by


Two interesting news were reported this week. Forbes Magazine reported that the net worth of the wealthiest 400 Americans increased by 13 percent compared to last year. This is hardly surprising, since the magnitude of the top fortunes have been growing rapidly over the last 30 years. The second news, reported by New York Times’ […]

Agriculture and Social Complexity. Durations and productivities of farming: a Sufficient Explanation for the Rise of Large-Scale Societies?

September 18, 2012 by


I have just concluded a very intense ‘micro-workshop’ (only five participants) that I convened in Storrs over the weekend. We have been brainstorming to develop approaches to estimating crop productivities in historical societies going all the way back to the rise of agriculture. Ultimately, we would like to construct a historical GIS of crop productivities. […]

Joseph Stiglitz. The Price of Inequality. Cultural Evolution. The Evolution Institute

September 13, 2012 by


I am about two-thirds of my way through the latest book by Joseph Stiglitz, The Price of Inequality. Stiglitz is a recipient of the Nobel prize in Economics and a former chief economist of the World Bank. But he is not a traditional economist. First, unlike most academic economists Stiglitz is sympathetic to Leftist ideas. […]

The Dark Matter of Evolution

September 8, 2012 by


The scientific community is abuzz with the publication of 30 articles in Nature and other journals (Genome Research and Genome Biology) resulting from the Encode project. As Gina Kolata reports in New York Times, The human genome is packed with at least four million gene switches that reside in bits of DNA that once were […]

Psychohistory and Cliodynamics

September 3, 2012 by


I am often asked by people who first encounter Cliodynamics whether I read Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, and what is the relationship between Asimov’s Psychohistory and Cliodynamics. I read Foundation some 35 years ago, and it left quite an impression. I actually begin my popular book War and Peace and War by referring to Hari Seldon […]


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