“Why the West Rules” – a milestone in Philosophy of History!

Posted on 04/03/2011


Ian Morris in his book “Why the West rules – for now” (2010) created something remarkable: an index of social advancement which allows us to compare societies from the past, present times and – possibly – future. The index consists of four variables: energy capture, war making capacity, organization and information technology. Apart from usefulness of the index in prognostics, he fulfilled something that other academics have not even dreamt of.

To put this thought bluntly, he accomplished something which I myself vaguely considered as a goal towards which one should tend in academic career, while studying philosophy of history.

Time to redefine the goals.

If you are least a bit interested in history, you must read this. Forget Hegel, forget the others. Morris is empirical, adequate and modest.

First of all, listen to him explaining the Grand Work on Youtube… in only 3 minutes !

If you are inclined to know more, download the detailed methodological account covering significant amounts of the book content here (PDF).

Jared Diamond said about this book:

“Here you have three books wrapped into one: an exciting novel that happens to be true; an entertaining but thorough historical account of everything important that happened to any important people in the last ten millennia; and an educated guess about what will happen in the future. Read, learn, and enjoy!”

I totally agree.