Loknath Rao, a regular friend of this blog, sent me the following TED video with the comment, “Precisely your views. Thought you would like it.” Here it is for your delight.
Some of the ideas that Ferguson talks about are covered quite well in Gregory Clark’s A Farewell to Alms, a book that I’d used in the economic development class I taught this Summer at UC Berkeley. (For the curious, the Econ171 class blog may be of interest.)
Ferguson talks about “natural experiments” of the kind that were conducted in the two Germanies, and the two Koreas, after the second world war. One side got communism and the other capitalism. The resulting divergence speaks for the failure of one and the success of the other.
There is a similar natural experiment in the Indian subcontinent. It began in earnest after the British left in 1947 and the preliminary results are in but the end game — easily predicted — will take another decade or so. The end result will be the final proof that Islam as an ideology is a well-rounded failure in economic and sociological terms. The great divergence is not just limited to economic ideologies; religious ideologies matter more than what most observers are willing (or allowed) to admit.