This fascinating book provides a fully integrated explanation of the history of the modern world. Although the sheer complexity of society requires that it be studied from the standpoint of several social sciences (including Economics, Political Science, Sociology and Anthropology), using only the tools of just one of these is an obstacle to understanding the whole society, where social, economic and political conditions are interacting all the time. The book explains why and how modern communities have evolved from their pre-modern, Ancien regime, states in the early eighteenth century, to the early twenty-first century, where economic development had reached unprecedented levels. It shows that political revolutions have preceded economic revolutions, rather than the reverse, although there is a considerable degree of interaction between macroeconomic and political variables. Economic histories of the period neglect non-economic factors such as political and legal institutions, which from a wide perspective have a powerful impact on economic developments. The complexity of the world and of the times in which we live is overwhelming and growing. Professor Tortella provides an international approach and combines economic and social analysis with political, cultural, and scientific issues. Topics covered include: the Industrial Revolution capitalism and the West the First and Second World War the rise of communism and the era of Stalin the US depression and the Gold Standard social and class struggle

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