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2010年7月21日 星期三

A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World 告別施捨:世界經濟簡史

總圖4F科技資料區 HC21 C63 2007 [鄰近架位館藏] 2813314 上架中
告別施捨 世界經濟簡史 葛瑞里.克拉克(Gregory Clark)著 洪世民譯
臺北市 財信出版 聯豐總經銷 2008[民97] 初版
0691121354 (cloth : alk. paper)
Very relevant 中度相關的 條目 3-4
应该读点经济史 一部世界经济简史 A farewell to alms a brief economic history of the world (美)格里高利?$1!2v!@9!2v(Gregory Clark)著 李淑萍译
北京 中信出版社 2009
No one has rated this material 說明
告別施捨 世界經濟簡史 葛瑞里.克拉克(Gregory Clark)著 洪世民譯
臺北市 財信出版 聯豐總經銷 2008[民97] 初版
書名 A farewell to alms : a brief economic history of the world / Gregory Clark
主要作者 Clark, Gregory, 1957-
出版項 Princeton ; Oxford : Princeton University Press, c2007

In Dusty Archives, a Theory of Affluence

Published: August 7, 2007紐約時報

For thousands of years, most people on earth lived in abject poverty, first as hunters and gatherers, then as peasants or laborers. But with the Industrial Revolution, some societies traded this ancient poverty for amazing affluence.

Historians and economists have long struggled to understand how this transition occurred and why it took place only in some countries. A scholar who has spent the last 20 years scanning medieval English archives has now emerged with startling answers for both questions.

Gregory Clark, an economic historian at the University of California, Davis, believes that the Industrial Revolution — the surge in economic growth that occurred first in England around 1800 — occurred because of a change in the nature of the human population. The change was one in which people gradually developed the strange new behaviors required to make a modern economy work. The middle-class values of nonviolence, literacy, long working hours and a willingness to save emerged only recently in human history, Dr. Clark argues.

Because they grew more common in the centuries before 1800, whether by cultural transmission or evolutionary adaptation, the English population at last became productive enough to escape from poverty, followed quickly by other countries with the same long agrarian past.

Dr. Clark’s ideas have been circulating in articles and manuscripts for several years and are to be published as a book next month, “A Farewell to Alms” (Princeton University Press). Economic historians have high praise for his thesis, though many disagree with parts of it.

“This is a great book and deserves attention,” said Philip Hoffman, a historian at the California Institute of Technology. He described it as “delightfully provocative” and a “real challenge” to the prevailing school of thought that it is institutions that shape economic history.

Samuel Bowles, an economist who studies cultural evolution at the Santa Fe Institute, said Dr. Clark’s work was “great historical sociology and, unlike the sociology of the past, is informed by modern economic theory.”

The basis of Dr. Clark’s work is his recovery of data from which he can reconstruct many features of the English economy from 1200 to 1800. From this data, he shows, far more clearly than has been possible before, that the economy was locked in a Malthusian trap — each time new technology increased the efficiency of production a little, the population grew, the extra mouths ate up the surplus, and average income fell back to its former level.

This income was pitifully low in terms of the amount of wheat it could buy. By 1790, the average person’s consumption in England was still just 2,322 calories a day, with the poor eating a mere 1,508. Living hunter-gatherer societies enjoy diets of 2,300 calories or more.

“Primitive man ate well compared with one of the richest societies in the world in 1800,” Dr. Clark observes.

The tendency of population to grow faster than the food supply, keeping most people at the edge of starvation, was described by Thomas Malthus in a 1798 book, “An Essay on the Principle of Population.” This Malthusian trap, Dr. Clark’s data show, governed the English economy from 1200 until the Industrial Revolution and has in his view probably constrained humankind throughout its existence. The only respite was during disasters like the Black Death, when population plummeted, and for several generations the survivors had more to eat.

Malthus’s book is well known because it gave Darwin the idea of natural selection. Reading of the struggle for existence that Malthus predicted, Darwin wrote in his autobiography, “It at once struck me that under these circumstances favourable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavourable ones to be destroyed. ... Here then I had at last got a theory by which to work.”

Given that the English economy operated under Malthusian constraints, might it not have responded in some way to the forces of natural selection that Darwin had divined would flourish in such conditions? Dr. Clark started to wonder whether natural selection had indeed changed the nature of the population in some way and, if so, whether this might be the missing explanation for the Industrial Revolution.

The Industrial Revolution, the first escape from the Malthusian trap, occurred when the efficiency of production at last accelerated, growing fast enough to outpace population growth and allow average incomes to rise. Many explanations have been offered for this spurt in efficiency, some economic and some political, but none is fully satisfactory, historians say.

Dr. Clark’s first thought was that the population might have evolved greater resistance to disease. The idea came from Jared Diamond’s book “Guns, Germs and Steel,” which argues that Europeans were able to conquer other nations in part because of their greater immunity to disease.

In support of the disease-resistance idea, cities like London were so filthy and disease ridden that a third of their populations died off every generation, and the losses were restored by immigrants from the countryside. That suggested to Dr. Clark that the surviving population of England might be the descendants of peasants.

A way to test the idea, he realized, was through analysis of ancient wills, which might reveal a connection between wealth and the number of progeny. The wills did that, but in quite the opposite direction to what he had expected.

Generation after generation, the rich had more surviving children than the poor, his research showed. That meant there must have been constant downward social mobility as the poor failed to reproduce themselves and the progeny of the rich took over their occupations. “The modern population of the English is largely descended from the economic upper classes of the Middle Ages,” he concluded.

As the progeny of the rich pervaded all levels of society, Dr. Clark considered, the behaviors that made for wealth could have spread with them. He has documented that several aspects of what might now be called middle-class values changed significantly from the days of hunter gatherer societies to 1800. Work hours increased, literacy and numeracy rose, and the level of interpersonal violence dropped.

Another significant change in behavior, Dr. Clark argues, was an increase in people’s preference for saving over instant consumption, which he sees reflected in the steady decline in interest rates from 1200 to 1800.

“Thrift, prudence, negotiation and hard work were becoming values for communities that previously had been spendthrift, impulsive, violent and leisure loving,” Dr. Clark writes.

Around 1790, a steady upward trend in production efficiency first emerges in the English economy. It was this significant acceleration in the rate of productivity growth that at last made possible England’s escape from the Malthusian trap and the emergence of the Industrial Revolution.

In the rest of Europe and East Asia, populations had also long been shaped by the Malthusian trap of their stable agrarian economies. Their workforces easily absorbed the new production technologies that appeared first in England.

It is puzzling that the Industrial Revolution did not occur first in the much larger populations of China or Japan. Dr. Clark has found data showing that their richer classes, the Samurai in Japan and the Qing dynasty in China, were surprisingly unfertile and so would have failed to generate the downward social mobility that spread production-oriented values in England.

After the Industrial Revolution, the gap in living standards between the richest and the poorest countries started to accelerate, from a wealth disparity of about 4 to 1 in 1800 to more than 50 to 1 today. Just as there is no agreed explanation for the Industrial Revolution, economists cannot account well for the divergence between rich and poor nations or they would have better remedies to offer.

Many commentators point to a failure of political and social institutions as the reason that poor countries remain poor. But the proposed medicine of institutional reform “has failed repeatedly to cure the patient,” Dr. Clark writes. He likens the “cult centers” of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to prescientific physicians who prescribed bloodletting for ailments they did not understand.

If the Industrial Revolution was caused by changes in people’s behavior, then populations that have not had time to adapt to the Malthusian constraints of agrarian economies will not be able to achieve the same production efficiencies, his thesis implies.

Dr. Clark says the middle-class values needed for productivity could have been transmitted either culturally or genetically. But in some passages, he seems to lean toward evolution as the explanation. “Through the long agrarian passage leading up to the Industrial Revolution, man was becoming biologically more adapted to the modern economic world,” he writes. And, “The triumph of capitalism in the modern world thus may lie as much in our genes as in ideology or rationality.”

What was being inherited, in his view, was not greater intelligence — being a hunter in a foraging society requires considerably greater skill than the repetitive actions of an agricultural laborer. Rather, it was “a repertoire of skills and dispositions that were very different from those of the pre-agrarian world.”

Reaction to Dr. Clark’s thesis from other economic historians seems largely favorable, although few agree with all of it, and many are skeptical of the most novel part, his suggestion that evolutionary change is a factor to be considered in history.

Historians used to accept changes in people’s behavior as an explanation for economic events, like Max Weber’s thesis linking the rise of capitalism with Protestantism. But most have now swung to the economists’ view that all people are alike and will respond in the same way to the same incentives. Hence they seek to explain events like the Industrial Revolution in terms of changes in institutions, not people.

Dr. Clark’s view is that institutions and incentives have been much the same all along and explain very little, which is why there is so little agreement on the causes of the Industrial Revolution. In saying the answer lies in people’s behavior, he is asking his fellow economic historians to revert to a type of explanation they had mostly abandoned and in addition is evoking an idea that historians seldom consider as an explanatory variable, that of evolution.

Most historians have assumed that evolutionary change is too gradual to have affected human populations in the historical period. But geneticists, with information from the human genome now at their disposal, have begun to detect ever more recent instances of human evolutionary change like the spread of lactose tolerance in cattle-raising people of northern Europe just 5,000 years ago. A study in the current American Journal of Human Genetics finds evidence of natural selection at work in the population of Puerto Rico since 1513. So historians are likely to be more enthusiastic about the medieval economic data and elaborate time series that Dr. Clark has reconstructed than about his suggestion that people adapted to the Malthusian constraints of an agrarian society.

“He deserves kudos for assembling all this data,” said Dr. Hoffman, the Caltech historian, “but I don’t agree with his underlying argument.”

The decline in English interest rates, for example, could have been caused by the state’s providing better domestic security and enforcing property rights, Dr. Hoffman said, not by a change in people’s willingness to save, as Dr. Clark asserts.

The natural-selection part of Dr. Clark’s argument “is significantly weaker, and maybe just not necessary, if you can trace the changes in the institutions,” said Kenneth L. Pomeranz, a historian at the University of California, Irvine. In a recent book, “The Great Divergence,” Dr. Pomeranz argues that tapping new sources of energy like coal and bringing new land into cultivation, as in the North American colonies, were the productivity advances that pushed the old agrarian economies out of their Malthusian constraints.

Robert P. Brenner, a historian at the University of California, Los Angeles, said although there was no satisfactory explanation at present for why economic growth took off in Europe around 1800, he believed that institutional explanations would provide the answer and that Dr. Clark’s idea of genes for capitalist behavior was “quite a speculative leap.”

Dr. Bowles, the Santa Fe economist, said he was “not averse to the idea” that genetic transmission of capitalist values is important, but that the evidence for it was not yet there. “It’s just that we don’t have any idea what it is, and everything we look at ends up being awfully small,” he said. Tests of most social behaviors show they are very weakly heritable.

He also took issue with Dr. Clark’s suggestion that the unwillingness to postpone consumption, called time preference by economists, had changed in people over the centuries. “If I were as poor as the people who take out payday loans, I might also have a high time preference,” he said.

Dr. Clark said he set out to write his book 12 years ago on discovering that his undergraduates knew nothing about the history of Europe. His colleagues have been surprised by its conclusions but also interested in them, he said.

“The actual data underlying this stuff is hard to dispute,” Dr. Clark said. “When people see the logic, they say ‘I don’t necessarily believe it, but it’s hard to dismiss.’ ”


   2007年 > 10月 > 22日 《告別施捨:世界經濟簡史》
   Gregory Clark (2007): A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World, Princeton University Press, xii + 420pp. $29.95 cloth.
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  本書作者克拉克在經濟史學界的知名度相當高, 作品時常出現在經濟史的專業期刊上。較特殊的是,他很少用數學方程式和計量迴歸,通常只用簡單的圖表和幾何圖形就夠了。他的文章品質高又容易理 解,2005年曾以一篇論1209-2004年間英國勞動階級狀況的文章,刊在芝加哥大學出版的頂級期刊Journal of Political Economy 上,內容直接、簡單、透徹、有新意、有洞見。這是值得倣效的寫作方式:用基本的分析方法來處理普通資料,得出有意義的創見。
   本書是普林斯頓大學出版社「西方世界經濟史叢書」的第14本,中文世界對其中的第4本較熟悉:Kenneth Pomeranz的《大分流》(The Great Divergence,2000)。《告別施捨》這本書名(A Farewell to Alms),應該是倣自海明威1929年的著名半自傳體小說《戰地春夢》(A Farewell to Arms,又譯為《永別了,武器》)。對英文讀者而言,這是聽起來很熟悉的書名,但內容完全不同:世界經濟簡史。
  作者1957生 於蘇格蘭,今年正好50歲,目前是加州大學Davis校區經濟史教授兼系主任。1979年從劍橋大學畢業(主修經濟學與哲學),之後進哈佛大學經濟 系,1985年取得博士學位,之後在史丹佛和密西根大學任教。他的主要探討興趣,是「長時期」的經濟成長、國家財富的研究,主要的研究對象是英國與印度。
  本書的主旨,從書衣上的簡介,是要回答下列問題:為什麼世界上的某些地區會這麼富裕,而其他地區又那麼貧困?為什麼產業革命(伴隨著前所未 見的快速經濟成長)會發生在1800年左右的英國,而不是在其他時間或在其他地方發生?為什麼工業化不會讓整個世界都富裕起來?反而讓某些地區甚至更貧 困?分析這些深刻的問題外,本書提出引人爭辯的新論點:文化(而不是剝削或地理因素或是資賦資源的差異)才是解釋國家貧與富的重要因素。
   作者反對目前流行的看法:產業革命是在穩定的政治、法律、經濟制度下,在17世紀這短暫的期間內,爆發出來特殊現象。克拉克所提出的證據顯示,這些制度 性的因素,在工業化之前早已存在了。他的論點是:這些制度會緩慢地改變人民的文化,鼓勵百姓放棄漁獵時期的直覺性作為(暴力、無耐心、不肯努力),轉向辛 勤工作、理性化與教育。
  他認為社會必須有長期間的定居和安全性,才能發展出這些文化的特性與有效率的工作,才能讓經濟成長。對那 些沒有長時間穩定的社會,工業化是遙不可及的事。克拉克反對Jared Diamond(戴蒙)在《槍礮、細菌與鋼鐵》內的論點,說天賦資源(例如地理環境)對國家的貧富會有重要影響。
  以上這幾段話, 我認為是出自編輯人員,而非作者本人的文字,因為克拉書中的兩個關鍵性觀念並未提到:一是馬爾薩斯陷阱,二是工業生產過程中的效率問題。我對這兩項要點會 再詳述,以下說明全書的結構,以及我的閱讀角度和主要觀感。
  全書18章,除了首末的導論和結論兩章,主體的16章分成三部份:首 篇(2至9章)析論1800年之前的經濟生活,這時期的特點,是人類的經濟生活一直無法跳脫出馬爾薩斯陷阱。簡單地說,就是人口的成長率小於糧食的成長 率。此篇的主要內容包括幾個面向:生活水準、生育率、預期壽命、富者生存、技術、制度與成長。
  次篇(10至14章)探討1800 年左右發生的產業革命,有哪些重要成就;過去的三種主要學說,為何不足以解釋產業革命的特殊現象;英國的產業革命有哪些成就與特點;為何中國、印度、日本 沒有類似的產業革命?革命之後對人類的生活有哪些重要改變?
  末篇(15至17章)對比1800產業革命之後,為何某些國家的經濟 有急速且驚人的成長?相對之下,為何有許多國家還那麼貧窮落後?作者認為關鍵在於生產過程的效率:英美歐洲的生產效率與成本,和印度、非洲等國的成本效率 相差懸殊,導致讓人驚嘆的「貧益貧、富益富」。
  整體而言,我認為第1章綜述全書的方向、旨要與見解,寫得還算有吸引力。其中最重 要的是圖1.1內,那條在1800年之前低水平的固定馬爾薩斯陷阱線,以及1800年產業革命之後,貧國與富國雙方大分歧的示意圖。本書有兩項特色,一是 穿插不少相當有用的相片,對比貧富狀態的落差;二是有大量的統計表格和圖型。這些都是從作者20多年來蒐集建立的資料庫整理出來,很少見到把這麼多各文明 的古今數據湊在一起,製作出這麼有用的好圖表。我認為這些圖表都相當有說服力,對作者的訊息傳達也有顯著助益。
  第一篇(2-9 章)中,我最推崇第2章。這是我所見過對馬爾薩斯陷阱這個概念,解說得最完整、最有說服力、最有啟發性的文章。在此之前,我對這項概念只有單點式的模糊概 念,讀完本章後我才有較整體性的理解。我認為此章的內容、邏輯、證據、圖表、理論推導,都是很可以學習的範本:圖2.1至2.5的幾何圖型解說很清晰,這 是理論性的建構;圖2.5以統計數據標示出1200至1800年之間,英國平均每人所得(橫軸)和人口(縱軸)之間時進時退的狀況。圖2.6和圖1.1相 對照來讀,有效地幫助我看清楚,什麼叫做「無法逃脫馬爾薩斯陷阱」。這是我對全書最感激的地方。
  現代經濟學的分析架構與思考邏 輯,是建立在已經逃脫出陷阱之後的狀況,所以在閱讀此章時,一下子不容易體會作者的邏輯。舉例來說,在馬爾薩斯陷阱之下的世界(人口成長率大於糧食成長 率),任何會增加死亡率的事情,例如戰爭、動亂、疾病、公共衛生惡劣,反而會提升生活水準:因為這些事會造成許多人死亡,社會上搶奪糧食的人口減少,平均 每人的生活水準因而改善。相反地,任何會減少死亡率的事情,例如醫療進步、公共衛生條件改善、社會和平與秩序,都會使人口增加,反而會使平均每人的糧食減 少,降低生活水準,
  因此,我們現在認為的美德,包括清潔乾淨、和平紀律、糧食安全存量、所得平均、慈善義行、努力工作,在馬爾薩 斯模型內,都是屬於有害生活水準的惡行。相反地,我們現在公認的惡行,例如衛生條件差、殺嬰、墮胎、貧富不均、自私懶惰、荒年,反而是有助於提高個人生活 水準的美德。
  第3章的主題,是對比1800之前與之後,貧國(如馬拉威)、富國(如英國)和原始部落(如波斯瓦納!Kung族) 的各種生活水準:工資、物價、卡洛里、蛋白質。作者以具體的數字,告訴我們兩件違反直覺的事:(1)原始部落每天攝取的蛋白質和卡洛里,不一定比工業革命 之後的英國人差。(2)古代人的工資實質購買力,甚至比現代的英國人好。但現代人有兩項優勢:(1)生命預期比古人和原始人高(即平均壽命更長);(2) 平均身高在1800之後有明顯的增加。這是由於糧食充足和醫療衛生的進步,是古人和原住民比不上的地方。我認為第3章的實證資料非常豐富,很有說服力,好 幾方面改變了我的認知。
  第4至第9章的手法和第3章差不多,主要的差別是題材不同(生育率、預期壽命等)。如果興趣不高或時間有 限,只要翻閱這幾章的圖表就夠了,都很容易理解。
  第二篇的10至14章分述五項主題。(1)第10章以簡單的理論架構和簡潔的圖 表,解說1800之後人口與所得(代表食物)這兩項重要因素,在英國與其他先進國家增長的情形,簡稱為現代的經濟成長與國富。克拉克認為其中的主要關鍵, 是產出的效率(efficiency gain)大幅增長。而這種效率的增長,主要得自創新與因之而得的「外部效果」。此章寫得簡潔有力,內容合情合理。
  (a) 外生成長理論(exogenous growth theories),即外在的法律、政治與社會性制度,會有效地幫助產業革命發生,也就是「制度決定表現」論。他批評制度學派的人歷史知識不足,單是在制 度上有效率,若基本糧食不足,逃不出馬爾薩斯陷阱,再好的制度也都枉然。這小節他寫了7頁半(頁210-7),牽扯不少較間接、甚至不相干的內容,減弱了 說服力。
  (b)多重均衡理論(multiple equilibrium theories,頁218-23),我左看右看,雖然明白個別段落的大概意思,但還是很難拼湊出具體圖像,也無法具體理解作者的重要論點。更奇怪的是, 接下來插入3整頁批評人力資源(human capital)說,主要是在反對Gary Becker等人的見解。我猜測作者的目的之一,是要推翻制度學派的觀點,可是突然出現這不相干的小節,既突兀又缺乏說服力。
   (c)最後的內生成長理論(endogenous growth theory,頁226-8)只有2頁,主要的論點是,在產業革命之前這一大段長時間內,經濟系統內的某些特徵,已經創造出現代成長的「前提條件」。也就 是說,不必等待有外來資本、技術、創新這類的誘發,產業革命也會自動發生,會產生高效率的成長。克拉克認為以上這三種理論,都無法解釋1800年的產業革 命。
  第12章將近30頁(230-58),談英國的產業革命實況,寫得非常好,這是他最拿手的題材,統計圖表尤其精采有說服力,我覺得12章和 第2章是本書最成功的部分。
  但接下來的第13章,論中、印、日為何無產業革命,我認為這是一大敗筆。他在最後一段的總結,解說中 國和日本為何比英國遲緩:「有兩項重要因素或許可以解釋這個現象。在1300-1750這段期間,中日的人口增長比英國快。但是中日這兩個社會的人口系 統,和英國富裕人家相較之下,繁殖率較低。」他會這麼說,是因為他在圖13.4對比清朝皇族的生育率,遠低於英國的富人,甚至在1770年之後,還低於英 國的一般平民。
  我覺得此章的內容太單薄,只用皇族(富人)的繁殖率,根本無法解釋為何中國無產業革命。托爾斯泰在《安娜․卡列尼 娜》(Anna Karenina,1877)這本小說的開場白說:「幸福的家庭都是相似的,不幸的家庭各有各的不幸。」克拉克用英國產業革命成功的架構,套在中國的個案 上,等於是用幸福家庭的架構套用在不幸福的家庭上,而沒有具體解釋,這個不幸家庭的悲慘問題所在。克拉克的這種邏輯與方法完全不恰當。其實他只要從 JSTOR資料庫稍微搜尋一下,就可以在Economic Development and Culture Change這本期刊,找到Yifu Lin (1995): “The Needham puzzle: why the industrial revolution did not originated in China” 和Kent Deng (2003): “Development and its deadlock in Imperial China, 221 B.C. – 1840 A.D.” 這兩篇論文,說明中國為何沒有產業革命,也可以知道他的論點,距離中國的史實有多遙遠。
  第14章論產業革命對社會的長期影響,長 達28頁,其實都是簡單易懂的圖表,沒有多大啟發性。
  第三篇(15-17章)有兩項明確的主題:(1)第15章解說1800之 後,世界各國的經濟成長狀況,對比貧富國之間的驚人落差。圖表與相片都呈現得很好,簡明易懂,無可批評之處。(2)第16章以英國、印度為例,說明在 1800-2000年這段期間,造成貧富國差距最重要的因素,就是貧國的產業生產效率太差。這是顯而易見的事,應該沒人有異議。但我認為應該還有其他重要 因素,包括傳統的因素如資本不夠、教育水平不足這類的問題。
  作者用15頁(336-51)的篇幅,詳細解說為何窮國(以印度為 例)的生產無效率,這個主題占全章的2/3篇幅。他在頁359-65又用7頁篇幅,討論一個類似的問題:為何窮國的勞工品質這麼低?兩者合計共22頁,在 一本正文377頁的世界經濟簡史書中,以這麼高的篇幅,詳析印度棉紡業不效率的情形,在比例上實在不恰當。我也感覺到,克拉克在分析窮國生產不效率的狀況 時,他的文筆也跟著沒效率起來。
  第17章解說為什麼富國、窮國會有這種大分歧的狀況,我覺得內容平淡,有好幾頁(360-5)太 細節繁瑣,缺乏吸引力。第18章是7頁的總結,缺乏力道。他以日本為例(圖18.1),反覆說明所得的增加,並不會帶來更高程度的快樂。他告訴我們:人類 花了太多力氣,追求不一定會讓我們更快樂的事。這些說法學界早已知曉。
  這本書的製作精美,圖表和相片很有吸引力也有解釋力。我只 發現表2.1缺了單位(應該是「百萬」),以及頁305第4行的一個錯字(應是country而非county)。如果你的時間有限,我建議讀較精采的第 1、2、3、10、12這五章。我認為歷史系和經濟系的同學,可從此書學到不少經濟史的知識。這本書對1800-2000之間的經濟變動,解說得很好,但 作者太重視產業、工廠這類微觀(個體)層面的證據,過度把重點放樹木上,較忽視森林的結構與變動因素。我同時推介戴蒙的《槍礮、細菌與鋼鐵:人類社會的命 運》(1998中譯),來當作互補與平衡性的讀物。