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January 29 , 2009

Short History of Economic Progress

A Course in Economic History


Y. S. Brenner is an economist whose main concern is with development, and this attitude is reflected in his approach to economic history.

He begins this seminal study in the era of the Reformation in Europe, and bases it on the hypothesis that once started, economic progress will spread over ever-increasing parts of the earth wherever and whenever conditions become suitable. From this point of view, he examines the nature of the impediments which prevent the more rapid and general progress of mankind towards greater material affluence, while at the same time considering the positive growth promoting factors in the various economies. Thus, he provides an analysis of economic progress in the developed countries showing which natural, social, political and cultural forces promoted such progress and which delayed or hindered it. He attempts to explain why European nations took several decades to emulate the achievements of Britain and why nations in other parts of the world, such as Japan and Russia, were unable for a considerable time to match the advances made in parts of Western Europe and the United States. Finally, he attempts to explain why the developing countries are still finding it so difficult to catch up with the economic progress of the more advanced nations.

Y. S. Brenner was Head of the Department of Economics at Cape Coast University in Ghana. The book arose from a series of lectures on economic development he delivered there during the years 1966–1967. This book was first published in 1969.

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