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Civilization: Is the West History?

Civilization: Is the West History? is a six-part documentary series presented by Niall Ferguson, about the most six dominant factors that enabled the West to dominate the rest of the world for the last 500 years. The dominant factors picked by Niall Ferguson include: competition, which is based on a decentralization of political and economic life; science, which gave the West (among other things) a major military advantage over the Rest; property rights - the rule of law as a means of protecting private owners and peacefully resolving disputes between them; modern medicine which made it possible to export Western civilization to Africa; the global dominance of Western consumerism; and the work ethic derived from Protestantism. Civilization: Is the West History? explores how Western civilization secured a lion's share of the world's resources, and examines whether the West is about to be overtaken by the rest.

Episode 1 - Competition
Niall Ferguson looks at the difference in political and economic life between Ming Dynasty and the West; Ming Dynasty in favor of centralization and harmony vs the West based on decentralization and competition.

Episode 2 - Science
Niall Ferguson argues that science gave the West a major military advantage over the Rest by looking at the two worlds since 13th century; the West encouraged scientific research vs the Islamic world discouraged scientific research.

Episode 3 - Property
Niall Ferguson looks at the difference in economic development between the United States and the countries in South America - once belonged to Gran Colombia - through a focus on property rights.

Episode 4 - Medicine
Niall Ferguson looks at how late 19th-century advances in modern medicine made it possible to export Western civilization to the 'Dark Continent': Africa.

Episode 5 - Consumerism
Niall Ferguson looks at the global dominance of Western consumerism since the Industrial Revolution; we dress the same; we want the same latest technological kit; we drive the same cars.

Episode 6 - Work
Niall Ferguson argues that the work ethic derived from Protestantism enabled the West to dominate the rest. However the work ethic seems to be fading in the West, but to be growing in China.


Related Links
History of Western civilization - wikipedia
Western civilization traces its roots back to European and Mediterranean classical antiquity. It is associated with nations linked to the former Western Roman Empire and with Medieval Western Christendom.
Greeks, Romans, Vikings: The Founders of Europe
This is a three-part documentary series hosted by Simon Chilvers, looking at the ancient civilizations that would lay the foundations of Western civilization.
Gun, Germs and Steel
Guns, Germs and Steel is a three-part documentary series presented by Jared Diamond trying to answer the biggest question of world history - Why is the world so unequal?
Legacy: The Origins of Civilization
This is a documentary series presented by Michael Wood, searching for the first civilizations and their continuing legacies.
The Ascent of Money
This is a six-part documentary series presented by Niall Ferguson, examining the long history of money, credit, and banking.