Richard Pomfret

 

On his book The Age of Equality: The Twentieth Century in Economic Perspective

Cover Interview of January 05, 2012

Lastly

The Age of Equality is about economics as the long-term driving force behind the evolution of the world we live in.  Economics is not the only force, but it is very powerful and its power is under-appreciated by many people.

Zhou Enlai is often quoted as responding to a question about whether the 1789 French Revolution was a good thing with “It is too early to tell.”  The consequences of the industrial revolution of the late 1700s are also not yet fully clear.  They include unprecedented material prosperity, creation of a global economy, and weapons of mass destruction.  To realize prosperity required an Age of Liberty, in which inherited privileges and restrictions were greatly reduced; and an Age of Equality, in which the benefits of material abundance would be more equitably shared within and across countries; and it still requires an Age of Fraternity in which the world’s population faces existential challenges.