透過發明而創造，哈福特思考人類如何發展到今天的境界，以及我們可能繼續前行至何方。他點出許多我們不曾思索過的連結：條碼如何破壞傳統雜貨店、為什麼留聲機擴大了不平等。在此同時，他也介紹這些發明的背後主角，如何從中受益或反之摧毀發明。Fifty Things that Made the Modern Economy是一本智慧與機智兼備，關於歷史、經濟與傳記之書。(文/博客來編譯)
Who thought up paper money? How did the contraceptive pill change the face of the legal profession? Why was the horse collar as important for human progress as the steam engine? How did the humble spreadsheet turn the world of finance upside-down?
The world economy defies comprehension. A continuously-changing system of immense complexity, it offers over ten billion distinct products and services, doubles in size every fifteen years, and links almost every one of the planet's seven billion people. It delivers astonishing luxury to hundreds of millions. It also leaves hundreds of millions behind, puts tremendous strains on the ecosystem, and has an alarming habit of stalling. Nobody is in charge of it. Indeed, no individual understands more than a fraction of what's going on.
How can we make sense of this bewildering system on which our lives depend?
From the tally-stick to Bitcoin, the canal lock to the jumbo jet, each invention in Tim Harford's fascinating new book has its own curious, surprising and memorable story, a vignette against a grand backdrop. Step by step, readers will start to understand where we are, how we got here, and where we might be going next.
Hidden connections will be laid bare: how the barcode undermined family corner shops; why the gramophone widened inequality; how barbed wire shaped America. We'll meet the characters who developed some of these inventions, profited from them, or were ruined by them. We'll trace the economic principles that help to explain their transformative effects. And we'll ask what lessons we can learn to make wise use of future inventions, in a world where the pace of innovation will only accelerate.
I love these fact-filled micro-documentaries, steeped in history... A masterclass in socioeconomic storytelling (Financial Times on BBC World Service's Fifty Things that Made the Modern Economy)
They are real masterpieces of brevity and audio storytelling . . . brilliant sideways glances . . . I've been surprised by every episode (Monocle Arts Review on BBC World Service's Fifty Things that Made the Modern Economy)
This is what BBC radio is for. The series is utterly compelling and low-key... Just brilliant ideas, told simply. A wonderful, wonderful programme (The Times on BBC World Service's Fifty Things that Made the Modern Economy)
Harford's script is immaculate and so is his presentation (Times of India on BBC World Service's Fifty Things that Made the Modern Economy)