Connect with Point of View   to get exclusive commentary and updates

Why the West Won

Niall Ferguson on Prager U
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

Nine years ago, I quoted historian Niall Ferguson in one of my commentaries. His book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, explained that Western Civilization succeeded because of six “killer apps—competition, modern science, the rule of law and private property rights, modern medicine, the consumer society, and the work ethic.” These are the secret sauce of Western Civilization.

Last week he explained this in a PragerU video with the title “Why the West Won.” Since you probably won’t read his book, I suggest you take five minutes out of your life to watch the video. Unfortunately, the ideas he shares in the video aren’t being taught in the universities today. Instead, professors criticize every aspect of our culture while ignoring what made Western Civilization successful.

These are the six killer applications. The first was economic and political competition. The second was the scientific method. All the major 17th century breakthroughs happened in Western Europe. A third application was the rule of law and representative government. This included private property rights and representation of property owners in elected legislatures.

The fourth was modern medicine. Nearly all the 19th and 20th century breakthroughs in health care were made by Western Europeans and North Americans. Fifth was the consumer society. The industrial revolution took place because there was both a supply and a demand. Sixth was the work ethic. Westerners worked harder and saved more of what they earned. This led to capital accumulation which in turn led to investment in the wonders of modern technology.

These six killer apps made the West successful and have now been downloaded to other countries as well. That is why the West won.viewpoints new web version

Viewpoints sign-up