CRF Blog

Cotton, a global history

by David De La Torre

In Spinning tales, The Economist reviews Empire of Cotton: A Global History by Sven Beckert.

GOOD economic history tells dramatic stories of ingenuity and aspiration, greed and national self-interest. Sven Beckert writes good economic history. But why cotton? Mr Beckert’s answer is that for 900 years, until 1900, it was the world’s most important manufacturing industry. Cotton is relevant now because the story explains how and why an industry goes global. It is a story of wildly fluctuating fortunes, from stunning wealth to dire social disasters. [more]