This is a good news/bad news history. Good news: people in the past proved to be more capable of adapting to environmental changes than you might have thought. Bad news: to so adapt, they required flexibility, flexibility that modern Big Government likely will dampen, maybe severely.
"Why was the Republic of Venice so successful for such a long time despite being a small country neighboring the Austrian behemoth?"
Socialism at work:
Between the winter of 1958 and the spring of 1961, it is variously estimated that between 16.5 and 45 million Chinese living in rural areas died of starvation and related illnesses, a cataclysm now known as the Great Famine. Its onset coincided with the start of Chairman Mao Zedong’s national development plan, the Great Leap Forward. Today, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) refers to this period as the ‘Three Years of Natural Disasters’.
I'd guess that anybody who's reached double-digit years on the planet needn't be reminded of just how awful people can be. But on the off chance that somebody you know does need to be reminded, may I suggest you send them to "Leninthink". (The author is a chaired professor at Northwestern.)
V. I. Lenin pegs the meter of how monstrous one person can be.
"Capitalism has been the great engine of unimagined prosperity and unimagined improvements in worker conditions."
My college world history course didn't cover the Akkadians.
Guess. Go ahead, guess. (You're wrong.)
For Veterans Day, a 2/3/02 New Yorker story about Rick Rescorla.
Yale law professor Kronman's book evidently claims that a lot of the "current woes of American universities" trace back to tje Bakke decision.