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Western empires
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The acute problem of inequality in the world was brought centre stage by the sensational appearance of French economist Thomas Piketty's bestselling book Capital in the Twenty-first Century. In Western Empires, Christianity, and the Inequalities between the West and the Rest 1500-2010, Sampie Terreblanche studies the matter from a political economic perspective, and brings five centuries of global history to bear in his focus on global inequalities, as opposed to inequalities within countries. The unprecedented accumulation of wealth in the Western world has come at a dire cost to the Restern world (a term the author coins), and empire-building is at the root of it. The last 500 years have seen successive epochs of empire followed by war and systemic chaos. During this time, the "haves" of world history have systematically channeled global resources towards the West through cunning and conquest - a process in which Christian missionary societies played a key role as the soft avant-garde, followed by the hardware. The book deals with several concepts of empire, and the forces through which empires have been rolled out through history: arms, money, ideology, religion. What fed into the Eurocentrism and notion of superiority which paved the way for a lamentable history of slavery, exploitation and the unremitting accumulation of wealth and power? The book shows how clearly dangerous a world we live in, with the scales as precipitously tipped as they are. Ten years in the writing, and in many ways the apex of this decorated author's life work, Western Empires is a book for everyone who wishes to understand, or address, the extreme concentration of wealth in the hands of the global few and the hopeless poverty of the many.
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About the Author

Sampie Terreblanche obtained his DPhil in Economics from the University of Stellenbosch in 1963. He also attended Harvard University and, at twenty-three, began teaching at the University of the Orange Free State. He spent the lion's share of his teaching career at the University of Stellenbosch, where he retired as Professor of Economics in 1995 and was appointed as Professor Emeritus the following year. He was awarded honorary doctorates by the University of the Free State in 2005 and by the University of Pretoria in 2013. Professor Terreblanche participated in numerous international conferences and was hosted by the governments of Belgium, Britain and the USA. He was a Visiting Professor at Princeton, Columbia and the University of Santa Cruz, California. In the 1970s, Terreblanche sat on the seminal Theron Commission into chronic poverty of the coloured community of the Western Cape. He has been an increasingly vocal critic, first of the apartheid government and then the democratic South African government because of the failure of the state to address inequality. Terreblanche is the author of twelve books, including Politieke ekonomie en sosiale welvaart (Political Economics and Social Prosperity) (1986) and A History of Inequality in South Africa: 1952-2002 (2002). He has also written more than thirty articles for journals and chapters in books, and hundreds of articles and letters in the consumer press.

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