Merchant, soldier, sage: a history of the world in three castes

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The Penguin Press,
Pub. Date:
First American edition.
A bold new interpretation of modern history as a continual struggle among three prevailing power groups: merchant, soldier, and sage

Noted Oxford historian David Priestland argues history is, at base, a conflict among three occupational groups, or castes: the commercial, competitive merchant; the aristocratic,militaristic soldier; the sage, or the bureaucratic, expert manipulator of ideas. Since the move of civilization into the city, merchants have vied for power with the soldier and the sage in every society. These groups struggle for power, and when one achieves preeminence, as the soldier did in imperial Germany, or the merchant did in theAnglo-American world of the 1920s, the result is cultural domination.

Yet the predominant group must adapt to changing circumstances or there will come a point of drastic change, as the world saw in 1914 and 1929. The result is economic crisis, war, or revolution, and eventually a new alliance of castes takes over. The last century bears the scars of these often very violent shifts of power between the castes. After dominating the world order for decades, the merchant faced his greatest challenge in the financial crisis of 2008. Slowly, haltingly, the economies of the West seem to have regained their footing. But questions remain. Can we ensure that the merchants at the helm of our economy will not chart the same ruinous course they did in the run up to the crisis? How long will it be until we face another financial crisis?

We cannot gain perspective on our current challenges until we understand their position in a larger historical context. Priestland argues that we are now in the midst of a period with all the classic signs of imminent change. In the wake of the great recession, the merchant is weakened and discredited, but still clings to power. As the history of the last century shows, there is good reason to be fearful of the forces that the likely failure of the merchant may unleash.

Merchant, Soldier, Sage is both a masterful dissection of our current predicament and groundbreaking piece of history. Neither our past nor our present will look the same again.


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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID0ce0cd8b-7ed6-993f-3187-0d76d25af357
Grouping Titlemerchant soldier sage a history of the world in three castes
Grouping Authorpriestland david
Grouping Categorybook
Last Grouping Update2019-02-11 00:36:19AM
Last Indexed2019-10-14 03:24:33AM

Solr Details

authorPriestland, David.
author_displayPriestland, David
available_at_kentdenverKent Denver Upper School
detailed_location_kentdenverKent Denver Upper School - Nonfiction
display_descriptionOutlines a reinterpretation of modern history that explores a continuing struggle among three prevailing power groups--the merchant, soldier, and sage--and traces how they have vied for dominance throughout recent centuries.
Bib IdItem IdShelf LocCall NumFormatFormat CategoryNum CopiesIs Order ItemIs eContenteContent SourceeContent FileeContent URLsubformatDetailed StatusLast CheckinLocationSub-location
ils:193110454608Kent Denver Upper School - Nonfiction305.09 Pri1falsefalseOn ShelfKENT
literary_formNon Fiction
literary_form_fullNon Fiction
local_callnumber_kentdenver305.09 Pri
owning_library_kentdenverKent Denver School
owning_location_kentdenverKent Denver Upper School
Bib IdFormatFormat CategoryEditionLanguagePublisherPublication DatePhysical Description
ils:193110BookBooksFirst American edition.EnglishThe Penguin Press, 2013.343 pages 25 cm
Bib IdItem IdGrouped StatusStatusLocally OwnedAvailableHoldableBookableIn Library Use OnlyLibrary OwnedHoldable PTypesBookable PTypesLocal Url
ils:193110454608On ShelfOn Shelffalsetruetruefalsefalsetrue
subject_facetEconomic history
Elite (Social sciences) -- History
History, Modern
Power (Social sciences) -- History
Social structure -- Economic aspects -- History
Social values -- History
title_displayMerchant, soldier, sage : a history of the world in three castes
title_fullMerchant, soldier, sage a history of the world in three castes David Priestland
title_shortMerchant, soldier, sage
title_suba history of the world in three castes
topic_facetEconomic aspects
Economic history
Elite (Social sciences)
History, Modern
Power (Social sciences)
Social structure
Social values