Ticer (The Alien Stranger, 2018, etc.) combines a primer on the recent science of climate change with an annotated account of world history and economics.
Summarizing vast swaths of historical and scientific research, Ticer attempts to provide not only a history leading up to the present climate developments, but to determine, as he says, “what is needed for the foreseeable future.” The book outlines various historical chapters while occasionally relating such histories (of the United States, capitalism, and so forth) to the ongoing climate crisis. The goal here is to understand “how a balanced system of free enterprise and government regulation can result in both economic prosperity and a more livable environment.” Despite that goal, readers may find less discussion of climate change than expected. Chapter three provides a truncated overview of the rise of civilization, examining ancient history from the Sumerians to the Akkadians and from Mesopotamia to Egypt. Another chapter describes the political economic history of Europe. The book’s subject turns increasingly economic with lengthy discussions of the gold standard, monetary policy, and inflation economics. By the end, Ticer provides an impressive synopsis of a large amount of historical information into a single text and offers a few broad suggestions along the way for governmental responses to climate change (“What is needed is more investment in climatology to determine future effects of weather to determine remedies for such possible catastrophes at severe times of cold and heat”). However, the limited analysis of climate change doesn’t cohere with the historical background. The other issue is the lack of citations, making it difficult to evaluate which of the book’s claims are original and which are mere summary.
A detailed yet incomplete effort to connect history, economics, and the environment.