THE MEASURE OF CIVILIZATION IS A COMPANION VOLUME to my earlier book Why the West Rules—For Now. It is a very different kind of book, though. In Why the West Rules, I tried to tell the story of social development across the last fifteen thousand years; here, I describe the evidence and methods I used in constructing the index of social development that lay behind that story.
Like many books, this one has grown out of conversations that have been going for years. I was introduced to the idea of social evolution when I was a graduate student at Cambridge (UK) in the early 1980s, and have been talking and thinking about it, in fits and starts, ever since. Along the way I have incurred debts to many people, and I would particularly like to thank Daron Acemoglu, James Anderson, John Bennet, Francesca Bray, Mat Burrows, Ewen Cameron-Watt, John Cherry, Eric Chinski, David Christian, Jack Davis, Stephan de Spiegeliere, Jared Diamond, Al Dien, Tom Gallant, Peter Garnsey, Banning Garrett, Jack Goldstone, Deborah Gordon, Steve Haber, John Haldon, Paul Halstead, Ian Hodder, Agnes Hsu, Parag Khanna, Karla Kierkegaard, Kristian Kristiansen, David Laitin, Michael Lä;ssig, Mark Lewis, Anthony Ling, Li Liu, Angus Maddison, Alessio Magnavacca, Paolo Malanima, Joe Manning, Michael McCormick, Tom McLellan, Joel Mokyr, Suresh Naidu, Reviel Netz, Doug North, Josh Ober, Isaac Opper, Anne Porter, Michael Puett, Kumar Ramakrishna, Anna Razeto, Colin Renfrew, Jim Robinson, Richard Saller, Walter Scheidel, Glenn Schwartz, Hugo Scott-Gall, Steve Shennan, Dan Smail, Vaclav Smil, Larry Smith, Mike Smith, Anthony Snodgrass, Peter Temin, Nick Thomas, Peter Turchin, Barry Weingast, Todd Whitelaw, James