The invention of power Popes, kings, and the birth of the West

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, 1946-

Book - 2022

"This book solves one of the great puzzles of history: why did the West become the most powerful civilization in the world? Political scientist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita explains the consolidation of power in the West through a single, little noticed event: the 1132 Concordat of Worms. Bueno de Mesquita makes a deeply researched and persuasive case that the Concordat changed the terms of competition between churches and nation-states, incentivizing economic growth and benefiting citizens over kings and popes. In the centuries since, those countries that have had similar arrangements have been consistently better off than those that did not"--

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2nd Floor 909.09821/Bueno Checked In
New York : PublicAffairs 2022.
Main Author
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, 1946- (author)
First edition
Physical Description
viii, 337 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 311-319) and index.
  • Preface
  • Chapter 1. Exceptionalism
  • Three Treaties About Power and Money Changed Europe
  • Think of Popes and Kings as Self-interested
  • Short-Term Decisions, Lasting Consequences
  • Europe: Unexpected Exceptionalism
  • Europe's Unique Feature
  • Chapter 2. Two Swords, One Church
  • Iconoclasm, the Papal States, and Escape from Constantinople
  • The Birth of Papal Nepotism
  • Papal Maneuvers to Increase Political Power
  • The Struggle over the Investiture of Bishops
  • The Pope's War with the Holy Roman Emperor
  • Chapter 3. The Concordat Game
  • The Terms of the Concordats
  • The Process of Bishop Selection Before the Concordats
  • The Concordat Game
  • Key Implications of the Concordat Game
  • Chapter 4. Secularism Surges
  • The Game's Third Outcome: Avignon and Rebellion Against the Church
  • The Church's Changing Use of Punishment
  • The Secularization of Bishops
  • The Wealth of Dioceses
  • Wealth and the Secularization of Bishops: A First Test
  • Assessing the Expected Costs of Defying the Church
  • Wealthy Sees for Secular Bishops and Poor Sees for Religious Bishops
  • Chapter 5. The Road to Prosperity
  • Maneuvers to Influence Economic Growth
  • Four Lateran Councils: Combating Secular Economic Growth
  • Secular Maneuvers for Growth
  • Growth, Crusades, and the Commercial Revolution
  • Chapter 6. The Road to Papal Serfdom and Liberation
  • Gamble on Bishops, Gamble on Vacant Sees
  • Breaking from the Church: French Wealth and the Avignon Papacy
  • Testing When France Was Ready to Rebel
  • The Church Contemplates Reform; Protestants Rebel
  • Art and the Rise of Secularism
  • Chapter 7. The Birth of States, the Birthing of Representative Democracy
  • The Concordat: A Step Toward Modern Sovereignty
  • War and Accountability
  • War and State Building
  • The Concordats and Accountable States
  • Secularism, Wealth, and Parliaments
  • Rubber Stamps or Real Parliaments
  • Did Parliaments Help or Hurt Monarchs?
  • Chapter 8. Today
  • The Altered Tides of Power
  • The Concordats and Today's Quality of Life
  • Innovation and Discovery
  • Insights for Today
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Political scientist Bueno de Mesquita (The Dictator's Handbook) delivers an intriguing, data-based analysis of how three overlooked 12th-century treaties between the Catholic Church and European monarchs set the stage for people in the West to become "freer, richer, more tolerant, more innovative, and happier than people just about anywhere else in the world." Debunking claims that this "Western exceptionalism" is the by-product of Europeans' superior culture or genetics, Bueno de Mesquita traces its roots to the Concordant of Worms, signed by Pope Calixtus II and Holy Roman Emperor Henry V in 1122, and two similar agreements signed by the kings of England and France in 1107. According to Bueno de Mesquita, these agreements, which reformed the "haphazard, highly variable procedures for electing bishops," forced essential adaptations by both institutions, fostered economic growth, empowered ordinary people, and laid fertile ground for democracy. Extensive analysis of the church's hierarchical structure bolsters his theory, as do charts and graphs that illustrate some surprising insights--for example, regions covered by the concordants were likelier to form parliamentary governments in later centuries. Though Bueno de Mesquita shortchanges other factors that contributed to the rise of the West, he builds a solid case. Medieval history buffs will be impressed. (Jan.)

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