What separates the West from the rest? By Niall Ferguson.
However, he leaves out the even more un-PC truth of the IQ revolution. A statistical rise in the IQs of western populations preceded the Western explosion that dragged the world away from the Malthusian edge for the first time in millennia. Differential survival rates and a diffuse but persistent feedback for IQ generated a brighter population over the long European medieval period. Richer, brighter families had more kids, so there was downward social mobility as upper and middle class people had to move down in class the upper echelons of society were already filled.
hat-tip Stephen Neil