Not so sure about the work ethic. Asia would surely be top? I’d also say that Europe has a very long coastline, which would be economically superior to many. Reading Barry Cunliffe at the moment. 3 great books on Europe.
Ferguson’s are necessary, not sufficient, causes. The sufficient cause was the desire to impose a western order on the world. Desire for trade monopolies drove western intrusion into non western worlds. Ferguson calls this competition but he is not sufficiently precise.
It doesn’t look like anyone wants to defend Ferguson. I think the trouble with his approach is that it casts the net too wide. There must ultimately be a single reason and if you don’t search for that you are just engaged in a more high grade version of waffle.
Both look great, but I definitely prefer the second. And I think I will also prefer the truncated version of the first piece too. Both preferences based on how the space will be divided by hue changes. Good saves