During the Middle Ages the sophistication and size of China dwarfed anything in Europe or the Middle East and an impartial observer would no doubt have confidently predicted that it would be the Chinese who were destined to rule the world. But they had achieved this by default thanks to problems and instability at the other end of the huge Eurasian continent. Later it was to be the Chinese that succumbed to problems leaving the West to forge ahead. Today the situation is that both are stable enough for development to proceed. They are also very well aware of one another and interacting like never before. This is a new and unique situation in history. What will happen next?
Morris can't and doesn't answer this directly. But what he does do is tell the story in enough detail to give an idea of where we are now. And it is quite a story. The economic history is used as the backbone of the book, but we get a lot of insight into how most of the time people are simply working to solve the problems they are faced with. We don't see the big picture on a day to day basis. You have to read a book like this to see that.