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The Great Divergence : China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy - Kenneth Pomeranz

The Great Divergence

China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy

Paperback Published: 19th November 2001
ISBN: 9780691090108
Number Of Pages: 392

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"The Great Divergence" brings new insight to one of the classic questions of history: Why did sustained industrial growth begin in Northwest Europe, despite surprising similarities between advanced areas of Europe and East Asia? As Ken Pomeranz shows, as recently as 1750, parallels between these two parts of the world were very high in life expectancy, consumption, product and factor markets, and the strategies of households. Perhaps most surprisingly, Pomeranz demonstrates that the Chinese and Japanese cores were no worse off ecologically than Western Europe. Core areas throughout the eighteenth-century Old World faced comparable local shortages of land-intensive products, shortages that were only partly resolved by trade.

Pomeranz argues that Europe's nineteenth-century divergence from the Old World owes much to the fortunate location of coal, which substituted for timber. This made Europe's failure to use its land intensively much less of a problem, while allowing growth in energy-intensive industries. Another crucial difference that he notes has to do with trade. Fortuitous global conjunctures made the Americas a greater source of needed primary products for Europe than any Asian periphery. This allowed Northwest Europe to grow dramatically in population, specialize further in manufactures, and remove labor from the land, using increased imports rather than maximizing yields. Together, coal and the New World allowed Europe to grow along resource-intensive, labor-saving paths.

Meanwhile, Asia hit a cul-de-sac. Although the East Asian hinterlands boomed after 1750, both in population and in manufacturing, this growth prevented these peripheral regions from exporting vital resources to the cloth-producing Yangzi Delta. As a result, growth in the core of East Asia's economy essentially stopped, and what growth did exist was forced along labor-intensive, resource-saving paths--paths Europe could have been forced down, too, had it not been for favorable resource stocks from underground and overseas.

Industry Reviews

Winner of the 2000 John K. Fairbank Prize, American Historical Association Co-Winner of the 2001 Book Prize, World History Association One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2000 "The vast international disparity in incomes and standards of living between Western Europe and its offshoots on the one hand, and most of Asia, Africa, and Latin America on the other, is a striking feature of the modern world. Pomeranz's study is an important addition to the literature that challenges elements of every major interpretation of the European take-off."--Choice "A profoundly though-provoking book which will change the terms of the debate about the origins of capitalism, the rise of the West and the fall of the East."--Jack Goody, Times Higher Education Supplement "This book makes, bar none, the biggest and most important contribution to our new understanding of the causes and mechanisms that brought about the great divergence' between the West and the rest of China in particular... An entirely new and refreshing departure. Although he makes new comparisons between Europe, China, Japan, India, Southeast Asia, Pomeranz also connects all these and more in a bold new sweep that should immediately make all previous and most contemporary related work obsolescent."--Andre Gunde Frank, Journal of Asian Studies "This book is very important and will have to be taken seriously by anyone who thinks that explaining the Industrial Revolution ... is crucial to our understanding of the modern world... [A] book so rich that fresh insights emerge from virtually every page."--Robert B. Marks, American Historical Review Exhaustively researched and brilliantly argued... Suffice it to say that The Great Divergence is undoubtedly one of the most sophisticated and significant pieces of cliometric scholarship to be published of late, especially in the field of world history."--Edward R. Slack, Jr., Journal of World History

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Comparisons, Connections, and Narratives of European Economic Developmentp. 3
Variations on the Europe-Centered Story: Demography, Ecology, and Accumulationp. 10
Other Europe-Centered Stories: Markets, Firms, and Institutionsp. 14
Problems with the Europe-Centered Storiesp. 16
Building a More Inclusive Storyp. 17
Comparisons, Connections, and the Structure of the Argumentp. 24
A Note on Geographic Coveragep. 25
A World of Surprising Resemblancesp. 29
Europe before Asia? Population, Capital Accumulation, and Technology in Explanations of European Developmentp. 31
Agriculture, Transport, and Livestock Capitalp. 32
Living Longer? Living Better?p. 36
Birthratesp. 40
Accumulation?p. 42
What about Technology?p. 43
Market Economies in Europe and Asiap. 69
Land Markets and Restrictions on Land Use in China and Western Europep. 70
Labor Systemsp. 80
Migration, Markets, and Institutionsp. 82
Markets for Farm Productsp. 86
Rural Industry and Sideline Activitiesp. 86
Family Labor in China and Europe: "Involution" and the "Industrious Revolution"p. 91
Conclusion to Part 1: Multiple Cores and Shared Constraints in the Early Modern World Economyp. 107
From New Ethos to New Economy? Consumption, Investment, and Capitalismp. 109
Introductionp. 111
Luxury Consumption and the Rise of Capitalismp. 114
More and Less Ordinary Luxuriesp. 114
Everyday Luxuries and Popular Consumption in Early Modern Europe and Asiap. 116
Consumer Durables and the "Objectification" of Luxuryp. 127
Exotic Goods and the Velocity of Fashion: Global Conjuncture and the Appearance of Culturally Based Economic Differencep. 152
Luxury Demand, Social Systems, and Capitalist Firmsp. 162
Visible Hands: Firm Structure, Sociopolitical Structure, and "Capitalism" in Europe and Asiap. 166
Overseas Extraction and Capital Accumulation: The Williams Thesis Revisitedp. 186
The Importance of the Obvious: Luxury Demand, Capitalism, and New World Colonizationp. 189
Interstate Competition, Violence, and State Systems: How They Didn't Matter and How They Didp. 194
Conclusion to Part 2: The Significance of Similarities--and of Differencesp. 206
Beyond Smith and Malthus: from Ecological Constraints to Sustained Industrial Growthp. 209
Shared Constraints: Ecological Strain in Western Europe and East Asiap. 211
Deforestation and Soil Depletion in China: Some Comparisons with Europep. 225
Trading for Resources with Old World Peripheries: Common Patterns and Limits of Smithian Solutions to Quasi-Malthusian Problemsp. 242
Abolishing the Land Constraint: The Americas as a New Kind of Peripheryp. 264
Another New World, Another Windfall: Precious Metalsp. 269
Some Measurements of Ecological Relief: Britain in the Age of the Industrial Revolutionp. 274
Comparisons and Calculations: What Do the Numbers Mean?p. 279
Beyond and Besides the Numbersp. 281
Into an Industrial Worldp. 283
Last Comparisons: Labor Intensity, Resources, and Industrial "Growing Up"p. 285
Comparative Estimates of Land Transport Capacity per Person: Germany and North India, circa 1800p. 301
Estimates of Manure Applied to North China and European Farms in the Late Eighteenth Century, and a Comparison of Resulting Nitrogen Fluxesp. 303
Forest Cover and Fuel-Supply Estimates for France, Lingnan, and a Portion of North China, 1700-1850p. 307
Estimates of "Ghost Acreage" Provided by Various Imports to Late Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century Britainp. 313
Estimates of Earning Power of Rural Textile Workers in the Lower Yangzi Region of China, 1750-1840p. 316
Estimates of Cotton and Silk Production, Lower Yangzi and China as a Whole, 1750 and Later--With Comparisons to United Kingdom, France, and Germanyp. 327
Bibliographyp. 339
Indexp. 373
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691090108
ISBN-10: 0691090106
Series: Princeton Economic History of the Western World
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 392
Published: 19th November 2001
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.6  x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.54