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Agreed the Great Divergence poomeranz the Industrial Revolution form part of an interconnected narrative and the degree of divergence in labour productivities and real incomes between Europe in China, that had so clearly appeared bylooks inconceivable without the massive supplies of basic foodstuffs and raw materials imported from the Americas and other primary producers.

Chen similarly claims that cultural differences were the most fundamental cause for the divergence, arguing that pomfranz Humanism of the Renaissance followed by the Enlightenment including revolutionary changes in attitude towards religion enabled a mercantile, innovative, individualistic, and capitalistic spirit.

Colonial Power, Colonial Texts: Before and during the early 19th century, much of continental European agriculture was underdeveloped compared to Asian Cores and England. Technological advances, in areas such as railroadssteamboatsminingand agriculturewere embraced to a higher degree in the West than the East during the Great Divergence. A number of economic historians have argued that European colonialism played a major role in the deindustrialization of non-Western societies.

Nevertheless, Pomeranz does an excellent job of debunking the excessive emphasis on deregulation as the principal or even the only engine of economic growth. Although these specializations brought the periphery countries temporary divergencw benefit, the overall effect inhibited the industrial development of periphery territories.

New military technologies favored larger units, leading to a concentration divrrgence power in states whose finances relied on trade. Views Read Edit View history. The Old World methods of agriculture and production could only sustain certain lifestyles. New economic history consigned axioms of indispensability to the realms of improbability four decades ago.

Nevertheless, diveergence will be heuristic to confront this new and stimulating narrative which foregrounds the role of Asian and Americas imports in bringing about divergent economic developments between Western Europe and East Asia. Since Kennneth nations had control over their colonies, they were able to prevent this from happening.

The Great Divergence is a term made popular by Kennwth Pomeranz ‘s book by that title, also known as the European miraclea term coined by Eric Jones in [3] referring to the process by which the Western world i. The vocabularies and concepts borrowed by generations of historians from the corpus of writings left by Marx and Weber can no longer be presented as coherent theory.

First the share of the calorific intake supplied by sugar, tea and other tropical groceries could only have been small. A pomearnz of theories posit Europe’s unique relationship with the New World as a major cause of the Great Divergence. Fuel costs rose sharply in these countries throughout the 18th century and many households and factories were forced to ration their usage, and eventually adopt forest conservation policies.


Thus in England both agricultural productivity and pomdranz growth were subject to market pressures throughout the early modern period. Economic theory Political economy Applied economics. Reading, as he did, over chronologies covering millennia, he recognized that the economies of India and China displayed impressive scientific and technical precocity.

A Study in Historical National Accounting, “.

Ten Years of Debate on the Origins of the Great Divergence | Reviews in History

Although China was blessed with large divergencr reserves, they were located for the most part in the thinly populated northwest, hundreds of miles from the potential manufacturing centers in the south and east.

Furthermore, the convergence of Japan despite a poor endowment of natural resourcesundermines histories based on classical growth models. For post growth in inequality, see Great Divergence inequality. Up until the 19th century, India was divervence world’s leading cotton textile manufacturer, [98] with Bengal and Mysore the centers of cotton production.

Nevertheless, and for several reasons, the other leg of the revisionist explanation which follows the line taken by Adam Grear, Karl Marx and the World Systems School that the discovery, conquest and exploitation of the Americas also generated comparably large windfall gains and allowed Western Europe to circumvent the problems of diminishing returns afflicting oriental empires carries less conviction.

The Journal of Economic History. Economic historian Jean Batou argues that Egypt had the necessary economic conditions for rapid industrialization in the early 19th century, and for the adoption of oil as a potential energy source for its steam engines later tye the 19th century.

The American Historical Review. He also does not account for the inability of landlords to collect rent on second crops. Smith, Marx and Weber Along with histories of power, histories of material life and economic growth are the most popular of metanarratives currently published in the growing field of global history.

Meanwhile and as recent reconfigurations of Asian economic history become known and acceptable to all but an anachronistic generation of historians and a-historical economists and debate moves on from the realm of acrimony towards conversation, we may well witness a revival of more nuanced and carefully specified long run historical explanations for divergencies in productivity and living standards between east and west, that historians have long agreed became unmistakable over the 19th and stark during the 20th century, but which are disappearing today.

A study found that secure property rights in Europe, but greaf in large parts of the Middle-East, contributed to the increase of expensive labour-saving capital goods, such as water-mills, windmills, and cranes, in medieval Europe but its decrease in the Middle-East.

Great Divergence

Classical economists, beginning with Adam Smith and Thomas Malthusargued that high wages in the West stimulated labor-saving technological advancements.

Unlike modern industrial economies, pre-modern economies were constrained by conditions which greatly limited hhe growth. They suggest that after millennia of successful land management, Chinese agriculture stood closer to its production possibility boundary than European agriculture.

Does it resolve the question successfully? Compared to Western Europe, just how far were China and other regions of Asia away from their technologically constrained production possibility boundaries before ? In early modern Europethere was significant demand for products from Mughal India, particularly cotton textiles, as well as goods such as spicespeppersindigosilksand saltpeter for pkmeranz in munitions.


Although Chinese customary law specified that people within the village were to be offered the land first, Pomeranz states that most of the time the land divergenfe offered to more capable outsiders, and argues that China actually had a freer land market than Europe.

In the Orient, imperial states had virtually no fiscal or pomerranz interest in the promotion of commerce and colonization that might in the fullness of time pay for itself in the form of imported and taxable luxuries.

Vision and Method in Historical Sociologyed. Once again, the scale of imports in relation to total consumption of indigenous fibres becomes important later rather than earlier in the 19th century. When fragmentation afforded merchants multiple politically independent routes on which to ship their goods, European rulers refrained from imposing onerous regulations and levying arbitrary tolls, lest they lose mercantile traffic to competing realms.

In his book The Religion of China: Economic historian Paul Bairoch presents a contrary argument, that Western countries such as the United States, Britain and Spain did not initially have free tradebut had protectionist policies in the early 19th century, eivergence did China and Japan.

After all, most people, in most places for most of history have been preoccupied with obtaining food, shelter, clothing and other manufactured artefacts that they required to sustain either a basic, a comfortable and only latterly, an agreeable standard of living.

The problem is how to connect imports from other continents to narratives or models of early modern European development in which national economies are carried forward to plateaux of possibilities from where transitions to industrial market economies became probable? The trade imbalance caused Europeans to pomerannz large quantities of gold and silver to India in order to pay for Indian imports. Clearly, and as a prelude to any scholarly analysis, and explanation, it will be necessary to date the divergence in living standards between the western and eastern ends of the Eurasian landmass because the assumption that unmistakable gaps in real incomes per capita and labour productivities measured for the decade preceding the Great War must po,eranz evolved and prevailed for centuries prior to that time, cannot supported with hard economic data.

Economic history of India. Technology led to increased industrialization and economic complexity in the areas of agriculture, trade, fuel and resources, further separating the East and the West. When analyzing comparative use-efficiency, the economic concept of total factor productivity TFP is applied to quantify differences between countries. For Ming Dynasty China, he claims there existed repressive measures which stifled dissenting opinions and nonconformity.