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.
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"Pomeranz uses that European invention--economics--to overturn Eurocentrism, establishing beyond cavil a New Fact in our world. Never again will Europeans imagine they stood alone in the doorway of economic growth. Pomeranz and his colleagues in the new sinology have reintroduced the Central Kingdom and its stunning historical sources, and Pomeranz has written the one essential book."--Deirdre McClosky, University of Iowa
"Pomeranz uses a mixture of institutional forces and technological/geological luck to explain how an economic and ecological 'tie game' suddenly became a victory for western Europe over China. He combines global imagination with the scientific detail needed to make his points hold firm. The Great Divergence should command widespread respect."--Peter H. Lindert, University of California, Davis
"A truly magisterial effort based on an immense knowledge of the field, a vast amount of reading, and on close and careful analysis, informed by both social science and history."--Joel Mokyr, Northwestern University
"This is an outstanding book, painstaking and devastating in its attack on received wisdom, supported by a wealth of solid evidence and elegant argument."--Jack A. Goldstone, University of California, Davis
Kenneth Pomeranz is Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. He is author of The Making of a Hinterland: State, Society, and Economy in Inland North China, 1853-1937, which won the John King Fairbank Prize from the American Historical Association, and coauthor (with Steven Topik) of The World that Trade Created.
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Description du livre Princeton University Press. Hardcover. État : New. 0691005435 New Condition. N° de réf. du libraire NEW7.0270187
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Description du livre Princeton University Press, 2000. Hardcover. État : New. book. N° de réf. du libraire M0691005435