Kenneth Pomeranz’s The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the. Making of the Modern World Economy is an important and excel lent book. Any review that . The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy. [Kenneth Pomeranz] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying. The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy Kenneth Pomeranz Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, , ISBN.
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This simple question has proven to be nightmarishly difficult to resolve definitively, although many explanations have been advanced. Does it resolve the question successfully? Pomeranz is chiefly concerned with the comparison between England and China, but he also devotes a fair amount of attention to the rest of the world.
Great Divergence – Wikipedia
He shows that many of the characteristics often thought to be peculiar to Europe applied to China as well. Thus, many of the institutional features that were important for the breakout into dynamic growth were not uniquely European. Pomeranz argues grfat many of the elements of the conventional wisdom about why China did not experience the explosive growth that characterized Europe after are seriously in error. The Chinese state was not the growth-choking anticapitalist machine that it has sometimes been portrayed as having been, and in fact it was probably less of a drag on private markets than were the states of mercantilist Europe.
Chinese wage rates and standards of living could not have been too low to sustain the emergence of a robust consumer marketplace because they resembled the rates and standards in Europe.
In other words, in many significant dimensions, China and Europe or at least the core of China and the northwestern portion of Europe had basically equivalent conditions.
A number of economic historians have argued that the tendency toward late marriage and other fertility-reducing practices in Europe especially in the northwest conferred a distinct advantage on the region, at least in terms of economic growth rates.
Pomeranz argues that although some aspects of European marriage patterns were distinctive, the slightly different cultural tendencies in China were approximately as effective in achieving reduction in fertility.
diveergence The Chinese simply were not breeding out to the Malthusian margin. Peculiar to Europe were some of the ways in which fertility rates were kept under control, not the fact of control itself.
Another seemingly plausible hypothesis involves dlvergence rights and incentive effects, but Pomeranz minimizes the importance of the definition and enforcement of property rights in explaining the different development experiences of the two regions.
He argues that China, too, had competitive markets and an elaborate legal system of property rights; in contrast, he also notes the plethora of institutions and laws antithetical to capitalist enterprise, ranging from apprenticeship laws to actual serfdom, that hampered economic development in Europe.
Indeed, grea suggests that China provided a freer marketplace than did mercantilist Europe. Nevertheless, Pomeranz does an excellent job of debunking the keenneth emphasis on deregulation as the principal or even the only engine of economic growth.
The location of major coal deposits was a critical factor in determining the viability of industrialization.
Ten Years of Debate on the Origins of the Great Divergence | Reviews in History
Compare this development-friendly geographic distribution in Europe with the geographic distribution in China. Although China was blessed with large coal 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. Thus, China was at a relative disadvantage compared to Europe in terms of the luck of the geological draw.
At the same time that coal in eighteenth-century Europe was cheap and readily available to fuel industry, in China that resource remained relatively expensive and in large part a curiosity relegated to the collections of rock hounds. The fortuitous for Europe circumstance of the discovery of the Americas and the subsequent availability of resources for the Industrial Revolution that this discovery entailed were the exogenous factors.
The flow of cotton, sugar, timber, and tobacco to Europe from the New World gave economic development there a significant boost at a critical time; China enjoyed no advantage even remotely comparable. The Great Divergence is a synthesis created from a rich array of secondary sources.
In style and scholarship, it is reminiscent of E. It is a very useful corrective to the overenthusiasm of writers who claim a unique status for Europe in terms of the preconditions for sustained economic growth. Princeton University Press, Anderson California State University, Divetgence. AndersonCalifornia State University, Northridge.