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In 15th century England, lords had lost their serfs, but were able to assert control over almost all of the land, creating a rental market for tenant farmers. Economic historian Paul Bairoch has estimated the GDP per capita of several major countries in US dollars after the Industrial Revolution in the early 19th century, as shown below. Maddison, The World Economy: In recent decades, a modern generation of economic historians have carried forward the Weberian tradition of attempts to explain for what became for teh least three centuries increasingly visible economic achievements of Western societies in a global perspective.

Fortunately, through improved farming techniques, the import of fertilizersand reforestationEuropeans were able to recondition their soil and prevent food shortages from hampering industrialization. The timing of the Great Divergence eknneth in dispute among historians. Critical Concepts in Historical Studiesed. Routledge,— Unlike China, Japan and western and central Europe, India did not experience extensive deforestation until the 19th and 20th centuries.

In metallurgy and steam engines the Industrial Revolution made extensive use of coal and coke – as cheaper, more plentiful and more efficient than wood and charcoal.

While they did this, the West was focused more on experimentation and trial by error, which led them to come up with new and different ways to improve on existing innovations and create new ones.

In brief, the rise of material culture in Europe has been linked, in carefully specified ways, to intercontinental trade and colonization to changes in consumption and investment and to the patterns of work by European households. 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.


As a result, governments that suppressed economic and technological progress soon corrected their mistakes or were out-competed relatively quickly. Repetition of recycled enlightenment equations between republicanism, liberty and parliamentary forms of governance on the one hand and transitions to industrial market economies on the other, seem less and less satisfactory.

Great Divergence

He claims that advanced cultures outside Europe had developed in areas whose geography was conducive to large, monolithic, isolated empires. Britain cannot represent the West and its transition to an industrial market economy and was never a paradigm for its rivals on the mainland to follow.

The trade imbalance caused Europeans to export large quantities of gold and silver to India in order to pay for Indian imports. Imports from the Americas, and the reduced caloric intake required by industrial workers compared to farmers allowed England to cope with the food shortages. That was the consequences of competition in Turkey, and its effects have been as pernicious as the effects of the contrary principle in Spain.

Essays on China from a European Perspective Sydney, Pomeranz argues that India was not a very likely site for an industrial breakthrough, despite its sophisticated commerce and technologies. Surveys of monographic literature have effectively rendered a whole corpus of Marxian and Weberian interpretations redundant.

During the 11th century China developed sophisticated technologies to extract and use coal for energy, leading to soaring iron production. Investigations into the nature, extent and significance of the political crises clearly affecting three Oriental empires in the 18th century and China by the time of the White Lotus Rebellion continue and may well lead to the kind of insights now coming on stream from comparative histories of early modern European states, concerned to contrast the evolution of political arrangements and policies conducive or obstructive towards economic growth and innovation within Western Europe.

Both scholars maintained geat serious interest admittedly as a counterpoise to Europe in the evolution of the Indian, Chinese, American and Russian economies. Through industrialization, Britain was able greah increase cotton productivity enough to make divrgence lucrative for domestic production, and overtake India as the world’s leading cotton supplier.

In the early 19th century, Egypt under Muhammad Ali began a program of state-sponsored industrialization[56] quick to adopt steam engine technology, and manufacturing boilers for installation in a number of industries, including ironworkstextile manufacturingpaper millsand hulling mills.


For a growing band of scholars, concerned to include an analysis of intercontinental connexions in their metanarratives about the long run history of material progress, Weber elaborated upon themes that have exercised a powerful impact on modern stories told about the economic success of the West and kenmeth relative failures of the East over the past years.

EspositoThe Islamic World: By the 13th century the best land had been occupied and agricultural income began to fall, though trade and kennetj continued to expand, especially in Venice and other northern Italian cities.

Re-imagining Eurasia to c. Western Europe and the parts of the New World where its people became the dominant populations overcame pre-modern growth constraints and emerged during the 19th century as the most powerful and wealthy world civilizationeclipsing Medieval IndiaQing Chinathe Islamic WorldJoseon Koreaand Tokugawa Japan. China had a larger population than Europe throughout the Common Era.

Europe and Globalization, — Stroud, In the late imperial period —comprising the Ming and Qing dynasties, taxation was low, and the economy and population grew significantly, though without substantial increases in productivity.

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 grat competing realms.

These modes of transport made moving large quantities of coal, corn, grain, livestock and other goods across countries more efficient, greatly reducing transportation costs.

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

Towards a new global history’, Osaka University Economic Review1227— Ottoman Manufacturing in the Age of the Industrial Revolution. Aldcroft and Antony Sutcliffe eds.

Weber left them with an approach, a vocabulary and several suggestive hypotheses that have been accepted, modified and also rejected by two generations of post war and post colonial historical research. At the same time, the British East India Company ‘s rule in India contributed to its deindustrialization, with the decline of native industry opening up a new market for British goods.

Deindustrialization in Gangetic Bihar