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The Great Divergence

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

Kenneth Pomeranz



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Princeton University Pres
22 June 2021
A landmark comparative history of Europe and China that examines why the Industrial Revolution emerged in the West.

The Great Divergence sheds light on one of the great questions of history: Why did sustained industrial growth begin in Northwest Europe? Historian Kenneth Pomeranz shows that as recently as 1750, life expectancy, consumption, and product and factor markets were comparable in Europe and East Asia. Moreover, key regions in China and Japan were no worse off ecologically than those in Western Europe, with each region facing corresponding shortages of land-intensive products. Pomeranz's comparative lens reveals the two critical factors resulting in Europe's nineteenth-century divergence-the fortunate location of coal and access to trade with the New World. As East Asia's economy stagnated, Europe narrowly escaped the same fate largely due to favourable resource stocks from underground and overseas.

This Princeton Classics edition includes a preface from the author and makes a powerful historical work available to new readers.
By:   Kenneth Pomeranz
Imprint:   Princeton University Pres
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 140mm, 
ISBN:   9780691217185
ISBN 10:   0691217181
Series:   Princeton Classics
Pages:   404
Publication Date:   22 June 2021
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  College/higher education ,  Undergraduate ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Forthcoming

Kenneth Pomeranz is University Professor of History at the University of Chicago. His books include The Making of a Hinterland and The World That Trade Created.

Reviews for The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy

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 Winner of the 2000 John K. Fairbank Prize, American Historical Association-- Choice 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 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-- Choice 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 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-- Choice

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