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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 Press img Link Publisher

Sachbuch / Neuzeit bis 1918


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 favorable 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.



Extended family, High-yield debt, Textile, Just in case, Supply Officer (Royal Navy), Economic problem, Comparative advantage, Economic power, Social ownership, Commodity, Total factor productivity, Economic efficiency, Demographics of China, Economic liberalism, Steam engine, Capital accumulation, Household, Inferior good, Tax, Currency, Economy, Diminishing returns, Industrialisation, Economy of China, Industrious Revolution, Wang Gungwu, Capitalism, Underconsumption, Precious metal, Technology, Famine relief, Surplus labour, World economy, Agriculture, Unemployment, Economics, Great Divergence, Purchasing power, Goldsmith, Western Europe, Growth accounting, Andre Gunder Frank, Complementary good, Opportunity cost, Warfare, Subsistence crisis, China, Deforestation, Total loss, Vertical integration, Empire-building, Southeast Asia, Agriculture (Chinese mythology), Liberalization, Proto-industrialization, Efficient-market hypothesis, Supply (economics), Three-field system, Resource depletion, Shortage, Keeping up with the Joneses, Superiority (short story), Obsolescence, Standard of living, Nouveau riche, Usury, Income, Luxury goods, Sumptuary law, Monarchies in Europe, Manure, Wealth, Fuel, Laborer, Unfree labour, Land use in China, Free tenant, Scarcity (social psychology), Pig iron, Captive market, Peasant, Peat, Business ethics, Finance, Inflation, Handicraft, Recession, Developed country, Hard currency, Trading nation, Coal, Deindustrialization, Irrigation, Consumer Goods, Guangdong, Backwardness, Employer of last resort, Eastern Europe, Population growth, Europe