Great divergence

Addressing global inequalities

Authored by: Philipp Robinson Rössner

The Routledge Handbook of Transregional Studies

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138718364
eBook ISBN: 9780429438233
Adobe ISBN:


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Since the times of Adam Smith, David Hume, Karl Marx, and Max Weber, social scientists and historians have studied the origins, causes, nature, and consequences of global economic disparity. While there is still considerable debate as to the exact timing, nature, and extent of such divergence, the general parameters seem reasonably clear: (1) The last four or five centuries saw one of the most fundamental economic transformations in recorded human history (industrialization and the rise of modern capitalism); (2) they first occurred in Europe and (3) accounted for a significant world-historical gap or advantageous position, which (4) the Asian economies have only recently been able to start catching up on.

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