Dienstag, 13. März 2007

Economies develop different - in Europe and Asia between 1500 and 1850

The wealth of a society and the state of its economic development at a given time can be measured by some data like the wages and prices of that time or urban shares of the population. In an article of "The Economic History Review" (Feb. 2006) there were given some data concerning wealth of societies in Europe and Asia between 1500 and 1850. Result is, that the divergence in economic development between Europe and Asia began 1500 and not 1800 as was proposed previously in the book of K. Pomeranz "The Great Divergence" (2000).

But you can see also in this data, that there were a lot of deep divergences inside of Europe as well. London and South England are ranking before the Netherlands and they are ranking before Paris, France, North Italy ... Krakow, Gdansk ... And there is a lot of deep local change and/or stagnation also.

Here is the abstract:
Contrary to the claims of Pomeranz, Parthasarathi, and other 'world historians', the prosperous parts of Asia between 1500 and 1800 look similar to the stagnating southern, central, and eastern parts of Europe rather than the developing north-western parts. In the advanced parts of India and China, grain wages were comparable to those in north-western Europe, but silver wages, which conferred purchasing power over tradable goods and services, were substantially lower. The high silver wages of north-western Europe were not simply a monetary phenomenon, but reflected high productivity in the tradable sector. The 'great divergence' between Europe and Asia was already well underway before 1800.

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