Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction

Paperback | August 29, 2011

byRobert C. Allen

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Why are some countries rich and others poor? In 1500, the income differences were small, but they have grown dramatically since Columbus reached America. Since then, the interplay between geography, globalization, technological change, and economic policy has determined the wealth and povertyof nations. The industrial revolution was Britain's path breaking response to the challenge of globalization. Western Europe and North America joined Britain to form a club of rich nations by pursuing four polices - creating a national market by abolishing internal tariffs and investing intransportation, erecting an external tariff to protect their fledgling industries from British competition, banks to stabilize the currency and mobilize domestic savings for investment, and mass education to prepare people for industrial work. Together these countries pioneered new technologies that have made them ever richer. Before the Industrial Revolution, most of the world's manufacturing was done in Asia, but industries from Casablanca to Canton were destroyed by western competition in the nineteenth century, and Asia wastransformed into "underdeveloped countries" specializing in agriculture. The spread of economic development has been slow since modern technology was invented to fit the needs of rich countries and is ill adapted to the economic and geographical conditions of poor countries. A few countries - Japan,Soviet Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, and perhaps China - have, nonetheless, caught up with the West through creative responses to the technological challenge and with Big Push industrialization that has achieved rapid growth through investment coordination. Whether other countries can emulate thesuccess of East Asia is a challenge for the future.

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Why are some countries rich and others poor? In 1500, the income differences were small, but they have grown dramatically since Columbus reached America. Since then, the interplay between geography, globalization, technological change, and economic policy has determined the wealth and povertyof nations. The industrial revolution was B...

Robert C. Allen is Professor of Economic History at Oxford Univeristy and a Fellow of Nuffield College. He has written on English agricultural history, international competition in the steel industry, the extinction of whales, and the contemporary policies on education. His articles have won the Cole Prize, the Redlich Prize, and the E...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:176 pages, 6.85 × 4.37 × 0.07 inPublished:August 29, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199596654

ISBN - 13:9780199596652

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Table of Contents

1. The great divergence2. The rise of the west3. The industrial revolution4. Continental industrialization and the 20th century5. The great empires6. The Americas7. Africa8. East AsiaEpilogue